Quiet sobs in Milford church as residents mourn Newtown victims

Except for stifled sobs, it was very quiet at St. Peter’s Church in downtown Milford as 28 candles flickered in memory of 28 people who lost their lives in a tragic shooting in Newtown Friday.

With a nation mourning about a deadly shooting that took the lives of 20 children, the local church opened its doors Saturday evening for a special prayer service. About 40 people attended.

The 28 candles on the altar were lit for the 20 children, six adult staff members from the Sandy Hook Elementary School who were shot in the school, plus the shooter and his mother, who was also killed.

The Rev. Cynthia Knapp softly read the names of the deceased

Earlier, State police had released the names of those killed in the Newtown school shooting. The state medical examiner H. Wayne Carver II said in a press conference it was the worst he or his colleagues had seen in 30 years on the job.

The majority of the victims appear to be 6 years old, with some 7, and the rest adults. Carver said he expected to perform the final two autopsies on the shooter and another body found at a another crime scene on Sunday morning. Carver said all of the causes of death in his completed autopsies were gunshot wounds, and all deaths are classified as homicides.

The list released by state police and read aloud at the Milford church is as follows:

Charlotte Bacon 02/22/06

Daniel Barden 09/25/05

Rachel DaVino 07/17/83

Olivia Engel 07/18/06

Josephine Gay 12/11/05

Ana M. Marquez-Greene 04/04/06

Dylan Hockley 03/08/06

Dawn Hochsprung 06/28/65

Madeleine F. Hsu 07/10/06

Catherine V. Hubbard 06/08/06

Chase Kowalski 10/31/05

Jesse Lewis 06/30/06

James Mattioli 03/22/06

Grace McDonnell 11/04/05

Anne Marie Murphy 07/25/60

Emilie Parker 05/12/06

Jack Pinto 05/06/06

Noah Pozner 11/20/06

Caroline Previdi 09/07/06

Jessica Rekos 05/10/06

Avielle Richman 10/17/06

Lauren Russeau 06/82

Mary Sherlach 02/11/56

Victoria Soto 01/04/85

Benjamin Wheeler 09/12/06

Allison N. Wyatt 07/03/06

The names of the shooter and his mother completed the list that Rev. Knapp said aloud Saturday evening as some vigil-goers cried softly.

She asked people to pray for the children and their families, and for the adults killed and their families.

“We call what happened senseless violence,” Knapp said. “It makes no sense that someone would go into a school and kill innocent children.”

There is deep sadness, but no understanding, she said.

She also told people to pray for the shooter and his family, so that in a world of darkness and light, darkness doesn’t triumph.

She urged people to focus their thoughts on prayer, not hatred or bitterness or anger. “We have to let that go so we aren’t walking in the darkness,” she said.