NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Newtown held a moment of silence Wednesday and flags were flying at half-staff across Connecticut to mark the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
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. Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother before driving to the school, and then killed himself after the rampage.
President Barack Obama said in a Facebook post that the anniversary was a day to remember staff and teachers who guided children to safety, the first responders and the victims.
"And we remember the children who held each other in the face of unconscionable evil; who, even as they've grown up in the shadow of this tragedy, will grow up loved and cared for more fiercely than ever," Obama wrote.
Newtown typically does not hold an official memorial event on the anniversary, but prayer services were offered Wednesday and a counseling center was open for extended hours. The governor ordered flags to fly at half-staff in remembrance of the victims.
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. In Newtown's schools, it was a regular day of classes, although School Superintendent Joseph Erardi said there would be quiet reflections and age-appropriate messages for students.