A child looks out of the window of a school bus carrying
students from the Newtown school district as it makes its
way past the funeral for Sandy Hook student James Mattioli.
Students returned to school in the shattered Connecticut
town of Newtown for the first time since a gunman's rampage
killed 26 people in an elementary school, reviving the gun
control debate in Washington and prompting a retailer to pull
guns from shelves.
Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20-year-old Adam Lanza gunned
down a score of 6- and 7-year-olds and six adults on Friday,
will remain closed. It was an active crime scene, with police
coming and going past a line of 26 Christmas trees, one for
each victim, decorated with ornaments, stuffed animals and
balloons in the school colors of green and white.
The rest of Newtown's schools reopened with grief counsellors
and police present.
The massacre of young children shocked Americans who had
grown accustomed to mass shootings, prompting some US
lawmakers to call for tighter gun restrictions and pressuring
one private equity firm to sell its investment in a gunmaker.
In addition, Dick's Sporting Goods pulled all guns from its
store closest to Newtown and suspended the sale of certain
semi-automatic rifles in its stores nationwide.
"It's going to be awful, doing the things we used to do,"
said Miguel, 16, who stopped by a doughnut shop on his way to
Newtown High School. "There's going to be a lot of tears."
When Sandy Hook students go back to school, it will be at the
unused Chalk Hill School in nearby Monroe, where a sign
across the street read, "Welcome Sandy Hook Elementary!"
Police have warned it could take months for them to finish
their investigation, which was set back because Lanza smashed
his computer's hard drive, preventing police from retrieving
any data, The New York Times reported, citing a senior law
Investigators have revealed little to nothing about Lanza's
President Barack Obama called for action at a Sunday night
prayer vigil in Newtown, and Democratic lawmakers have sought
a new push for US gun restrictions, including a ban on
assault weapons such as the Bushmaster AR-15-style assault
rifle used by Lanza.
The gunman carried hundreds of rounds of ammunition in extra
clips and shot his victims repeatedly, one of them 11 times.
He also shot his mother dead before driving to the school,
and then killed himself to end the massacre with a death toll
Some Republicans have shown signs they are willing to at
least discuss some gun controls after Newtown.
"You are going to have some people (Republicans) who never,
never go there," said Representative Steve LaTourette, an
Ohio Republican. "But yes, I think most Republicans are
willing to have a very, very serious conversation about what
this means and taking a second look at what the Second
Amendment means in the 21st century."
The US Conference of Mayors sent an open letter to Obama
urging him to act alone by exercising his executive power in
addition to working with Congress.
The nation's powerful gun industry lobby, the National Rifle
Association, has remained silent on the Newtown shooting.
US private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced
it was selling its investment in gunmaker Freedom Group
following pressure from a major investor, the California
State Teachers' Retirement System, which said on Monday it
was reviewing its investment with Cerberus.
CalSTRS, the second largest pension fund in the United
States, had invested $751.4 million with Cerberus by the end
of March 2012, according to its website. Cerberus bought
firearms maker Bushmaster in 2006 and later merged it with
other gun companies to create Freedom Group.
While Dick's pulled some guns from its shelves, Wal-Mart
Stores Inc took down an informational website about
semi-automatic Bushmaster rifles. Cabela's Inc continued to
advertise AR-15 type Bushmaster rifles on its website, though
it said the weapons were not available for sale online or at
its Connecticut store.
Police and educators in Newtown tried to ease their quiet
town back to normal.
A day after the first two children were buried, funerals took
place Tuesday for James Mattioli and Jessica Rekos. Each was
6 years old.
"I just feel its important to be here. I wanted to sit in the
back and pay respect. I wanted to cry," said Angela Bergen,
who drove 90 minutes from Elizabeth, New Jersey, with her
13-year-old son Jack to attend the Mattioli funeral.
At Newtown High School, a group of three girls hugged each
other in the parking lot before starting for the doorway.
Counseling was available in the gym for students and staff.
Nanci Wallenta, taking her friend's son to middle school,
said she was unworried about security and determined to get
back to normal.
"It's an isolated incident," Wallenta said. "You can't go
through life being afraid. You can't live in fear. ... We're
a strong town."