THE SLEEPY TOWN
'No words to describe the terror'
The father of a year two boy at the Connecticut primary school where the shooting took place, says he can't put into words the terror of finding out his child was stuck in a violent place.PT0M0S 620 349
UNTIL a few days ago, the biggest crime being reported in sleepy Newtown, Connecticut, was the vandalism of the historic cemetery overlooking Elm Drive.
Residents were shocked by the vandalism of the old headstones in the Newtown Village Cemetery, which was reported last week in the town's 133-year-old newspaper, The Newtown Bee.
According to newspaper reports, the most common crimes reported in the town of 27,000 related to drink driving or road crashes. In the past 10 years, it has had only one homicide.
Small town ... suffering from shock. Photo: Shannon Hicks
Newtown, in the last census, had a 95 per cent white population, 8325 households and a $101,000 median income. Website Neighborhood Scout ranked it as the fifth safest in a list of 100 cities in America with 25,000 or more people, based on 2010 data.
The rural and factory production town is about 130 kilometres north-east of New York City, and was originally known as Quanneapague when bought from the Pootatuck Indians in 1705. It was incorporated in 1711 and given the symbol of a rooster weathervane.
Residents described the community as tight-knit and the town as picturesque, beautiful and a place where almost nothing happens.
''Stuff like this does not happen in Newtown,'' said Renee Burn, a teacher at another school in town.
''Evil visited this community today,'' Connecticut's Governor, Dan Malloy, said in a news conference. ''You can never be prepared.''
The township itself is a little more than 156 square kilometres in size and has a quaint, New England style.
Many original buildings and large sprawling homes dominate its wide, leafy streets in a mix of architectural eras including Colonial, Tudor Revival and American Foursquare.
One of the town's most famous residents was James Brunot, who in 1946 developed a word game invented in the town into one of the world's most popular - Scrabble.
A survey run by the Bee for its last edition of the year asked residents what they would remember most from 2012 and what their resolutions for the new year would be.
The answers, which were to be published on December 28, will almost certainly have changed now.