‘‘You couldn’t think of a better child,’’ Grimes said.
Grimes’ own five children all attended Sandy Hook, too. Cars lined up outside the Kowalskis’ ranch home Saturday, and a state trooper’s car idled in the driveway. Grimes spoke of the boy only in the present tense.
NANCY LANZA, 52, gunman’s mother
She once was known simply for the game nights she hosted and the holiday decorations she put up at her house. Now Nancy Lanza is known as her son’s first victim.
Authorities say her 20-year-old son Adam gunned her down before killing 26 others at Sandy Hook. The two shared a home in a well-to-do Newtown neighborhood, but details were slow to emerge of who she was and what might have led her son to carry out such horror.
Kingston, N.H., Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said Nancy Lanza once lived in the community and was a kind, considerate and loving person. The former stockbroker at John Hancock in Boston was well-respected, Briggs said.
Court records show Lanza and her ex-husband, Peter Lanza, filed for divorce in 2008. He lives in Stamford and is a tax director at General Electric. A neighbor, Rhonda Cullens, said she knew Nancy Lanza from get-togethers she had hosted to play Bunco, a dice game. She said her neighbor had enjoyed gardening.
‘‘She was a very nice lady,’’ Cullens said. ‘‘She was just like all the rest of us in the neighborhood, just a regular person.’’
JESSE LEWIS, 6
Six-year-old Jesse Lewis had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich — sausage, egg and cheese — at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning.
Jesse and his parents were regulars at the Misty Vale Deli in Sandy Hook, Conn., owner Angel Salazar told The Wall Street Journal.
‘‘He was always friendly; he always liked to talk,’’ Salazar said.
Jesse’s family has a collection of animals he enjoyed playing with, and he was learning to ride horseback.
Family friend Barbara McSperrin told the Journal that Jesse was ‘‘a typical 6-year-old little boy, full of life.’’
ANA MARQUEZ-GREENE, 6
A year ago, 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene was reveling in holiday celebrations with her extended family on her first trip to Puerto Rico. This year will be heartbreakingly different.
The girl’s grandmother, Elba Marquez, said the family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook’s sterling reputation. The grandmother’s brother, Jorge Marquez, is mayor of a Puerto Rican town and said the child’s 9-year-old brother also was at the school but escaped safely.
Elba Marquez had just visited the new home over Thanksgiving and is perplexed by what happened. ‘‘What happened does not match up with the place where they live,’’ she said.
A video spreading across the Internet shows a confident Ana hitting every note as she sings ‘‘Come, Thou Almighty King.’’ She flashes a big grin and waves to the camera when she’s done.
Jorge Marquez confirmed the girl’s father is saxophonist Jimmy Greene, who wrote on Facebook that he was trying to ‘‘work through this nightmare.’’
‘‘As much as she’s needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise,’’ he wrote. ‘‘I love you sweetie girl.’’
JAMES MATTIOLI, 6
James Mattioli especially loved recess and math, and his family described him as a ‘‘numbers guy’’ who came up with insights beyond his years to explain the relationship between numbers. He particularly loved the concept of googolplex, which a friend taught him.
He was born four weeks before his due date, and his family often joked that he came into the world early because he was hungry.
They wrote in his obituary that 6-year-old James, fondly called ‘J,’ loved hamburgers with ketchup, his Dad’s omelets with bacon, and his Mom’s French toast. He often asked to stop at Subway and wanted to know how old he needed to be to order a footlong sandwich.
He loved sports and wore shorts and T-shirts no matter the weather. He was a loud and enthusiastic singer and once asked, ‘‘How old do I have to be to sing on a stage?’’
His family recalled that he was an early-riser who was always ready to get up and go. He and his older sister were the best of friend. He was a thoughtful and considerate child, recently choosing to forgo a gift for himself and use the money to buy his grandfather a mug for Christmas.
His funeral is Tuesday.
GRACE AUDREY McDONNELL, 7
With broken hearts, the parents of Grace Audrey McDonnell said Sunday they couldn’t believe the outpouring of support they've received since the little girl who was the center of their lives died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.Continued...