The faces of the innocent victims began toÂ circulate as the families grapple with the horror that unfolded on Friday, when gunman AdamÂ Lanza killed 26 in a shooting rampage at the school.Â
The first parent of a child victim spoke outÂ in an emotional press conference on Saturday.
Robbie Parker, the fatherÂ of Emilie Parker, 6, addressed the press on Saturday, holding back tears as heÂ remembered the precious six-year-old, the oldest of his three daughters.
The grieving father remembered the beautifulÂ gifts and talents endowed to the little girl by her heavenly father.
In a remarkable act, Mr ParkerÂ expressed hisÂ condolences to the family of the gunman and thankedÂ friends and strangers forÂ their support and love.
Friends of the Parker family have set up a FacebookÂ page to pay tribute to little EmilieÂ and have established a remembrance fund
Six-year-old Noah Pozner was also killedÂ inÂ the shooting on Friday, with Rabbi Shaul Praver of Adath Israel inÂ Newtown,Â Conn., saying that the boy was shot execution style.
‘His little body could not endure so manyÂ bullets like that,’ Rabbi Praver said on Saturday.
The spiritual leader said he was comfortingÂ the mother of the child, who will be laid to rest on Sunday.
Ana Marquez-Greene, six, was killed when theÂ shooter opened fire on children and teachers at 9.30am onÂ Friday at Sandy HookÂ Elementary School.
The little girl and her olderÂ brotherÂ had attended Linden Christian School nearby, before moving with their parents toÂ Newtown in July and enrolling at Sandy Hook. BothÂ children were inside the school when the shooting began.
Ana Marquez-Greene’s father isÂ Canadian jazzÂ musician Jimmy Greene. The distraught father toldÂ MailOnline today that heÂ couldn’t find the words to express the loss ofÂ his daughter Ana.
The musician took to his Facebook page askingÂ for prayers as the family works ‘through this nightmare.
‘We’re reminded how much we’re loved andÂ supported on this earth and by our Father in heaven. As much as she’s neededÂ here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise. IÂ love you sweetie girl,’ he wrote.
Another victim has been named as six-year-oldÂ Jesse Lewis. His father Neil Heslin told theNew YorkÂ PostÂ that he dropped his son off atÂ school that morning and planned toÂ return in the afternoon to join parents inÂ the holiday tradition ofÂ making gingerbread houses.
Grace McDonnell, six, who was alsoÂ killed,Â has been described as ‘utterly adorable’ and ‘full of life’. She had blue eyesÂ and hair that was so blonde that friends thought sheÂ looked like a ‘littleÂ doll’.
Her parents are going through ‘indescribable’Â pain, MailOnline has learned.
In a chilling twist, Lynn McDonnell, 45, a housewife, and Christopher, 49, a business executive, live in a $500,000 detached home in Sandy Hook, Connecticut that is just one street away from where alleged shooter Adam Lanza lived.
A six-year-old boy from Britain was also oneÂ of the victims of the school shooting. It is believed the boy moved with hisÂ parents from Hampshire to the U.S. two years ago.
Little Olivia Engel, was killed on Friday – aÂ day that began with excitement as the six-year-old looked forward to making aÂ gingerbread house after school.
A friend of the girl’s family, Dan Merton,Â told the Associated Press how Olivia ‘loved attention…she had perfect manners,Â perfect table manners. She was the teacher’s pet, the lineÂ leader.’
‘Her only crime,’ he said, was ‘being aÂ wiggly, smiley 6-year-old.’
Other victims that have been pictured includeÂ six-year-olds James Mattioli, Jessica Rekos and Charlotte Bacon andÂ seven-year-old Chase Kowalski.
Outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman CatholicÂ Church in Newtown, Connecticut,Â mourners left teddy bears, flowers and litÂ candles for victims.
Newtown was ranked the fifth safest city inÂ America by the website NeighborhoodScout.com based on 2011 crimeÂ statistics.
‘This wonderful town that we all love for itsÂ peace, beauty, the greatÂ schools – all of that – has become Columbine,’ saidÂ Julie Maxwell Shull, a sixth-grade teacher at Reed Intermediate School,Â referring to theÂ high school that was site of a 1999 shooting inÂ Colorado.
Many people who live in the wealthy, woodedÂ town commute to New York City,Â about 80 miles away were trying to come toÂ gripes with the unthinkableÂ incident.
‘We came here because it was going to be aÂ good, safe community for ourÂ kids,’ said Catherine Hunyadi, as she and herÂ husband wiped tears fromÂ their eyes. ‘You don’t send your kids to schoolÂ thinking something likeÂ this might happen.’
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, was also killed in the shooting.Â The mother-of-four was a teacher’s aide
The staff member’s testimony might be anÂ ‘important piece of information’ for discerning motive in this case, reportsÂ NBC.
While initial reports had suggested schoolÂ principal Mrs Hochsprung buzzedÂ Lanza into the building – bypassing theÂ newly-installed security system – police have confirmed that theÂ shooter forced his way in.
Adam Lanza opened fire on Friday morning atÂ Sandy Hook Elementary School, which teaches children aged 5 to 10. HeÂ murderedÂ 26 people at the school before turning the gun onÂ himself, as well as killingÂ one other person – his mother – at anotherÂ nearby site.
Investigators said they have foundÂ ‘someÂ veryÂ good evidence’ to explain what drove gunman Adam Lanza, 20, to slaughter 20 children all aged six and seven and six adults at the Connecticut elementaryÂ school.
Four teachers, who all died heroes trying toÂ save their students, have been named as Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, school psychologistÂ Mary Sherlach, 56, first grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, and Lauren Rousseau, 30.
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, was also killed in theÂ shooting. The mother-of-four served as a teacher’s aide.
She taught art and specialÂ education, according to theÂ The Wall Street Journal.
‘It was a terrible tragedy,’ her husband MikeÂ Murphy said.
‘She just tried to protect herÂ kids.’
Rachel Davino, 29, was also among theÂ teachers killed.
‘Our investigators at the crime scene … didÂ produce some very good evidence in this investigation that ourÂ investigatorsÂ will be able to use in, hopefully, painting the completeÂ picture as to how -Â and more importantly why – this occurred,’Â Connecticut State Police LieutenantÂ Paul Vance told a news conference Saturday morning.
‘We’re hopeful it will paint a completeÂ picture,’ he said.
All the bodies were removed from the schoolÂ overnight and the medicalÂ examiner released the names of the victims onÂ Saturday.
Police have assigned a trooper to supportÂ each victim’s family in the daysÂ ahead. Vance asked reporters to respect theÂ families’ grief and privacy.
‘This is an extremely heartbreaking thing forÂ them to endure,’ said Vance.
It is expected that investigators will takeÂ another two days to processÂ the school crime scene where it is believed LanzaÂ fired as many as 100Â rounds from his guns.
‘It’s going to be a slow, painstakingÂ process,’ said Vance.
The adult woman found at the secondary crimeÂ scene was the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza.
Nancy Lanza legally owned a Sig Sauer and aÂ Glock, both handguns of modelsÂ commonly used by police, and a military-styleÂ Bushmaster .223 M4Â carbine, according to law enforcement officials who alsoÂ believe AdamÂ Lanza used at least some of those weapons.
Nancy Lanza was an avid gun collector whoÂ once showed him a ‘really nice,Â high-end rifle’ that she had purchased, saidÂ Dan Holmes, owner of aÂ landscaping business who recently decorated her yardÂ with ChristmasÂ garlands and lights. ‘She said she would often go targetÂ shooting withÂ her kids.’
Grief-stricken members of the community tiedÂ white balloons to the sign for Sandy Hook school today in honor of all those whoÂ lost their lives.
The gunman’s father, Peter Lanza, issued aÂ statement late Saturday, saying the family was ‘in aÂ state of disbelief.’
‘Our family is grieving along with all thoseÂ who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express howÂ heartbroken we are.’
‘We too are asking why. We have cooperatedÂ fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, weÂ are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired,’ theÂ statement said.
President Barack Obama urged Americans onÂ Saturday to join in solidarity as theyÂ mourned the victims, saying the heartsÂ of parents across the countryÂ were ‘heavy with hurt.’
Obama, in his weekly radio and InternetÂ address, called for ‘meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this,’ butÂ stopped short of specifically calling for tighter gun-control laws.
The president wiped away tears in aÂ television address on Friday, telling the nation, ‘Our hearts areÂ broken.’
The president will be traveling to theÂ Connecticut town on Sunday at 7pm at an interfaith vigil for families of theÂ victims and other students from Sandy Hook Elementary School,
The holiday season tragedy was theÂ secondÂ shooting rampage in the United States this week and the latest in a series ofÂ mass killings this year.
It revived a debate about gun-control in aÂ country with a flourishingÂ firearms culture and a strong lobby that hasÂ discouraged mostÂ politicians from any major efforts to address the easyÂ availability ofÂ guns and ammunition.
People in Newtown mourned the dead inÂ community vigils on Friday night,Â including one at St. Rose of Lima CatholicÂ Church, which was packed with an overflow crowd outside.
‘We opened the windows (of the church) soÂ people could just hear and feelÂ they could be part of it,’ Monsignor RobertÂ Weiss told MSNBC onÂ Saturday, adding, ‘the worst days are ahead.’
‘I’m sure this morning when they woke up andÂ realized there was an empty bed in their house, it’s becoming more and more realÂ to them,’ Weiss said of the parents of the young victims.
The chaos struck as children gathered inÂ their classrooms for morning events. The shootings took place in two rooms,Â police said. Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots; some said as many asÂ 100 rounds.
Former classmates of the shooter rememberedÂ him as a quiet loner – someone who dressed more formally than other students,Â often wearing khaki pants, button-down shirts and at times, a pocketÂ protector.
‘(His mother) pushed him really hard to beÂ smarter and work harder in school,’ said Tim Arnone, 20, who first met Lanza atÂ Sandy Hook.
Another former classmate, who declined to beÂ identified, described Lanza as smart but without many friends.
He said he met Lanza when both boys joinedÂ the local Boy Scout troop.
At that time, he said Lanza was a big fan ofÂ Japanese culture, collecting Pokemon cards and playing the PlayStation videoÂ game Dynasty Warriors, a weapons-based animated fighting game released in theÂ late 1990s.
‘He was a very quiet kid,’ the friend said.Â ‘I remember being his only friend in elementary school. He was always a reallyÂ nice kid, very polite.’
The death toll exceeded that of one of theÂ most notorious U.S. school shootings, the 1999 rampage at Columbine High SchoolÂ in Littleton, Colorado, where two teenagers murdered 13 students and staffÂ before killing themselves.
Source: The Daily Mail