The town of Newtown, Conn., started burying the first young victims of last week’s slaughter at an elementary school Monday, the task of mourning and remembering the dead in the Connecticut community made almost unbearable by the violence that had ended their brief lives and had stolen all that remained in front of them.
Jack Pinto was only 6, but as a family friend said in a eulogy, he had made his presence in the world well-known.
“From the moment Jack arrived in this world, he commanded all the attention in a room,” the friend, Mary Radatovich, said during the service in Newtown. “Who could ignore that beautiful energy, the sparkle in his eye, or that spirit that clearly said, ‘I am here and I am something special’?”
“We cannot but feel the pain of losing him, but we will never forget the joy of loving him.”
After Jack’s funeral had ended, a friend, Nolan Krieger, 8, walked out of the funeral home rubbing his eyes.
“I used to do everything with him,” Nolan said of Jack. “We liked to wrestle. We played Wii. We just played all the time. I can’t believe I’m never going to see him again.”
In another town at about the same time, words were also used to paint a picture of another 6-year-old boy, Noah Pozner, who died inside the school and who on the day he was killed was excited about a birthday party he had been invited to, which would have been held the day after he was killed.
“Noah was a little kid,” Alexis Haller, Noah’s uncle, said in a eulogy. “He loved animals, video games and Mario Brothers. He was already a very good reader and had just bought a Ninjago book at a book fair that he was really excited about reading.”
“Noah loved his family dearly, especially his mom, his dad, his big sisters Danielle and Sophia, his big brother Michael, and his dear twin Arielle,” Haller continued. “He called Arielle his best friend, and she was — and always had been.”
After attending Noah’s funeral, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, said: “You see little coffins and your heart has to ache.” Malloy said the state will observe a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 21, a week after the shootings, when churches and other houses of worship will ring their bells 26 times.
Investigators said Monday that it could take months to re-create an account of the events before and during the killing spree Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which has been sealed off as a crime scene.
The Connecticut State Police on Sunday officially confirmed the identity of the killer as Adam Lanza, 20, saying he shot himself with a handgun after taking the lives of 26 other people, 20 of them first-grade students, at the school, using an assault rifle. Before going on this rampage, Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, 52, in the house they shared.
Investigators haven’t retrieved any data from a computer they took from Lanza’s house because he had all but destroyed the hard drive, a senior law enforcement official said Monday.
“It looked like he took steps to damage it,” the official said.
Lt. J. Paul Vance, a State Police spokesman, said Monday that the plan was to let normality return to schools as soon as possible. Sandy Hook students will attend school at another building in a nearby community, and it was unclear when, or if, Sandy Hook would reopen.
This report includes material from Bloomberg News.