orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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December 19, 2012

Shattered Newtown tries to make sense of tragedy

(Continued)

NEWTOWN, Conn. — "She had the perfect job. She loved her job," said Vicky Ruiz, a friend of Soto's since first grade. Every year, she said, Soto described her students the same way. "They were always good kids. They were always angels," even if, like typical first-graders, they might not always listen, Ruiz said.

Students Charlotte Bacon and Caroline Previdi were to be laid to rest later Wednesday, and calling hours were being held for popular 47-year-old principal Dawn Hochsprung. She and school psychologist Mary Sherlach rushed toward Lanza in an attempt to stop him and paid with their lives.

The massacre continued to reverberate around America as citizens and lawmakers debated whether Newtown might be a turning point in the often-polarizing national discussion over gun control.

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced Tuesday it plans to sell its stake in Freedom Group, maker of the Bushmaster rifle, following the school shootings. In Pittsburgh, Dick's Sporting Goods said it is suspending sales of modern rifles nationwide because of the shooting. The company also said it's removing all guns from display at its store closest to Newtown.

Lawmakers who have joined the call to consider gun control as part of a comprehensive, anti-violence effort next year included 10-term House Republican Jack Kingston, a Georgia lawmaker elected with strong National Rifle Association backing.

President Barack Obama was "actively supportive" of a plan by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to introduce legislation to reinstate an assault weapons ban, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. While Obama has long supported a ban, he did little to get it passed during his first term.

The National Rifle Association, silent since the shootings, said in a statement that it was "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again." It gave no indication what that might entail.

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