State Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Remembrance of Sandy Hook Tragedy

Town employees will refrain from doing any work, including answering phones, between 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.

The governor ordered Connecticut state flags to fly at half-staff today in remembrance of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown four years ago and the town held a moment of silence.

It was Dec. 14, 2012, when 20 children and six educators were killed by a troubled 20-year-old gunman who shot his way into the Connecticut schoolhouse.

The shooter shot and killed his mother before driving to the school, and then killed himself after the rampage.

The town typically does not hold an official memorial event on the anniversary, but prayer services were planned for Wednesday and a counseling center is open for extended hours.

First Selectman Pat Llodra asked town employees to refrain from doing any work, including answering phones, between 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. to mark the time when the shootings took place.

Newtown Superintendent of Schools Joseph Eradi said the anniversary of the massacre would be marked by a full day of classes and quiet reflection. 

The Connecticut Post reports that Eradi sent an email to parents saying he's certain many families will join him "in finding private space for personal reflection as the Newtown community continues to recover from an unconscionable act of violence." 

Erica Lafferty, the daughter of the Sandy Hook principal who was killed during the shooting, Tweeted early Wednesday morning that this day is a "special kind of hell" and she misses her mother, Dawn Hochsprung.

She later marked the time of the shooting with the Tweet, "She had no idea that these 15 minutes would be her last... "

Lafferty has called on President-Elect Donald Trump to disavow radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after he said in November that Trump called him and thanked him for his support, NBC News reports. 

Jones has made false claims that the school shooting was staged and no one was killed. 

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, who has pushed for strict gun control measures on a federal level, released a statement, calling Dec. 14 a day of "crippling sadness" and that the strength family members of the victims show has given him strength.

"But there is no power that can make the pain visited upon us four years ago fade away," Murphy said in a statement. 

“There’s nothing we can do that will make it right. Our world fractured four years ago and the pieces cannot ever be reassembled the same. But we can promise to be kinder to one another, to hug our loved ones and friends a little tighter, and reach out to those who may need a helping hand," Murphy said in a statement. "And we can commit to never, ever giving up in the fight to fix our broken laws and make our country safer. No other family should have to endure the pain that too many in Sandy Hook are suffering today, and I won't rest until our schools and our streets are truly safe."

Flags are currently at half-staff nationwide in accordance with a proclamation from President Barack Obama in tribute to former U.S. Senator, veteran, and astronaut John Glenn, who passed away last week. 

Flags have been ordered to remain lowered until sunset on the date of Glenn’s interment, which has not yet been determined.  

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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