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  • 12/17/12--21:21: Gun Control Debate Heats Up
  • In the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre, gun control advocates, religious leaders and gun sellers reignite the decades-old debate on gun control.

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    In the eyes of the nation, Victoria Leigh Soto will be remembered as a selfless young teacher who acted as a hero on Friday, Dec. 14, dying protecting her first students as a gunman  went through Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 elementary school teacher and six adults.

    At Eastern Connecticut State University, she will be remembered as a part of the family and as an alumna whose dream job was to teach children. The school is making sure that the dean’s list student who studied elementary education and history is honored through a scholarship in her name.

    “Our faculty remembers Vicki as a joy to be with, an exemplary student who was committed to nurturing young lives,” Eastern President Elsa Núñez said in a news release. “She died protecting those children. She is being hailed throughout the world as a hero. We will never forget her.”

    In honor of Soto and her heroism, the university has created the Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund to support Eastern students studying to be teachers who have unmet financial need. 

    Donations may be directed to:
    Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund
    ECSU Foundation, Inc.
    Eastern Connecticut State University
    83 Windham Street
    Willimantic, CT  06226
    ATTN: Kenneth J. DeLisa
    Vice President for Institutional Advancement

    To contribute online, donors can visit an ECSU Web site. After filling out the first screen, they will be directed to a second screen to select a designation for their gift.  On the dropdown menu, they should choose “Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund.”


     



    Photo Credit: myschooldesk.net

    Victoria Soto, 27, pictured with her dog, Roxie.Victoria Soto, 27, pictured with her dog, Roxie.

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    A man holds a child while paying respects to shooting victims at a makeshift memorial outside of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. On Friday, a gunman killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 26 people, including 20 children.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    A man holds a child while paying respects to shooting victims at a makeshift memorial outside of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. On Friday, a gunman killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 26 people, including 20 children.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)A man holds a child while paying respects to shooting victims at a makeshift memorial outside of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. On Friday, a gunman killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 26 people, including 20 children.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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    The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday has broken hearts around the globe and the U.S. Postal Service has established a unique Post Office Box for people to send letters of condolence to the community.

    “We understand that there is an outpouring of support for everyone in the Newtown area and we hope to make it easier for those who wish to send encouragement and messages of compassion to those affected,” Kimberly J. Peters, Connecticut Valley District Manager for the U.S. Postal Service, said in a statement.“

    Those who wish to send expressions of comfort should address them to:

    Messages of Condolence for Newtown
    PO Box 3700
    Newtown CT 06470
     
     



    Photo Credit: AP

    A mourner takes a picture of 26 teddy bears, each representing a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, at a sidewalk memorial, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/David Goldman)A mourner takes a picture of 26 teddy bears, each representing a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, at a sidewalk memorial, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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    Dylan Hockley and his family moved to Newtown from England two years ago.  In a statement released Monday, the family said they do not regret coming to the town and are grateful to everyone who has reached out in their time of grief.

    Here is the Hockley family's entire statement:

    We want to give sincere thanks and appreciation to the emergency services and first responders who helped everyone on Friday, December 14.  It was an impossible day for us, but even in our grief we cannot comprehend what other people may have experienced.

    The support of our beautiful community and from family, friends and people around the world has been overwhelming and we are humbled.  We feel the love and comfort that people are sending and this gives our family strength.  We thank everyone for their support, which we will continue to need as we begin this long journey of healing.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have also been affected by this tragedy.  We are forever bound together and hope we can support and find solace with each other. Sandy Hook and Newtown have warmly welcomed us since we moved here two years ago from England.  We specifically chose Sandy Hook for the community and the elementary school.  We do not and shall never regret this choice.  Our boys have flourished here and our family’s happiness has been limitless.

    We cannot speak highly enough of Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, exceptional women who knew both our children and who specifically helped us navigate Dylan’s special education needs.  Dylan’s teacher, Vicki Soto, was warm and funny and Dylan loved her dearly.  We take great comfort in knowing that Dylan was not alone when he died, but was wrapped in the arms of his amazing aide, Anne Marie Murphy.   Dylan loved Mrs. Murphy so much and pointed at her picture on our refrigerator every day.  Though our hearts break for Dylan, they are also filled with love for these and the other beautiful women who all selflessly died trying to save our children. 

    Everyone who met Dylan fell in love with him.  His beaming smile would light up any room and his laugh was the sweetest music.  He loved to cuddle, play tag every morning at the bus stop with our neighbors, bounce on the trampoline, play computer games, watch movies, the color purple, seeing the moon and eating his favorite foods, especially chocolate.  He was learning to read and was so proud when he read us a new book every day.  He adored his big brother Jake, his best friend and role model. 

    There are no words that can express our feeling of loss.  We will always be a family of four, as though Dylan is no longer physically with us, he is forever in our hearts and minds.  We love you Mister D, our special gorgeous angel.
     


    Dylan Hockley, 6, died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday.Dylan Hockley, 6, died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday.

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    Gov. Dannel Malloy is asking the people of Connecticut to observe a moment of silence on Friday, Dec.  21, at 9:30 a.m., one week after the shooting that took the lives of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

    Malloy also wants to honor the victims with 26 bells, once for each of the lives lost at the hands of a gunman, and is asking for churches to ring them.

    Police identified Adam Lanza, 20, of Newtown as the shooter. He was found dead in the school at his own hands, according to state police.

    Malloy said he will be sending letters to governors through the National Governors Association, asking residents to do the same.

     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 16:  Twenty seven wooden stand in a yard down the street from the Sandy Hook School December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people were shot dead, including twenty children, after a gunman identified as Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza also reportedly had committed suicide at the scene. A 28th person, believed to be Nancy Lanza, found dead in a house in town, was also believed to have been shot by Adam Lanza.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 16: Twenty seven wooden stand in a yard down the street from the Sandy Hook School December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people were shot dead, including twenty children, after a gunman identified as Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza also reportedly had committed suicide at the scene. A 28th person, believed to be Nancy Lanza, found dead in a house in town, was also believed to have been shot by Adam Lanza. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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  • 12/17/12--13:35: I-84 Closed In Bethel
  • Interstate 84 is closed in both directions at exit 8 in Bethel because of a jackknifed tractor-trailer.

    No further information is available.



    Photo Credit: Ryan Hanrahan

    Traffic backed up Monday afternoon as a truck crash closed both sides of I-84 in Bethel.Traffic backed up Monday afternoon as a truck crash closed both sides of I-84 in Bethel.

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    Daniel Inouye, a war hero and the second-longest serving senator, died Monday evening of respiratory complications at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, with his wife and son by his side.

    The Hawaii senator's last word was "Aloha," and when asked recently how he wanted to be remembered, according to a statement on his website, he replied: "I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did okay."

    Sen. Harry Reid announced his colleague's passing in remarks Monday evening on the Senate floor.

    "I've never known anyone like Dan Inouye. No one else has," Reid said. "The kindness that he has shown me for my time here is something I will cherish always. A man who has lived and breathed the Senate. If there ever were a patriot, Dan Inouye was that patriot."

    President Barack Obama remembered the senator as "an American hero" who worked to forge bipartisan consensus throughout his political career. Inouye was "not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him," the president said in a statement.

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Serving since 1963, the 88-year-old Hawaii Democrat was the second-longest serving senator (behind the late Sen. Robert Byrd) and President Pro Tempore of the chamber, which made him third in line for succession to the presidency.

    He was a war hero who survived the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, and went on to fight in Italy during World War II where he received a Medal of Honor for directing his platoon successfully through a hail of gunfire and refusing to evacuate even after he suffered a gunshot wound and shattered arm.

    Fellow Medal of Honor recipient and NBC News military analyst Col. Jack Jacobs said he knew Inouye well and recalled him as "a gentleman and a patriot."

    He added that Inouye's WWII unit was "composed almost entirely of Japanese-Americans, most of whom we had put in concentration camps and classified them as enemy aliens," yet it was also "the most highly decorated organization in the Army during WWII."

    Inouye was Hawaii's first-ever Congressman following statehood in 1959 and a vocal advocate of veterans' rights.

    During his decades-long tenure at the Senate, he served as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and was a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Watergate Committee and the committee formed to investigate the Iran Contra Affair.

    His first wife Margaret "Maggie" Awamura preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, his son Daniel Ken Inouye Jr., his daughter-in-law Jessica, his granddaughter Maggie and step-daughter Jennifer Hirano.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, was president pro temper of the Senate, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, was president pro temper of the Senate, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.

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    UConn has created a memorial scholarship fund to help the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School who survived Friday's tragedy.

    The Sandy Hook School Memorial Fund at the University of Connecticut will provide financial aid for any students who currently go to the school, as well as siblings of those killed and dependents of teachers and the other adults who lost their lives protecting those students. The scholarships will be available to those who are accepted to UConn when the time comes for them to apply.

    "It is not easy to conceive of the most heartfelt and respectful way to respond in the wake of such a shattering event," UConn president Susan Herbst said in a statement. "Yet Newtown is in our own state and many of our students and alumni have ties to those who are affected directly."

    Geno Auriemma and his wife made the first donation of $80,000 to start the fund.

    "Over this past difficult weekend, Kathy and I gave much consideration to what we as a family could do that would have some significance for the future," Auriemma said. " Because UConn is so important to us, we decided to establish a scholarship and encourage other UConn alumni and fans around the world to invest in the future of the Sandy Hook survivors."

    All of the money donated will be spent directly on the scholarships for the children. Any funds that remain once the needs of the group have been met, they will be used to benefit any future students from Newtown who attend UConn, according to the university.

    Funds will be immediately available for siblings and dependents of those who died, to provide them with scholarship assistance as needed, according to UConn.

    For more information on how to donate, visit the University of Connecticut website or the UConn Foundation website.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 16:  Twenty seven wooden stand in a yard down the street from the Sandy Hook School December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people were shot dead, including twenty children, after a gunman identified as Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza also reportedly had committed suicide at the scene. A 28th person, believed to be Nancy Lanza, found dead in a house in town, was also believed to have been shot by Adam Lanza.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 16: Twenty seven wooden stand in a yard down the street from the Sandy Hook School December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people were shot dead, including twenty children, after a gunman identified as Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza also reportedly had committed suicide at the scene. A 28th person, believed to be Nancy Lanza, found dead in a house in town, was also believed to have been shot by Adam Lanza. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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    Days after Friday's tragic shooting in Newtown, we continue to learn stories of survival and hope.

    Gene Rosen lives a few doors up from Sandy Hook Elementary School. On Friday morning, he had no idea what was happening at the school, when he saw three shaken up kids at the end of his driveway. 

    It was 9:30 a.m., and the children, he discovered, had just run from the school to escape a gunman.

    "I approached the kids and I saw something had happened. They were crying. They were all crying, these kids," said Rosen. 

    That's when he heard the unthinkable.

    "We can't go back to school," one little boy told Rosen. "Our teacher is dead. Mrs. Soto; we don't have a teacher."

    Victoria Soto, 27, was a first-grade teacher killed when 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into her classroom.

    "They start talking about blood, and then they start talking about the two guns," said Rosen.

    Rosen took the four girls and two boys into his home, and over the next few hours gave them toys and fed them snacks.

    Rosen said he had heard the staccato sound of gunfire about 15 minutes earlier but had dismissed it as an obnoxious hunter in the nearby woods.

    Rosen said he called the kids' parents, who quickly picked them up. Moments later, he got an emotional visit from a mother looking for her son.
     
    "She said, 'Is my boy here?' Then said the boy's name...he was a casualty."
     
    Still reeling, Rosen hopes we can all learn from the children who lived through the events of last Friday.
     
    "I want these childrens' goodness, their absolute goodness, to point us in the right direction."
     
    Gene Rosen, a 69 year-old retired psychologist, credits his grandkids-- not his profession, for helping him deal with the situation and keep the kids calm.
     


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  • 12/17/12--20:05: Jack Pinto, 6, Remembered
  • The crowd for 6-year-old Jack Pinto's funeral was so large, the building couldn't fit everyone who wanted to pay their respects to the little boy who loved football and the Giants' Victor Cruz. Brian Thompson reports.

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  • 12/17/12--22:57: Noah Pozner, 6, Laid to Rest
  • Noah Pozner, the youngest of the victims in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, was laid to rest Monday afternoon. He was remembered as kind, caring, smart, funny and sometimes even a little mischievous. Tracie Strahan reports.

    Photo Credit: AP/Family Photo

    This Nov. 13, 2012 photo provided by the family via The Washington Post shows Noah Pozner. The six-year-old was one of the victims in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Family Photo)This Nov. 13, 2012 photo provided by the family via The Washington Post shows Noah Pozner. The six-year-old was one of the victims in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Family Photo)

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    A grassroots group of Newtown residents met Monday evening to talk about ways to move forward after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

    Newtown United was formed on Sunday. These folks are determined not to sit in silence.

    "People want to take action together," Ben Roberts, said. "They want to know what the next steps are. Find some way to make meaning out of this senseless and awful tragedy."

    About fifty people openly discussed things like gun control laws and mental health issues.

    One man spoke up and said the town should ban all assault weapons.

    A parent said people in town should come up with ways to permanently memorialize the victims.

    "I think a memorial garden would be a wonderful way to bring something to the community," Barbara Toomey, said.

    The meeting was an open forum where anyone could share their thoughts. Organizers are hoping the word will spread around town.

    This small Connecticut community doesn't want to be known for this tragedy, but they don't want people to forget what happened here.

    "Especially with the whole world watching, we're not going to sit on our hands," Roberts, said.

    Newtown United started a Facebook page on Sunday to help spread the word.
     


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    For little kids who are into sports, one of the most frustrating things in the world is that your parents force you to go to sleep before Monday Night Football. 

    You'd just lay in bed, mind racing with all of the possibilities of what you're missing, and desperately hope that you'd get older just a little bit sooner so you could stay up and watch the game. Then you finally get the green light to stay up for your first taste of football under the lights. 

    We feel sorry for the kids who got that first taste this Monday night and urge them to remember that it won't always be like this. There will be days when teams far better than the Jets and Titans take the field, and their games will be filled with great performances by talented players that linger pleasantly in the memory. 

    The memory of the Titans' 14-10 victory will linger, but there won't be anything pleasant about it. It will be more like the smell that lingers for a few days after you're forced to empty out your refrigerator following a blackout. 

    Both teams were horrendous offensively with only Chris Johnson's 94-yard touchdown run qualifying as a play that you might actually see run by a competent offensive team. The Titans made some mind-boggling play calls and Jake Locker played like he was terrified of the Jets pass rush, yet it was still better than what the Jets put together. 

    Mark Sanchez turned in another vintage performance with four interceptions borne of abysmal decisions that no player in his fourth year should be making. He wasn't helped by an offensive game plan that seemed designed to fail or by a receiving corps that featured Braylon Edwards at the top of the depth chart days after signing with the team, but you'd have to be grading on the most generous curve known to man to say Sanchez wasn't terrible. 

    The last pick came on the first play after the two minute warning and it was as awful as anything you could ever see, a late throw down the middle into triple coverage that Titans safety Michael Griffin picked off near his own goal line. The pick came just after the Titans were flagged for roughing Sanchez on a third down incompletion, their 14th penalty of the night and a ray of hope for the Jets that Sanchez trampled. 

    He wasn't done. The Jets defense held and Titans punter Brett Kern added to the overall horror that was this game by punting the ball about 20 yards from his own end zone to give the Jets one more shot at the win. 

    It was gone as quickly as it arrived, though. Sanchez couldn't handle a low snap in the shotgun, the ball kicked away and the Titans fell on it to win a game that everyone watching lost. 

    Sanchez was never benched, although the Jets did pick the 14th game of the season to finally give Tim Tebow a full series as the team's quarterback. It featured a delay of game penalty because, naturally, 14 weeks isn't enough to learn how to call a play and it came after two of the only good passes Sanchez threw all night, bit it wasn't enough to get the Jets to actually go with him as the quarterback.

    Why they wouldn't just see if Tebow could possibly not throw the ball to the opposition over and over again remains as great a mystery as the whereabouts of Amelia Earhart, but that's the 2012 Jets for you. Baffling, frustrating, infuriating and, now, elimated. 

    The playoffs will go on without the Jets as a result of the loss and the playoffs will be all the better for it. The Jets can now start the process of figuring out what to make of this mess so that the team has a halfway decent shot at a winning record next year. 

    Getting a quarterback who isn't Mark Sanchez would help matters. 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Another one for the Sanchez dishonor rollAnother one for the Sanchez dishonor roll

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    Arrest warrants were issued Monday for 22 people wanted in connection to the death of a Northern Illinois University freshman that authorities say was alcohol and hazing-related.

    David Bogenberger was found dead the morning of Nov. 2 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house near the DeKalb campus. Toxicology tests showed his blood-alcohol concentration was about five times the legal limit for driving.

    The cause of death has been attributed to cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication as a significant condition contributing to death, officials said.

    Officials said arrest warrants were issued for five Pi Kappa Alpha leaders: fraternity president Alexander M. Jandik, 21, and event planner Steven A. Libert, 20, of Naperville, as well as fraternity vice president James P. Harvey, 21; fraternity pledge advisor Omar Salameh, 21; and fraternity secretary Patrick W. Merrill, 19, all of DeKalb;

    The five men been charged with Class 4 felony Hazing.

    Additionally, arrest warrants were issued for 17 fraternity members: Michael J. Phillip, Jr., 20, of Western Springs, IL; Thomas F. Costello, 20, of Munster; David R. Sailor, 20, of Princeton, IL; Alexander D. Renn, 19, of Naperville, Michael A. Marroquin, 20, of Roselle; Estevan A. Diaz, 22, of South Beloit, IL; Michael D. Pfest, 23, of Chicago; Andres Jiminez, Jr., 19, of Glendale Heights; Isaiah Lott, 19, of Cupertino, Calif.; Andrew W. Bouleanu, 21, of Skokie; Nsenzi Salasini, 20, of Mt. Prospect; as well as Hazel A. Vergaralope, 21; Nicholas A. Sutor, 19; Nelson A. Irizarry, 19; Johnny P. Wallace, 20; Daniel S. Post, 20; and Russ Coyner, 21, all of DeKalb.

    The fraternity members have been charged with providing alcohol to underage pledges and "creating a situation where the pledges felt compelled to consume alcohol as part of membership initiation and the Greek parenting process," officials from the DeKalb Police Department and the DeKalb County Coroner's Office said in a written statement.

    Bogenberger's family, including his parents, Gary and Ruth Bogenberger, also issued a statement in which they said universities must do more to "stop the hazing and initiation rituals."

    Their statement continues:

    "No other family should endure what we are going through.  Yet, we are losing these talented, beautiful and hopeful young people because of illegal drinking unrestrained by maturity and exacerbated by social pressure.

    "We are trying to understand the reality of our David’s death.  It is almost impossible for us to accept that David is gone at the age of 19; that our future does not include his excitement at learning and growing; becoming a man; marrying and having children; that these events will never happen.

    "We appreciate the many condolences and kindnesses that have reached us.  We acknowledge and appreciate the diligence of the law enforcement professionals of DeKalb County who have investigated the circumstances of David’s death and who, with the steps taken today, seek accountability for a horrible event.

    "But we also must acknowledge the concern we feel for the families of those charged today.  The events of Nov. 1 and 2 unalterably changed the course of too many lives.  And for what?
    “We have no desire for revenge.  Rather, we hope that some significant change will come from David’s death.  Alcohol poisoning claims far too many young, healthy lives.  We must realize that young people can and do die in hazing rituals.  Alcohol-involved hazing and initiation must end." 

    The fraternity has temporarily been removed as a recognized student organization. Additional sanctions could be taken against Pi Kappa Alpha and nearly three dozen of its members, campus officials said Monday.


    Freshman David Bogen David Bogenberger was found dead the morning of Nov. 2 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house near the Northern Illinois University DeKalb campus.Freshman David Bogen David Bogenberger was found dead the morning of Nov. 2 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house near the Northern Illinois University DeKalb campus.

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    As the first two of 26 victims fatally shot in the Newtown school shootings were laid to rest Monday, a long-dormant debate about gun control gained momentum and picked up a few unlikely backers in Washington.

    “Seeing the massacre of so many innocent children has changed everything,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, an avid hunter and NRA member, said on MSNBC Monday. “Everything has to be on the table.”

    Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley proposed a debate on guns, The Associated Press reported, while Rep. John Yarmouth, a Kentucky Democrat who long avoided the topic apologized for his silence.

    “I am now as sorry for [my silence ] as I am for what happened to the families who lost so much in this most recent, but sadly not isolated, tragedy,” Yormouth wrote in a statement.

    His comments came as the families of two 6-year-old boys—Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto—remembered their sons' passions and quirks and the impressions they made in their tragically short lives.

    Remembering the Sandy Hook Victims: Profiles of the Fallen

    Noah, the youngest victim of the attack, shot 11 times, was recalled as a mischievous boy who loved Mario Brothers and teasing his sisters, including his twin Arielle who was spared in the carnage.

    At his funeral, his uncle Alexis Haller told mourners it was "unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back," and that "we would go to the ends of the Earth to do so, but none of us can."

    Jack's family recalled their son's fondness for school, reading, wrestling, football and keeping "up with his big brother."

    "While we are all uncertain as to how we wil ever cope without him, we choose to remember and celebrate his life," his family said in a statement. "Not dwelling on the loss but instead on the gift that we were given and will forever cherish in our hearts."

    As funerals continue in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary Friday, calls to rexamine a federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 under President George W. Bush have been echoed at every level of government.

    A day after President Barack Obama's Sunday trip to Newtown, where he vowed to use “whatever power this office holds” to protect the country’s children against gun violence, he met with Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and others to discuss a response to the fourth mass shooting in his four years as president, The Associated Press reported.

    Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the author of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, is preparing to introduce new legislation to stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of assault weapons, and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Police have said that 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza ambushed the elementary school with a Bushmaster AR 15 rifle—a high-powered weapon similar to the military’s M-16. Each of the 26 victims slaughtered in the attack suffered at least two bullet wounds, the state’s medical examiner said, and police have said that hundreds of unused bullets were recovered at the scene.

    "There was a lot of ammo, a lot of clips," Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said Sunday, adding that the bloodshed could have been even worse.

    Besides the Bushmaster, Lanza was also carrying two handguns—all of which were legally purchased by Lanza's mother, a firearms enthusiast.

    The sheer quantity of firepower found at the scene has raised questions about the need for private citizens to own the sorts of weapons and quantity of ammunition typically associated with the battlefield.

    “If people want to go hunting, a single-shot rifle does the job, and that does the job to protect your home too,” Ray DiStephan told The Associated Press outside the Pozner's funeral Monday. “If you need more than that, I don’t know what to say."

    Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy—who cried during a press conference Monday when recounting the pain of having to break the news to parents that their children were among the dead—said that the weapons Lanza used in the attack “are not used to hunt deer.”
     
    He urged debate on the issue and said he’d “love to hear the people argue that we need 30-round magazines and that that’s somehow tied to the right to bear arms.”

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime advocate of stricter gun laws, unveiled Monday a new campaign urging Congress to immediately pass legislation requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, a ban on assault weapons and new laws that would make gun trafficking a felony.

    Flanked by suvivors of gun violence and family members of those who weren't as lucky, Bloomberg called Congress’ inaction on the issue a “stain on our nation’s commitment to protect our children.”

    While the National Rifle Association has been silent since the shooting Friday, dismantling its Facebook page and refusing interviews, some gun supporters have argued, in the wake of the massacre, in favor of the weapons.

    “Every mass killing of more than three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said on Fox News Sunday. “… They choose this place. They know no one will be armed.”

    On the topic of assault weapons, he added that they “ensure against the tyranny of the government.”

    As the debate continues on the national stage, the town of Newtown is taking its first steps to return to its shattered routines. Tuesday, Newtown schools—with the exception of Sandy Hook Elementary School—will reopen. Gov. Malloy signed an executive order to expedite the relocation of the district’s elementary school to an unused building in the neighboring town of Monroe, though it is unclear when those who attended Sandy Hook will begin classes again.

    Meanwhile, investigators are still interviewing witnesses and working to uncover information from Lanza's hard drive, which he removed from his computer and badly damaged before launching his attack.

    Lanza was interested in target shooting and had sometimes accompanies his mother to local shooting ranges to practice, federal agents said Monday, NBC News reported.

    Though police say they have found "very good evidence," they have not yet shared a motive or explained why the 20-year-old would carry out such a brutal attack.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wipes away a tear as he recalls how and why he decided to tell the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that their loved ones were dead. He is among a growing group of politicians pushing for tighter gun control laws.Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wipes away a tear as he recalls how and why he decided to tell the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that their loved ones were dead. He is among a growing group of politicians pushing for tighter gun control laws.

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    Investigators continue to investigate the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday and said they have recovered significant evidence from the home of the shooter, Adam Lanza, as well as the school.

    Investigators said they have learned that Lanza fired hundreds of rounds from a semi-automatic rifle registered in the name of his mother, Nancy Lanza.

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and state police are looking into whether Lanza had any semi-automatic rifle training.

    Police have said this will be an extensive investigation.

    “Every single facet of the weapons will be analyzed,” Lt. Paul Vance said. “Every single round of ammunition will be looked at and examined for any kind of physical evidence.”

     



    Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com

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    Depressed over the death of his grandmother and upset over being kicked out of his family's home  in southern California, Marcos Gurrola allegedly shot off 50 rounds from his pistol in the parking lot of a crowded Newport Beach mall on Saturday, police told NBC4.

    Gurrola said he didn’t intend to shoot anyone and that he fires guns to relieve stress, police said Monday. When he stopped firing, he put the safety back on the gun, police said.

    A man answering the door of the home in Garden Grove refused to shed any light on the alleged gunman’s actions.

    There were no injuries but there was panic as people ran from the bullets at the crowded mall on Saturday afternoon.

    Gurrola was arrested next to his car, a white Honda Civic. He even warned police about a wire protruding from the car so they wouldn’t receive a shock, said Lt. Mike Peters of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

    “All I understand is he was stating there was ammunition in the car,” Peters said. “There were areas in the car that he was mentioning that were reasons to be careful in entering the car.”

    The sheriff’s department bomb squad took X-rays of the car and found more ammunition but no tripwires or explosives, officials said.

    Shoppers at the upscale outdoor mall, Fashion Island, were questioning why anyone would take a chance with a gun and the emotions of a fragile community a day after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

    Pretty much the craziest thing I’ve ever heard how anybody could do that to scare people with everything going on in the world,” said shopper David Lenz. “Who needs guys like that?”
     


    Police allege Marcos S. Gurrola fired 50 bullets into the ground and air at a crowded Fashion Island Mall on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012.Police allege Marcos S. Gurrola fired 50 bullets into the ground and air at a crowded Fashion Island Mall on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012.

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    Western Connecticut State University has set up a scholarship in honor of one of the young victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, age 6-and-1/2, was the daughter of WCSU music professor Jimmy Greene and the school has set up the Ana Grace Marquez-Greene Music Scholarship Fund.

    “Ana's love for singing was evident before she was even able to talk. In a musical family, her gift for melody, pitch and rhythm stood out remarkably. And she never walked anywhere - her mode of transportation was dance. She danced from room to room and place to place. She danced to all the music she heard, whether in air or in her head. Ana loved her God, loved to read the Bible and loved to sing and dance as acts of worship. We ask that you pray for the legions of people who are left behind to cherish memories of her. We also ask that you, like Ana, commit selfless acts of kindness to all those around you. Maybe, in some way, through love, similar senseless acts of violence could be prevented," the family said in a statement.

    You can make a contribution online here.


     


    Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, age 6-and-1/2, was the daughter of WCSU music professor Jimmy Greene and the school has set up the Ana Grace Marquez-Greene Music Scholarship Fund.Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, age 6-and-1/2, was the daughter of WCSU music professor Jimmy Greene and the school has set up the Ana Grace Marquez-Greene Music Scholarship Fund.

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    Texas Gov. Rick Perry expressed interest in running for president again in 2016 and also spoke out against gun control in a speech to Tea Party members in a Ft. Worth suburb on Monday night.

    Speaking before the Northeast Tarrant County Tea Party, Perry defended his unsuccessful race for president earlier this year, saying it was a good experience.

    "It was an extraordinary experience — I mean, one that I wouldn't trade," he said. "And looking back on it ... I would do it again."

    In his opening remarks, Perry commented on Friday's school shooting in Connecticut but avoided directly mentioning gun control.

    "We have to do everything we can to make sure that those types of evils are restricted the best that it can be," he said.

    Asked later by an audience member about gun control, Perry said he hoped the federal government doesn't have a "knee-jerk reaction."

    He also said that people in Texas with concealed-carry permits should be able to carry weapons anywhere on public property.

    "You should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state," he said, adding that private property owners should be allowed to set their own rules.

    Later, as he left, a reporter asked him if he favored allowing people with a permit to carry guns into schools, he said he favors "local control," meaning each school district should be able to decide on its own rules.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5

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