Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: The Queen And David Cameron Lead Tributes To The 27 Killed In Newton Connecticut

15/12/2012 09:14 | Updated 15 December 2012

David Cameron and the Queen have extended their sympathies to the families of the 27 murdered children and adults who were victims of one of the worst mass school shootings in American history.

In a message sent to Barack Obama on Friday evening, the monarch said she was "deeply shocked and saddened" to hear of the shootings.

The message, which began "To President Obama", read: "I have been deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the dreadful loss of life today in Newtown, Connecticut; particularly the news that so many of the dead are children.

"Prince Philip joins me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to you and the American people at this difficult time.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth are with the families and friends of those killed and with all those who have been affected by today's events."

The message was signed Elizabeth R.

The prime minister took to Twitter to say he was "devastated" by the Connecticut shootings and described the death of so many children as "truly heartbreaking".

Cameron later issued a statement, saying: "I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear about today's horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that has killed and injured so many innocent people," he said.

"My thoughts are with the injured and those who have lost loved ones.

"It is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them at such a young age, when they had so much life ahead of them.

"I offer my sincere condolences to the families, to president Obama, governor (Dannel) Malloy and the American people. The thoughts of the British people are with you all at this very difficult time."

In an emotional televised address from the White House, he said: "I offer governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

"We endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would - as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there is not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

"The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of five and 10 years old."

The president paused for some seconds and wiped away tears before continuing: "They had their entire lives ahead of them.

Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfil their dreams.

"So our hearts are broken today. For the parents, and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.

"Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for, as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain."

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "I share the shock and deep sadness of people across the world at the terrible loss of innocent lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"It is impossible to comprehend how the children, along with the adult victims, could have been so cruelly taken from their loved ones.

"All of the victims, the grieving relatives and colleagues, and the entire community of Newtown are in the thoughts and prayers of people across Scotland tonight. I send them my deepest condolences."

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron tweeted: "The senseless murder of innocent children in Connecticut shocks us all. My thoughts & prayers are with the families affected tonight."

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

12/17/2012 4:43 PM EST

Details On Funeral And Burial Process

The president of the Connecticut Funeral Director's Association said the funeral and burial process for Newtown victims, which began Monday with the separate burials of Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, who both were six-years-old, is unlike anything he has seen before.

"I've unfortunately seen lots of kids who have died," said Pasquale Forino, 46, who runs Neilan Funeral Home in New London, Conn. "But this truly shakes your foundation to the core, and in a small town like Newtown, they need lots of help to handle this week of burials."

Forino and a group of morticians who have volunteered have driven to Newtown every day since Friday to help tend to families who are grieving and prepare arriving bodies for viewings and burials. The main funeral home in the town, Honan Funeral Home, is handling the process for 11 victims. Of those, Forino said he has worked on three -- all kids.

"It's not about me, it's about the families and victims. But it still affects us," he said. "We do what we can do to take care of the families. We'll deal with our own emotional needs later."

--HuffPost's Jaweed Kaleem

12/17/2012 4:42 PM EST

Officials: Local School Building Will Be Safe For Sandy Hook Students

Sandy Hook School students will be attending Chalk Hill School in Monroe, CT as an alternative education facility in the wake of the shooting. Monroe police answered questions during a press conference briefing about the preparations of the building for use by Sandy Hook Elementary School, and outlined how police officers will keep children safe and secure on their first day back to school.

12/17/2012 4:41 PM EST

Time to Rise Up and Say 'Enough' to Gun Violence

Via Patch:

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, a New Jersey columnist urges people and politicians to fight for stronger gun control laws.

"Every time there is a mass shooting, we shake our heads and bemoan the tragic violence. We wonder aloud why our elected officials cannot stanch the flow of weapons. We rue the fact that there are so many troubled individuals out there, desperate for help and poised to commit terrible crimes, for no apparent reason. But nothing ever changes," she writes. "This holiday season, can we all rise up as one and say ENOUGH?"

12/17/2012 1:57 PM EST

NH Sen. Shaheen: 'We Need to Get Assault Weapons Off Our Streets'

Via Patch:

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, issued a statement Monday in the wake of last week's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., saying it's time to get assault weapons off the streets.

"After a heartbroken weekend where the nation grieved with the families of Newtown, it's time for elected leaders to come together and determine what we can do to help end the culture of violence that is leading to these tragedies," Shaheen said. "We need a comprehensive approach that includes improving access to mental health services, better enforcement of our current laws, and we need to get deadly assault weapons off our streets."

12/17/2012 1:56 PM EST

NIH Study: Only 1/2 Kids In U.S. With Severe Mental Illness Get Treatment

A nationally representative face-to-face survey of more than 10,000 teens ages 13-18 turned up alarming findings about their access to professional mental health care.

Only about one-third of those with any lifetime mental disorder got professional help, and just half of those severely impaired by mental disorders received professional help, the study found. State and federal efforts to increase youth mental health services aren't working, it said. Racial and ethnic minority youth were least likely to get help, the study found.

-- HuffPost's David Wood

12/17/2012 1:54 PM EST

Crowds Forming at Services for Sandy Hook Victims

Via Newtown Patch:

Lines are forming outside funeral homes in Newtown, Fairfield and Monroe, CT as people assemble to pay their respects to three 6-year-olds who were among the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14. In Newtown, services for Jack Pinto, 6, are set to start at 1 p.m. In Fairfield, mourners gathered for services for Noah Pozner, 6.

A wake is scheduled today in Monroe for James Mattioli, 6. The three 6-year-olds are the first of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to be laid to rest. Funeral services for the other victims will take place tomorrow and Wednesday.

12/17/2012 1:53 PM EST

Westboro Baptist Church Member: Legalizing Gay Marriage 'Brings the Shooter Like it Did in CT'

Via Patch:

The controversial Westboro Baptist Church has announced plans to protest outside of the Anne Arundel Circuit Court on Jan 2.—the first day same-sex couples will be able to wed there. "On that day the court starts committing that abomination that brings the shooter like it did in Connecticut," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of the church's founder.

She also made headlines this weekend when she claimed via Twitter that Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, was sent by God. She told Annapolis Patch, "God keeps sending the shooter."

12/17/2012 1:53 PM EST

AFT Urges Michigan Gov. Snyder To Veto Gun-In-Schools Bill

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFT Michigan President David Hecker on Sunday urged Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Sunday to veto legislation that would allow concealed firearms in schools and other locations.

The tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, is a “chilling and heartbreaking reminder” that “firearms have absolutely no place in our schools,” they wrote. “Gov. Snyder, please show the kind of leadership that students, families, educators and community members need to be as safe as possible in their schools. You can set an example for Michigan and the nation by taking this small but significant step to reduce gun violence by vetoing S.B. 59.”

View the letter here.

12/17/2012 10:23 AM EST

Small Acts Of Kindness

@ TVMarci :

Wow. Someone from CA just called the #Newtown General Store saying she wants to buy coffee for everyone in town. Every cup is billed to her

@ TVMarci :

Clerk @ #Newtown General Store started crying when woman offered to pay for every coffee purchased today. What an amazing #actofkindness

@ TVMarci :

This sign now hangs in front of the #Newtown General Store. Thank you, Tom Cabanaugh! #actofkindess

12/17/2012 10:20 AM EST

Police: Suspicious Person Puts Ridgefield Schools On Lockdown

From Patch:

Reports of a suspicious person at the Branchfield train station in Ridgefield Monday morning brought out police and placed all local schools on lockdown. Authorities, along with a K-9 unit, are canvassing the area after receiving a report of a man with an unknown item slung over his back. Police were first informed of the suspicious person at about 9 a.m.

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