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Newtown shooting: More victims laid to rest

December 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
More victims of the Newtown shooting are being laid to rest Wednesday, which marks the third straight day of funerals after the tragedy.

Last Friday, a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children and six adults before committing suicide. The gunman also allegedly shot and killed his mother.

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

The first of Wednesday's funerals in Newtown was for 7-year-old Daniel Barden, a gap-toothed redhead and the youngest of three children. His family described him as "always smiling, unfailingly polite, incredibly affectionate, fair and so thoughtful towards others, imaginative in play, both intelligent and articulate in conversation: in all, a constant source of laughter and joy."

At the same time, in the town of Stratford, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old teacher who has been hailed as a hero for dying while trying to shield her students, some of whom managed to escape.

Students Charlotte Bacon and Caroline Previdi, both 6 years old, were to be laid to rest Wednesday, and calling hours were being held for 47-year-old principal Dawn Hochsprung. She and school psychologist Mary Sherlach rushed toward the gunman in an attempt to stop him and paid with their lives. Loved ones also said farewell to student Chase Kowalski.

Children who attend Sandy Hook Elementary School will resume classes in another school next month.

For the first time since the tragedy, the National Rifle Association is responding to calls for more gun control. The organization says it will offer meaningful contributions to make sure something like this never happens again. The group will be holding a news conference on Friday.

During a White House news conference Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new inter-agency task force on gun policy. It will be headed up by Vice President Joe Biden and will tackle what has now turned into a major gun control debate in the wake of the massacre.

The president asked the new team to offer "concrete proposals" to reduce gun violence no later than January. He said after he receives recommendations from Biden's group, he will push legislation "without delay." The president is urging Congress to hold votes on the bill. The team will include members of Obama's administration and outside groups.

In the meantime, California lawmakers are also looking to change the state's gun laws.

"In honor of those victims and the thousands who have preceded them, we must not capitulate any longer. I, for one, have had it," said Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles).

De Leon is proposing all ammunition buyers in California get an annual permit from the Department of Justice, which will require fingerprints and background checks. Another state senator re-introduced a bill that prohibits semi-automatic weapons from having bullet buttons which allows the gun to be easily re-loaded with multiple rounds.

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

The gunman, Adam Lanza, is being described as a bright, but painfully awkward student. His mom, Nancy, who was apparently the first slain by him Friday, shared his emotional and behavioral problems with friends, saying he hadn't left the house in the last few months.

It's believed Lanza shot himself in the front of the head. The medical examiner is waiting for results of toxicology tests performed on his body to see whether he was on any medications or drugs that may have potentially triggered the deadly rampage, and to see whether he was correctly diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome or whether anything else was at play. Investigators have yet to determine the motive.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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