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“I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you, and I want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well,” he said.

As the families dealt with their losses, a few folks still went about their Sunday morning routine, stopping for coffee at a local store and otherwise seeking an escape from the thought of Friday’s heinous acts and also from the hordes of media now camped out all over town.

On Church Hill Road, one of Newtown’s main junctions and the route from St. Rose to Sandy Hook, retired police Officer Richard Oladovich came to direct traffic on Sunday morning, as he has for years.

The 69-year-old, born and raised in the area, struggled to find the words to describe his own feelings, and those of the families he has shared a community with for decades. He came to work as scheduled, using the job as a kind of escape.

“Everything is quiet here,” he said, taking a break from leading cars into the St. Rose parking. His cold breath was visible as he spoke, and Sunday morning’s stinging rain pelted his uniform. He recalled his years with the nearby Bethel Police Department, another small town eight miles from Newtown.

He expressed sympathy for the victims and their families, and for his comrades in the law enforcement and first-responder community who were greeted at Sandy Hook by a grisly scene difficult to put into words.

“If I was still on duty, I wouldn’t believe that scene. It’s so out of the realm [of normalcy] for this area,” he said.

The people of Newtown have embarked on the long, difficult road to recovery. Friday’s tragedy was the last thing they expected, and even now, shock remains the dominant emotion.

“It’s not something the people here were mentally prepared for,” said Ricky Andrews, a 24-year-old accountant and lifelong Newtown resident.