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Connecticut school shooting: First funerals held

The mother of 6-year-old Noah Pozner held a single white rose as she arrived to his funeral on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. The boy was among 26 victims of a shooting rampage at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
December 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The first funerals were held Monday for victims of the Connecticut school shooting rampage as police continued to gather evidence about the suspect.

See the complete list of victims' names released by Connecticut police

Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, two 6-year-old first-graders from Newtown, were laid to rest. His mother held a single white rose as she arrived to the funeral.

Noah's aunt says his two young sisters know he died but do not know the exact way. Noah had a twin sister, Arielle, who was in a different classroom and survived the shooting. He called her his best friend, and with their 8-year-old sister Sophia, they were inseparable.

Jack was a huge New York Giants fan and looked up to Victor Cruz, the team's star wide receiver. Jack was buried in Victor Cruz's No. 80 jersey. Cruz played in Sunday's game with "Jack Pinto 'My Hero'" written on one of his cleats.

Jack's family said the boy loved school, reading, wrestling, skiing and football.

"He had a wide smile that would simply light up the room, and while we are all uncertain as to how we will ever cope without him, we choose to remember and celebrate his life," his family said in a statement.

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Police said 20 children and six adults were killed in Friday's shooting. The kids, eight boys and 12 girls, were mostly 6 or 7 years old. Adam Lanza, 20, was carrying an arsenal of hundreds of rounds of lethal ammunition, authorities said Sunday - enough to kill just about every student in the school if given enough time, raising the chilling possibility that the bloodbath could have been even worse.

There has been an outpouring of support for the community, with thousands coming with flowers and teddy bears to leave at the memorials.

The Newtown general store, which is right next to the funeral home, says it is getting calls from all over the country with offers to buy items for local customers. One caller authorized a $500 on his credit card for first responders and all officers who come to the store. A California resident donated coffee for all customers during the morning hours.

The U.S. Postal Service has created an outlet for people wanting to send letters and care packages. Anyone wishing to send condolences can do so to P.O. Box 3700, Newtown, CT 06470

Authorities say Sandy Hook Elementary will be closed indefinitely while the crime is being investigated. Lt. J. Paul Vance said it could be months before police turn the school back over to the district. The motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

See photos from the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut

Newtown's other schools were to reopen Tuesday with extra security. The district was making plans to send surviving Sandy Hook students to a former school building in a neighboring town, but they didn't say when that would happen.

Family members of the young victims are speaking out and sharing memories about their loved ones.

The family of Ana Marquez-Greene released home video showing her singing at the piano last summer with her brother, while 7-year-old Grace McDonnell's family described her as the ultimate girly girl. She loved wearing pink and playing dress up with jewelry.

Jessica Reko, 6, was another student who died in the shooting. Her parents described the horrific scene that day in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I was running, and I kept thinking, 'I'm coming for you honey, I'm coming,'" said Krista Rekos as she choked up.

Jessica's father, Richard Rekos, said they initially had little information on what had happened.

To make a contribution to the Newtown Memorial Fund please visit: newtownmemorialfund.org

"We had no idea at that point," he said. "We thought, OK, the reports are that one or two people may have been injured and taken to hospitals. There was still hope, that the children were hiding, there was still so much hope at that point."

The parents walked around the firehouse where parents were being reunited with their children, hoping to see their little girl. Finally, around 1:15 p.m., everyone was asked to sit down, and a police officer told them that 20 children had been killed.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama met privately with the victims' families, including that of Emilie Parker, whose father was the first parent to speak publically about his daughter.

"We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate. They responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances," said Mr. Obama.

ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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