7's Top 7 - National Story
WSVN -- As we say goodbye to 2012, families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook tragedy hope the new year will bring peace. Tonight, a look back on that fateful day in our final edition of 7's Top 7.
The morning of Friday Dec. 14 changed this country forever. The Sandy Hook school shooting will endure as one of this nation's most horrific tragedies. A tragedy powerful enough to change the course of history.
The methodical massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut only took 10 minutes.
Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, two handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition when he shot his way into the school. He opened fire in two classrooms.
When police arrived, they discovered one of the most grisly crime scenes imaginable.
Twenty children, twelve girls, eight boys along with four teachers, including the school principal and the school psychologist all died. They were all shot multiple times.
The shooter's body was found just feet away from his victims. He died from a self inflicted gunshot wound.
News of the shooting spread fast. A nation watched in horror as families learned the fate of their loved ones. The absolute grief, unmistakable.
Also watching, was President Obama. He addressed the nation a few hours after the shooting, not as Commander in Chief, but as an emotional father.
The response to the tragedy was swift. A community hung signs of support. Neighbors offered a shoulder to cry on.
The town christmas tree was transformed from a symbol of the season to a memorial. Gifts were replaced by candles, burning to honor the dead.
Families remembering lost loved ones.
In the days that followed, we began to learn of the heroes.
School principal Dawn Hochsprung charged the gunman. The selfless act cost her her life, but likely saved dozens more. Her husband was overcome with emotion. "She could have avoided that," said George Hochsprung, "but she didn't. I know she wouldn't, so I'm not angry anymore. I'm not angry. I'm not angry. I'm just very sad."
The president once again offered comfort. This time face to face with the families. Families that would soon be burying their dead. "Since I've been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings," said President Obama. "Fourth time we've hugged survivors. The fourth time we've consoled the families of victims. These tragedies must end and to end them we must change."
And change appears to be within reach. Lawmakers in both parties have now called for stricter gun laws.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has promised to introduce a bill banning assault rifles
Lanza's mother Nancy owned the gun legally, kept it in her home even teaching her son to shoot but he would later use that gun against her killing her in her bed before beginning his rampage.
And while the political debate raged on and the search for answers continued. A country in mourning remembered the victims.
The 26 names were honored with song and silence.
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