UK & World News

  • 4 December 2013, 6:48

Sandy Hook Massacre: 911 Tapes To Be Released

Parents of 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting are braced for the release of recordings of emergency service calls made in its immediate aftermath.

The tapes will be released mid-afternoon after the town of Newtown lost a legal battle to block their publication.

"We have been preparing emotionally for this possibility," Newtown councillor Pat Llodra told Sky News.

"We know they will be played over and over again on television and radio and YouTube."

Lawyers for the town argued there was minimal public good to gain from releasing the tapes.

They record the harrowing moments after gunman Adam Lanza burst into the school and began shooting his victims, all aged six or seven as well as six adults, after shooting his mother dead at home.

But a judge ruled there were no grounds for keeping them secret.

The 911 recordings are unlikely to reveal new details that have not emerged in subsequent investigations.

There is no controversy about the speed of the police response. The first officers were on the scene within minutes of shots being fired.

Their release is a second blow at this hugely difficult time of year. Last week an official investigation recorded in gruesome detail the event that became America's worst school shooting, but failed to find a motive to explain why it happened.

"Every time there's an event that drags us back to that day, it's incredibly painful for all of us and exponentially so for the families," Cllr Llodra said.

The looming anniversary of the shooting on December 14 only makes matters worse.

"The pressure of these three things at the same time is difficult, and especially at a time of year when the atmosphere is meant to be celebratory," she added.

Newtown will be marking the anniversary of the shooting in a deliberately low-key manner. 

There will be no public community-wide events remembering the victims, just family and church-based commemorations, not least to avoid creating a magnet for the media to descend once again onto the small rural town.

Much of the news media has already agreed to stay away for that week to allow families to grieve in private.

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