FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The first funeral services for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings were held today, one in this town where Noah Pozner was remembered and the second in Newtown where Jack Pinto was mourned by schoolmates and parents.
Pozner and Pinto were both 6 years old and were among the 20 children murdered inside their school on Friday by suspected gunman Adam Lanza, who also killed six women inside the school, including its principal. Lanza then shot himself.
The service for Pozner was attended by US Senator Richard Blumenthal and Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Malloy had originally planned to stop here and then travel back to Newtown, where a service for Pinto was held, but the governor instead remained here.
In Newtown, hundreds of people, many of them children wearing Newtown T-shirts over their clothing, filled the Honan Funeral Home on Main Street while a large contingent of the media looked on from across the street.
The same funeral home will host services for at least nine more victims in coming days, according to its website.
In briefings with reporters today in Newtown, Connecticut State Police Lieutenant J. Paul Vance said there is no known connection between the apparent gunman, Lanza, 20, and the elementary school where the massacre took place.
Vance noted that with Lanza’s apparent suicide, the person law enforcement believes responsible for the killings will not face prosecution. Yet, he said, the sweeping investigation will continue.
“The answers are for the poor victims, the families, the people of Connecticut that need to know and see a clear picture as to exactly what happened here,’’ Vance said.
Vance said that while investigators seized “significant evidence’’ from the Lanza home, it will take considerable time to analyze it. “It’s going to take some time,’’ he said. “It’s a very painstaking process.’’
Vance also said the ongoing investigation would include a detailed study of the life of the 20-year-old Lanza who killed his mother in her home Friday and then forced his way into the school to begin his murderous rampage.
“We will go back to the date of his birth,’’ Vance said.
According to attendees, some 200 mourners paid their last respects to Pozner at the Abraham L. Greene & Son Funeral Home here, where some had left flowers, Teddy bears, white balloons behind along with a sign that read, “Our hearts are with you, Noah.”
After a service that lasted more than an hour — and was closed to the press — men and women streamed outside with somber faces and recollections of a moving eulogy delivered by the child’s mother, Veronique Pozner.
“It was beautiful,” said Roxanne Dunn of Danbury, Noah’s karate teacher. “It touched us all.”
Dunn said the mother was tearful but controlled when she talked about her buoyant, loving son whose presence, she said, was still among his family and friends.
“Noah was a big part of her,” Dunn said. “Noah was a big part of all of us.”
Before the service, Fairfield police Lieutenant James Perez had gone inside the funeral home to pay his respects to the boy and his family. Perez said he was taken back by the child-sized casket, made with polished wood, that lay closed.
“I’ve been to a lot of funerals, but not one where the casket was that small,” Perez said, shaking his head. “It rendered me speechless.”
Today’s funeral services come after President Obama addressed the community Sunday night at the Newtown High School, vowing to use “whatever power this office holds” to prevent future mass shootings.
There were multiple reports Sunday that Adam Lanza wore combat gear and was armed with a semiautomatic rifle, handguns, and a large cache of ammunition during his murder spree. Also Sunday, the Connecticut state medical examiner said that Lanza’s mother, Nancy, was killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head in their Newtown home.
Lanza shot himself in the head as police stormed the school. Police said he primarily used a .223-caliber Bushmaster assault rifle to kill the children and teachers, but also had two pistols with him. All of the weapons were legally owned by his mother, officials said.