Newtown weathered a fourth day of funerals Thursday, six days after a 20-year-old gunman killed his mother at home, 20 children and six adults at the school and himself.
Mourners embrace outside of Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Conn., on Thursday while standing next to a portrait of Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, one of the students killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last week. Firefighter Peter Barresi was driving through Newtown on Friday when police cars with lights flashing and sirens blaring raced toward his oldest son’s elementary school. Newtown and environs weathered a fourth day of funerals Thursday, six days after a 20-year-old gunman killed his mother at home, 20 children and six adults at the school and himself for reasons still unknown. In downtown Danbury, mourners filed into the ornate white-pillared First Congregational Church for a memorial service for 30-year-old teacher Lauren Rousseau.
While family, friends and even strangers weep, members of the emergency forces that responded to the shooting, many of them volunteers, are wrestling with frustration, guilt and anguish as they receive counseling from a state intervention team to help them deal with the horrors they saw and heard. Firefighter Marc Gold, who rushed to offer help even though his company was not called, said he is haunted by the trauma of the parents and the faces of the police who emerged from the building.


Joel Faxon, a member of the Newtown Police Commission, said the trauma experienced by the officers should be treated no differently from physical injuries. One aspect of the tragedy that may help these first responders recover is the outpouring of support from around the world, according to Charles Figley, director of the Traumatology Institute at Tulane University.
The fact that responders were able to be of assistance in the tragedy will help ease their burdens, Figley said, but the involvement of so many young victims sets Newtown apart from other shootings. Barresi said the counseling has been helpful to him because it is led by other first responders who have been through similar experiences.
With Newtown enduring a relentless string of children’s funerals and nonstop media attention, Gold said it has been difficult to find the space to process everything, and he appreciated the support he found in the group counseling.
The men and women who first arrived at Sandy Hook Elementary School tells TODAY's Erica Hill that "this is something that is going to take us a long time to work through."NEWTOWN, Conn.
After he was sent to Sandy Hook school himself, he saw things that will stay with him forever.


Attorney General Eric Holder was one of the people to visit Newtown on Thursday, stopping by a firehouse. The Connecticut police union, AFSCME Council 15, said it has been offering counseling assistance to members across the state, and neighboring towns that sent officers have provided mandatory counseling for their Newtown responders.
But as other ambulances from neighboring communities rolled up, sirens blaring, the first responders slowly realized that their training would be tragically underutilized on this horrible day.Only a few of the wounded were brought out for stabilizing treatment and then whisked off to the hospital. But some responders struggle with not having been able to do more, questions over what could have been done differently and a feeling that they do not deserve praise. Everyone else among the 20 children and six adults who were shot had been killed by what turned out to be a single gunman – now identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who committed suicide at the end of the rampage.




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