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Prayer begins early Sunday as Newtown searches for meaning

December 16, 2012|By Tina Susman and Matt Pearce

NEWTOWN, CONN. -- The time for prayer came early Sunday morning for many as the town awaits the arrival of President Obama and as officials plan to release more information about the gunman in the school shooting.

As early as 7:30 a.m., residents were streaming into area churches to find some sense of meaning from the Friday morning massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six adults dead. Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, also killed his mother and himself. 

"This is, this is mental illness, you know, dressed in evil, I suppose," Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "And it just, you know, it just overwhelms the community, overwhelms the state, and obviously as we sit here Sunday morning, it overwhelms the nation."

He said one church would be handling eight funerals in the coming days.

While mourners left flowers and candles at sidewalk shrines on their way to morning services, debate raged Sunday morning on airwaves and Twitter feeds over how to stop another tragedy like this from happening.

"When someone can use an assault weapon to enter a building -- actually shoot out that which was preventing him getting in the building, have clips of up to 30 rounds on a weapon that can almost instantaneously fire those -- you have to start to question whether assault weapons should be allowed to be distributed the way they are in the United States," Malloy said.

Officials believe that Lanza, a socially troubled 20-year-old, took his mother's legally purchased guns and shot his way into the school.

Law enforcement sources told the Hartford Courant that they found Nancy Lanza's body in bed at her home, where she lived with her son. Police also said they were analyzing a hard drive from Adam Lanza's computer that had been broken into pieces.

On talk shows, the topic turned to whether banning assault rifles or high-capacity magazines was the answer. On NBC's "Meet The Press," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said she would introduce a bill proposing another assault weapons ban on the first day of the new session of Congress.

"Look at the level of violence in our media and video games, the depiction of these assault weapons again and again. There might well be some connection between people with a mental disability” who idealize themselves as a video game character and want to use assault weapons," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said during a Sunday interview on CNN.

The National Rifle Assn.'s normally active Twitter account has been silent since the shooting.

Betsy Fischer Martin, an executive producer for "Meet The Press," tweeted: "We reached out to ALL 31 pro-gun rights Sens in the new Congress to invite them to share their views on - NO takers."


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