More Newtown victims laid to rest - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

More Newtown victims laid to rest

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James Mattioli James Mattioli
Jessica Rekos Jessica Rekos
Gene Rosen Gene Rosen
NEWTOWN -

In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting, President Obama is putting his support behind efforts on Capitol Hill to reinstate an assault weapons ban.

The White House says the president would also support legislation to close the gun show loophole that allows people to buy guns from private dealers without background checks.

Also today, most students went back to school in Newtown, while Sandy Hook Elementary, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults last Friday, remains closed.

One church held two funerals Tuesday for a pair of first graders. It's the first of eight total funerals that same church will have in the coming days.

The pain of saying goodbye has become a part of every day now in Newtown. This grieving community buried two more first graders today.

Jessica Rekos loved horses and had asked Santa for cowgirl boots and a hat for Christmas. A first born child, she liked to plan and organize so much her family called her their CEO.

James Mattioli, nicknamed "J," loved math, sports and games on his iPad. An early riser, he usually ended his days cuddled up on the couch next to his mom.

Mourners held each other tight at the funeral services of the children, unable to shake the horror.

Gene Rosen is a Newtown resident who found several children huddled in his yard after they ran past the gunman to escape. He recalled their panicked words. He recounted the incident tearfully.

"They kept saying that and one of the boys said that he had a big gun and a little gun. I could not fathom what they were talking about," he said."They were very upset and the two boys just start talking. I had no idea what happened and they said, 'We can't go back to the school. We can't go back to the school 'cause our teacher is gone.'"

Students in Newtown returned to school Tuesday except those from Sandy Hook Elementary. Every campus opened with extra security and grief counselors on hand.

Parents like Rebekah Harriman-Stites - whose seven-year-old wrestled with shooting victim Jake Pinto - say it's tough, but it's time.

"I don't think you're ever ready to send your child back to school after something like this happens but I think that as much as we can get him back to normal we have to," she said.

This community understands that "normal" means something very different now. There really can't be anything normal when you're talking about burying six- and seven-year-old children. Wednesday, Victoria Soto, one of the teachers who died trying to protect her students, will be the first adult from the tragedy to be laid to rest.

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