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12/16/2012 - 300 Attend Vigil at Bridgeport City Hall; Residents stand in solidarity with the town of Newtown
BRIDGEPORT, CT (December 16, 2012) – City residents stood in solidarity and grieved with Newtown Sunday at a vigil in City Hall.

“There is no way to make sense of this, but that we need one another,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “Today, we are leaning on each other. We are praying for these children. We know these children are in heaven.”

More than 300 came out to remember and mourn the lives lost, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty-eight people, including the shooter, died Friday at the school; it was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

In front of a silent room, Bishop Ricardo Griffith read the names of the deceased and a single candle was lit in their memory. Michael Cummings led the group in hymns. The Rev. Charles Stallworth, Rabbi Daniel Victor and the Rev. Reginald Norman offered prayers for the deceased and their families. Richard Dietz, a member of the executive board of AFSCME Local 1522 led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mayor Finch said parents should expect to see additional police presence at city schools this week to ensure safety, and to reassure children that they are safe. “We’re not going to overreact. But we’re not going to under react either,” he said. In his remarks, Mayor Finch also called upon Congress and the President to work toward stricter gun laws, by closing gun show loopholes and re-upping the ban on assault weapons like the one used in Friday’s shooting.

Superintendent of Schools Paul G. Vallas recalled, during his career, attending funerals for numerous students, but never in such an unimaginable number, he said, and at such an innocent age.

City Council President Thomas C. McCarthy, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues on the City Council, said that while evil exists, as it manifested itself in Newtown, he urged everyone to remember the good and especially the young children whose lives were cut short so soon.