NEWTOWN, CONN. - Four more funerals will be held Wednesday in Newtown, Conn., for victims of Friday’s tragic shooting.
Three of those services will be for children and the other for a beloved teacher who was killed.
“It is hard to get your mind around it, that someone so young would leave us in such a peaceful community over such a horrific event,” said mourner Lopez Cepiro.
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The beloved Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher is Victoria Soto, whose family said protected her students as the gunman burst into her classroom.
“Vicki died a hero. That she was protecting her child which she loved very much. She did not call them her students, she called them her kids,” said Soto’s cousin, James Wiltsie.
On Tuesday, the sudden grim need for multiple funerals went on display in a painful new way.
When the service for 6-year-old James Mattioli ended, mourners left the church, exchanging hugs with many waiting outside for the next service for Jessica Rekos, also 6-years-old.
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“I’ve never been in a situation like this. I’m watching a sea of people leaving a funeral for a child and another sea of people waiting outside the church trying to get in for the next funeral,” said an unidentified police officer.
Students in Newtown returned to school for the first time since the shooting. Sandy Hook Elementary School remains closed, perhaps for good.
“I’ll always be worried, but now it is very, very bad,” said one parent.
Students from Sandy Hook will use the Chalk Hill Middle School in the neighboring town of Monroe.
There, volunteers have been preparing the school, transforming that building into something worthy of a new home for those students.
“I’m going to put on a brave face. We’re going to march up to the door and say, ‘Hello’ to the teacher. I’ll walk away and then cry. It’s just all so surreal,” said mother Karen Dryer.