Shooting revives past horror schoolhouse violence

  • Women embrace at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Women embrace at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Jessica Henderson, 19, walks past a sign with a bouquet of flowers to lay at a memorial at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)

Jessica Henderson, 19, walks past a sign with a bouquet of flowers to lay at a memorial at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)
  • A man clutches two sobbing women at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A man clutches two sobbing women at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • A priest embraces a woman outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church between Masses on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)A priest embraces a woman outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church between Masses on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Daniel Barden (Family handout)Daniel Barden (Family handout)
  • A man reacts placing candles on a makeshift memorial in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. The man, who died from a self-inflicted wound, allegedly killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)A man reacts placing candles on a makeshift memorial in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. The man, who died from a self-inflicted wound, allegedly killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • A message is seen on a candle outside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom. (AP Photo/David Goldman)A message is seen on a candle outside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • ** FILE ** Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School with their children following a mass shooting at the school on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Twenty schoolchildren and six adults were killed. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)** FILE ** Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School with their children following a mass shooting at the school on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Twenty schoolchildren and six adults were killed. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • A couple of volunteer firefighters place flowers at a makeshift memorial at a sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A couple of volunteer firefighters place flowers at a makeshift memorial at a sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.  (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)  In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)
  • A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel) A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • Victims family leave a firehouse staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Victims family leave a firehouse staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A mother hugs her daughter following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York City, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A mother hugs her daughter following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York City, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • This satellite image provided by Google shows the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded. (AP Photo/Google)This satellite image provided by Google shows the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded. (AP Photo/Google)
  • Law enforcement canvass an area nearby a school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Law enforcement canvass an area nearby a school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Heavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTHeavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Teachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting  at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTTeachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty schoolchildren and six staff members died in the rampage. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty schoolchildren and six staff members died in the rampage. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT: THE JOURNAL NEWS, FRANK BECERRA JR.School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT: THE JOURNAL NEWS, FRANK BECERRA JR.
  • Heavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTHeavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • President Obama wipes his eye as he talks in the White House briefing room in Washington about the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. (Associated Press)President Obama wipes his eye as he talks in the White House briefing room in Washington about the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. (Associated Press)
  • Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults there. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults there. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook School with their children following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, ONLINE OUT, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTParents walk away from the Sandy Hook School with their children following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, ONLINE OUT, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Teachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTTeachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School  Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTSchool children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTA woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A woman hugs her daughter after being reunited at the Sandy Hook firehouse after a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)A woman hugs her daughter after being reunited at the Sandy Hook firehouse after a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • Ambulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Ambulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • People embrace at a firehouse staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)People embrace at a firehouse staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A man and woman leave the staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A man and woman leave the staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Law enforcement canvass an area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Law enforcement canvass an area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • A woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTA woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A man reacts following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A man reacts following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • A young girl cires following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A young girl cires following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, on Dec. 14, 2012. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (Associated Press)Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, on Dec. 14, 2012. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (Associated Press)
  • Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, talks with officials at a staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, talks with officials at a staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A mother runs with her children as police above canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A mother runs with her children as police above canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Two people embrace following a service at the Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Rabbi Shaul Praver said a six-year-old boy from the congregation was a school shooting victim and that he would be buried on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Two people embrace following a service at the Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Rabbi Shaul Praver said a six-year-old boy from the congregation was a school shooting victim and that he would be buried on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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Friday’s mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school has once again left public officials and educators bewildered and saddened, struggling for answers and forced to relive the horrific memories of violence from years past.

Educators and political leaders must once again confront the cold reality that school buildings, meant to the safest environment for American children, too often become the targets of killers.

“We’ll never be able to prevent every senseless act of violence, but our children, educators and school employees go to school believing it is a safe sanctuary. We’ve been through this too many times,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation Teachers, the labor union that represents the teachers at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Going a few steps further than President Obama, who said Friday’s events must lead to “meaningful action, regardless of the politics” to prevent such violence, Ms. Weingarten turned the spotlight directly on U.S. gun laws.

“Everything we can do, we must do, including a renewed focus on gun control and preventing gun violence,” she said.

The ongoing debate over gun control is sure to follow the Newtown tragedy. Most political leaders, however, avoided the issue in the hours following the shooting.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the leader of a state still recovering from its own unspeakable tragedy, expressed condolences for the more than two dozen victims, including 20 young children.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted by the events transpiring today, and to the teachers, emergency responders, and all others touched by this tragedy. Unfortunately, Virginia has our own painful memories of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007. Those memories will never fade, and we continue to grieve for all those lost on that April day,” Mr. McDonnell said in a statement. “We are all too aware of the impact that events like this can have on a community.”

“Our collective heart breaks over the senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School today. … Places of learning must serve as safe havens for every child across our country, and violence must not be tolerated in our schools,” said Jeri Powell, Connecticut state director of the education advocacy group StudentsFirst, founded by former D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee.

Friday’s tragedy in Newtown is the latest in a string of school shootings over the years, a worldwide epidemic that law enforcement, government leaders and the education community continue to struggle to explain and prevent.

Just this year, 17-year-old T.J Lane killed three students and wounded two others at Chadron High School in northeastern Ohio in February. Two months later, 43-year-old One L. Goh shot and killed seven people — six students and an employee — at Oikos University in Oakland, Calif.

The Connecticut shooting now joins the Virginia Tech massacre and the 1999 Columbine High School shooting as among the deadliest events in U.S. history on a college or K-12 campus. It also comes on the heels of a fatal shooting at an Oregon shopping mall earlier this week, four months after six people were murdered at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., five months after a gunman shot and killed 12 people at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, and other major tragedies in the U.S. in recent years.

“We have been through this too many times,” a visibly shaken Mr. Obama said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

While those earlier incidents undoubtedly were terrible, Friday’s shooting has struck a new nerve across the nation. The sheer horror of the death of 20 young elementary school students has left many speechless.

“School shootings are always incomprehensible and horrific tragedies. But words fail to describe today’s heartbreaking and savage attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the father of two children in elementary school, I can barely imagine the anguish and losses suffered today by the Newtown community,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Our hearts and prayers go out to every parent, child, teacher, staff member, and administrator at Sandy Hook and the surrounding community.”

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