News In Depth
Church cleared after vigil threat
Worshippers hurriedly cleared the church at the centre of the Connecticut shootings vigil after someone phoned in a threat as parishioners remembered 20 children and six adults who were killed at a nearby elementary school.
The threat interrupted a crowded mass and touched off a large police response, days after the worst massacre of school-age children in US history.
Halfway through the noon service at the St Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, the priest stopped and said: "Please, everybody leave. There is a threat," said worshipper Anna Wood, of Oxford, Connecticut.
At least a dozen police in camouflage gear and carrying guns soon arrived. Officers were later seen carrying something out in a red tarpaulin. Guns drawn, they searched the church and adjacent buildings.
Deborah Metz, a Trumbull police officer at the scene, gave the all-clear after about an hour. Police said the church would be locked down for the rest of the day.
Brian Wallace, spokesman for the diocese, said someone called and "threatened to disrupt the mass".
Gunman Adam Lanza, his mother and eight of the child victims attended St Rose of Lima. It is a Roman Catholic Church with an adjacent school, which Lanza attended briefly.
The church hosted overflow crowds at all three morning masses on Sunday.
Ms Wood said everyone left calmly but described a congregation on edge.
Nancy Elis lived in Newtown for 28 years before moving to nearby Southbury in 2006, but she was back on Sunday to visit her former church.
With police searching the property, she said the scene looked like "a war zone".
"This is the house of God," she said, sobbing. "Why would they have to leave for fear for their lives? What's become of our nation?"