You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

U.S.

  • School gunman was Homecoming prince, students say
    MARYSVILLE, Wash. — A student recently crowned freshman class Homecoming prince walked into his Seattle-area high school cafeteria on Friday and opened fire without shouting or arguing, killing one person and shooting several
  • Federal officials: Dallas nurse free of Ebola
    BETHESDA, Md. – A nurse who caught Ebola while caring for a Dallas patient who died of the disease walked out of a Washington-area hospital virus-free Friday and into open arms.
  • Police prepare for grand jury decision in Ferguson
    FERGUSON, Mo. – Missouri police have been brushing up on constitutional rights and stocking up on riot gear to prepare for a grand jury’s decision about whether to charge a white police officer who fatally shot a black 18-
Advertisement
Associated Press
A mourner carries a giant Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal to place at one of the makeshift memorials for Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims on Monday in Newtown, Conn.

Newtown holds first funerals for victims

NEWTOWN, Conn. – A grief-stricken Newtown began burying the littlest victims of the school massacre, starting with two 6-year-old boys – one of them a big football fan, the other described as a whip-smart youngster whose twin sister survived the rampage.

Family, friends and townspeople streamed to two funeral homes to say goodbye to Jack Pinto, who loved the New York Giants and idolized their star wide receiver, and Noah Pozner, who liked to figure out how things worked mechanically.

A rabbi presided at Noah’s service, and in keeping with Jewish tradition, the boy was laid to rest in a simple brown wooden casket adorned with a Star of David.

Outside the funeral home, well-wishers placed two teddy bears, a bouquet of white flowers and a red rose at the base of an old maple tree.

“If Noah had not been taken from us, he would have become a great man. He would been a wonderful husband and a loving father,” Noah’s uncle, Alexis Haller, told mourners, according to remarks he provided to the Associated Press.

Both services were closed to the news media.

Haller described a smart, funny and mischievous child who loved animals and Mario Brothers video games, and liked to tease his sisters by telling them he worked in a taco factory.

“It is unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back,” Haller said. “We would go to the ends of the earth to do so, but none of us can.

"What we can do is carry Noah within us, always. We can remember the joy he brought to us. We can hold his memory close to our hearts. We can treasure him forever.”

Noah’s twin sister, Arielle, who was assigned to a different classroom, survived the killing frenzy by 20-year-old Adam Lanza that left 20 children and six adults dead last week at Sandy Hook Elementary. Authorities have not said whether the school would ever reopen.

At Jack’s Christian service, hymns rang out from inside the funeral home.

A mourner, Gwendolyn Glover, said that Jack was in an open casket and that the service was a message of comfort and protection, particularly for other children.

“The message was: 'You’re secure now. The worst is over,'” she said.

The funeral program bore a quotation from the Book of Revelation: “God shall wipe away all tears. There shall be no more death. Neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.”

A fir tree opposite the funeral home was strung with paper angels carrying the names of everyone who died, including the teachers.

At both funeral homes, people wrestled with the same questions as the rest of the country – what steps could and should be taken to prevent anything like the massacre from happening again.

“If people want to go hunting, a single-shot rifle does the job, and that does the job to protect your home, too. If you need more than that, I don’t know what to say,” Ray DiStephan said outside Noah’s funeral.

He added: “I don’t want to see my kids go to schools that become maximum-security fortresses. That’s not the world I want to live in, and that’s not the world I want to raise them in.”

With more funerals planned this week, the road ahead for Newtown, which had already started purging itself of Christmas decorations in a joyful season turned mournful, was clouded.

“I feel like we have to get back to normal, but I don’t know if there is normal anymore,” said Kim Camputo, mother of two children, 5 and 10, who attend a different school. “I’ll definitely be dropping them off and picking them up myself for a while.”

With Sandy Hook Elementary still designated a crime scene, state police Lt. Paul Vance said it could be months before police turn the school back over to the district.

The people of Newtown were not ready to address its future.

“We’re just now getting ready to talk to our son about who was killed,” said Robert Licata, the father of a student who escaped harm during the shooting. “He’s not even there yet.”

Classes were canceled Monday, and Newtown’s other schools were to reopen Tuesday. The district made plans to send surviving Sandy Hook students to a former middle school in the neighboring town of Monroe.

Sandy Hook desks are being taken to the Chalk Hill school in Monroe, empty since town schools consolidated last year, and tradesmen are donating their services to get the school ready within a matter of days.

“These are innocent children that need to be put on the right path again,” Monroe police Lt. Brian McCauley said.

Associated Press writers John Christoffersen, Ben Feller, Adam Geller, Jim Kuhnhenn and Michael Melia in Newtown; David Collins in Hartford, Conn.; Brian Skoloff in Phoenix; and Anne Flaherty in Washington contributed to this report.

Advertisement