Newtown students return to class; funerals continue Tuesday
Students in Newtown, Connecticut are returning to school Tuesday morning for the first time since Friday's shooting massacre. Meanwhile, more families will hold funerals for their loved ones killed in that horrific crime.
A memorial overflowing with messages of hope - along with flowers and stuffed animals - has become the focal point of the little town.
It's something many students may see as they go by, and it's a reminder even as they return to routine that things will never be the same
Each day long lines of cars bring thousands of tearful mourners to Newtown. They're carrying candles, letters and stuffed animals and placing them under an outdoor Christmas tree. Anything to honor the 26 victims from Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"We felt kind of helpless at home. We felt like we needed to do something to help out somehow," said Jennifer Meeker, Fairfield resident.
Tuesday morning brings one step toward healing as students go back to class at other schools. Classes will be delayed by two hours and counseling services available through Friday.
Sandy Hook Elementary remains closed indefinitely as police keep the school on lockdown while their investigation continues. Sandy Hook students will not return to class just yet.
The district is preparing a middle school in a neighboring town for Sandy Hook students. District officials in Monroe say their Chalk Hill School could be ready in a day for those students, but it's still unclear when they will go back to class.
"I'm not sure we're ever going to get back to normal. Whatever we can do to head that way, obviously we want to start doing that," said Chief Bill Halstead, Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department.
Tuesday also marks another round of grief as families continue to bury their loved ones. Among the services is a viewing for Vicki Soto, the teacher who died shielding her students.
"What does anybody say to this family? It's very extremely difficult," said Lt. James Perez, Fairfield Police.
Investigators confirm the shooter had visited multiple gun ranges ahead of the massacre. They say he went with his mother, the first victim of his rampage and legal owner of the guns.
Police have also obtained a broken computer found in his mother's home, but determining a motive will still be painstaking.
"We're going to do everything that it takes that we uncover every bit of evidence," said Lt. Paul Vance, Connecticut State Police.
Meantime, the community of Newtown comes together and waits for answers, hoping their incalculable loss won't be in vain.
"Seeing the town come together like this is just amazing. I'm proud to say that I'm from here," said Sara Klopfenstein, Newtown resident.
As for the shooter's mental health, there have been reports that he had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and that he may have been insensitive to pain. But that typically does not cause violence. Police, however, have not confirmed any of those details.