UK & World News

  • 17 December 2012, 8:22

Newtown Shooting: Makeshift Memorials Appear

People have converged on Newtown to pay their respects to a community in mourning.

Makeshift memorials have sprung up across the Connecticut town, which is still in shock over the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Martinez family travelled 47 miles from Hartford, Connecticut, despite having no connection to Newtown or its residents.

Daniel Martinez, 24, said he hoped that by just showing up the people of Newtown would know others share in their grief.

"It's difficult," he said. "But you see all these people and it's a good feeling to know they all care."

One woman, who declined to give her name, drove up from the Bronx, New York.

Tears welled in her eyes as she looked out over Pootatuck Creek, which runs through the village of Sandy Hook.

"It's so peaceful," was all she said.

Across the street from where she stood, people continued to gather in front of a large tree covered with Christmas lights.

Paul Tomassetti, from nearby Shelton, stood on the corner of Church Hill Road with other volunteers handing out teddy bears.

Mr Tomassetti said a family from Rhode Island donated 3,000 of the stuffed animals to Newtown's Hook and Ladder Fire Company.

Many of the bears were placed under the tree, where people held hands in prayer and lit candles for a third straight day.

But the outpouring of affection is just beginning.

Mr Martinez said he saw a line of people at a popular Build-A-Bear Workshop in West Hartford.

Almost everyone was donating the bears to a local organisation with plans to send them to Newtown, he said.

"You can't imagine what these people are feeling," Mr Martinez said. "I just hope they know people are here for them."