Killing of children, teachers commemorated

2013-12-14 19:32
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama light candles to honour those killed at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. (Saul Loeb, AFP)

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama light candles to honour those killed at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. (Saul Loeb, AFP)

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Washington - President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle lit 26 candles and observed a moment of silence on Saturday in honour of the victims of last year's shooting at an elementary school.

Exactly one year ago, on 14 December, a heavily armed man, later identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, entered the school in Newtown, Connecticut and opened fire with devastating effect.

In 10 minutes he killed 20 first graders and six teachers and staff before taking his own life.

He had also shot his mother dead earlier that morning.

Each victim

The senseless slaughter of young children at the hands of a mentally disturbed individual shocked America like no other mass shooting in years, but despite public condemnation it did not culminate in new US gun laws.

Wearing black, the Obamas somberly lit candles in the White House map room for each victim of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

They stood silently for several moments and then walked out without making any remarks.

Flags at half mast

There was no public memorial planned in Newtown and the media has been asked to grant privacy to residents to mark the anniversary.

However, church bells rang 26 times in the town in memory of the victims and flags were at half mast across the state of Connecticut, at the request of Governor Dannel Malloy.

The Newtown massacre provoked a push for gun control laws and a handful of states have since tightened rules.

But the nationwide measures the president supported failed in the US Senate in April, due to fierce opposition from gun rights supporters and a lack of support in both houses of Congress.

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