President Barack
Photo: MCT

Obama attends Newtown vigil

President arrives in grief-stricken Connecticut town mere hours after bomb threat is made against church holding funerals. Calls for stricter gun control grow louder as America mourns

US President Barack Obama arrived in Newtown, Connecticut, Sunday for a vigil honoring the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.


The grief-stricken town will begin burying the 27 victims gunned down by Adam Lanza on Friday, on Monday morning.


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The first funeral will take place in Fairfield, when family members will lay Noah Ponzer, 6, to rest.  



President Obama's trip aims to offer some support to residents of Newtown, who are still seeking to comprehend the unimaginable massacre that has ripped their serene community apart.


Several hours prior to Obama's arrival in Newtown, a bomb threat was made against one of the churches where some of the funerals are to be held.


Memorial in Newtown (Photo: AP) 


Police evaluated St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church after receiving a phone call promising another massacre.


"I’m going to kill everyone there," the caller said. "My friend didn't finish the job."


This was the second threat made against the church in as many days. On Friday, St. Rose put up posters offering counseling to help parishioners deal with grief. Soon after someone wrote "This is just round one" on one of them.


Ten of the 20 child victims in Friday's attack were members of the church, which has already planned eight funerals. .


While in Newtown, Obama will visit privately with families of the victims and with emergency personnel who responded to the shootings.



A visibly emotional president spoke on Friday, as the magnitude of the tragedy unfolded: "The majority of those who died were children… 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 fulfill their dreams.


"Our hearts are broken," Obama said, "and there are no words that will ease the pain."


National outpour of grief (Photo: MCT)


In the immediate aftermath of the massacre the call to apply stricter gun control in the US has grown louder.


Obama's administration has so far refrained from dealing with gun laws, or taking on the powerful pro-gun lobby, but many now hedge that in the wake of the horrific scene in Connecticut that might change.


According to the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, Obama has signed into law more repeals of federal gun policies than President George W. Bush did during his two terms.


The president hinted to that effect in his remarks Friday, saying that America has " Endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years… And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."


Meanwhile, it was reported that the children who survived Friday’s shooting will not return to Sandy Hook for a while, as it is still considered an active crime scene.


The 436 surviving students will attend classes in an unused school in Monroe, Newtown School Superintendent Janet Robinson, said.


"The Town of Monroe has graciously offered their Chalk Hill School. This facility, which is currently not being used, is in excellent condition and will accommodate all of the Sandy Hill School students and staff. It is located just across the border from Newtown and should be ready for occupancy in just a few days."


School officials announced on Saturday that all of Newtown’s public schools, as well as private schools in the district, will be closed on Monday.



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פרסום ראשון: 12.17.12, 00:46
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