UK & World News

  • 18 December 2012, 20:03

Sandy Hook Shooting: Funerals For Two Victims

The funerals of two victims of the US shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown have taken place.

James Mattioli and Jessica Rekos, both six years old, were among 20 pupils who, along with six female staff, were killed by Adam Lanza in Friday's attack.

The 20-year-old gunman had earlier killed his mother Nancy before driving to the school to carry out his atrocity. He later took his own life at Sandy Hook as police closed in.

James loved break time and maths, and his family described him as a "numbers guy" who came up with insights beyond his years to explain the relationship between numbers.

He particularly loved the concept of googolplex, which a friend taught him.

He was born four weeks before his due date, and his family often joked that he came into the world early because he was hungry.

They wrote in his obituary that James, fondly called 'J', loved hamburgers with ketchup, his father's omelettes with bacon, and his mother's French toast.

He often asked to stop at a Subway shop and wanted to know how old he needed to be to order one of their footlong sandwiches.

James loved sport and wore shorts and T-shirts no matter the weather. He was a loud and enthusiastic singer and once asked: "How old do I have to be to sing on a stage?"

His family recalled that he was an early-riser who was always ready to get up and go. He and his older sister were the best of friends.

He was a thoughtful and considerate child, recently choosing to forgo a gift for himself and use the money to buy his grandfather a mug for Christmas.

Jessica's parents said in a statement that she loved everything about horses.

"She devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses, and writing stories about horses," they said.

When she turned 10, they promised, she could have a horse of her own. For Christmas, she asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and a hat.

The Rekoses described their daughter as "a creative, beautiful little girl who loved playing with her little brothers, Travis and Shane.

"She spent time writing in her journals, making up stories, and doing 'research' on orca whales - one of her passions after seeing the movie Free Willy last year." Her dream of seeing a real orca was realised in October when she went to SeaWorld.

Jessica, first born in the family, "was our rock," her parents said. "She had an answer for everything, she didn't miss a trick, and she outsmarted us every time." A thoughtful planner, she was "our little CEO".

Meanwhile, an 11-year-old boy allegedly brought a gun into school in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The unnamed child said he was defending himself in case of an attack similar to the Sandy Hook massacre, according to police.

He was arrested on suspicion of possessing a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault after other students told officers he pointed the handgun at them on a field at an elementary school.

Officials say staff confronted the boy in class after hearing he had a weapon and seized the unloaded gun and ammunition from his rucksack.

:: Watch 'USA: The Gun Debate' on Sky News on Wednesday at 8:30pm.

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