Connecticut shooting: First heartbreaking funerals for victims

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THE first two funerals took place yesterday, in the devastated Newtown community, of young victims of the shootings.

Ceremonies took place for six-year-olds Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, whose birthday it was two weeks ago. Noah’s twin sister, Arielle, who was in a different classroom, survived.

In front of the funeral home where relatives were mourning Noah, well-wishers placed two teddy bears, a bouquet of white flowers and a single red rose at the base of a maple tree.

Noah’s uncle, Alexis Haller, said: “Words cannot express the unfathomable loss we feel.

“Noah was a wonderful son and a loving brother. He was kind, caring, smart, funny and sometimes even a little mischievous. He liked to tell his sisters he worked in a taco factory.”

He added: “If Noah had not been taken from us, he would have become a great man. He would been a wonderful husband and a loving father. He would have been a backbone of our family for years to come. His loss, and our loss, are deep indeed. It is unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back. We would go to the ends of the Earth to do so, but none of us can.

“What we can do is carry Noah within us, always. We can remember the joy he brought to us. We can hold his memory close to our hearts. We can treasure him forever. And all of us, including the family, the community, the country and the world, can honour Noah by loving each other and taking care of each other. That’s what Noah would have wanted.”

At the funeral home where Jack’s service was held, hymns rang out.

“The message was, ‘You’re secure now. The worst is over’,” one mourner, Gwendolyn Glover, said.

The boys were buried a day after the small community came together for a vigil where President Barack Obama said he would use “whatever power” he had to prevent similar massacres.

Investigators have offered no motive for the shooting, and the Connecticut community struggled to comprehend what drove 20-year-old Adam Lanza to shoot to death his mother at home in bed on Friday morning, drive her car to the school and unleash gunfire on six adults and 20 little children.

“I can tell you it broke our hearts when we couldn’t save them all,” Police Lieutenant Paul Vance said.

Police said Lanza had been carrying an arsenal of ammunition big enough to kill just about every student in the school.

Newtown officials could not say whether Sandy Hook Elementary School would ever reopen. Yesterday’s classes were cancelled, and plans were being drawn up to send surviving students to a former school building in a neighbouring town.