Principal reached out to her students
As the 600 pupils of Sandy Hook Elementary School filed into lessons on a bright, chilly morning in Newtown, Dawn Hochsprung, the school's headmistress, sat down for a meeting in her office with six colleagues.
Two days after Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said ''the time is right'' to talk about gun control, a nightmarish mass shooting at a Connecticut school elevated the debate to a new height.
There was little talk of gun control last Saturday when Joseph Loughrey accidentally shot his seven-year-old son Craig dead in Pennsylvania, as he climbed into the driver's seat of his truck holding a handgun.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has expressed Australia's shock at the worst school shooting in American history.
A few minutes before 10 on Friday morning, Michelle Urbina was speaking to a customer at the small bank branch she manages in Bethel, Connecticut, when her assistant broke in.
He carried a black briefcase to his 10th-grade honours English class and sat near the door, so he could readily slip in and out. When called upon, he was intelligent, but nervous and fidgety, spitting his words out, as if having to speak up were painful.
The teachers had herded the survivors to the volunteer firehouse near Sandy Hook Elementary School. Some were covered in blood.
Many of the little children were led away as if for a surprise, holding hands, their eyes closed, an urgency in their step. There were too many terrible things to see.
A medical examiner in the US says the victims of the Connecticut school shooting were shot multiple times by semi-automatic rifle.