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Newtown marks anniversary of school killings

Posted at 8:37 AM, Dec 14, 2013

(CNN) — The people of Newtown, Connecticut, on Saturday are remembering a tragedy that convulsed the nation one year ago.

A socially awkward young man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a rifle on December 14, 2012. Adam Lanza gunned down 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults at the school. Then he killed himself.

The people in this community of 28,000 in the southwest part of the state hope to grieve in private. Town leaders have asked the news media to stay away.

“There’s an emotional and economic toll that we pay when the media descends on us, so we ask for your forbearance after today and respectfully request that you allow us a time of peace and quiet,” said Pat Llodra, the town’s first selectman, a role similar to that of mayor.

Many news organizations said they’ll honor that request by not reporting in the city of Newtown itself, but that was before Friday’s shooting at Arapahoe High in Colorado. The news value of Newtown has gone up. CNN will air a documentary about Newtown at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Nobody knows why Lanza, 20, killed the children and adults at the school, his mother at the home they shared, and himself. He had attended the school briefly, but that was years ago.

Last month, Connecticut’s state attorney’s office released its official report that tried to piece together what happened. The investigation provided some insights into the life and actions of the gunman, but his motive remains a mystery.

The report suggested that improving the delivery of mental health care to those with chronic mental illness may be an important element in reducing certain acts of violence, and that mass shooters are not “enthralled” with violent video games.

The unanswered questions deepen the tragedy of Newtown, the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, following the April 2007 slaying of 32 people at Virginia Tech.

The shootings also caused a renewal of the debate over gun control.

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