Governor Dannel P. Malloy has revealed how he was reduced to tears as he told Newtown parents their children had died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
The former Stamford mayor turned to emotional rubble as he delivered the news no parent wants to hear last Friday.
Irish-American Malloy and senior adviser Roy Occhiogrosso were addressing parents at the firehouse close to the school when they realised some were still clinging to the hope their children would return safe.
By that time, five hours after Adam Lanza opened fire, 20 first-graders and six adults at the school were dead.
Malloy recalled “It was evident to me that there was a reluctance to tell parents and loved ones that the person that they were waiting for was not going to return and that had gone on for a period of time.
“I made the decision that to have that uncertainty go on any longer was wrong.”
Malloy explained to the Hartford Courant: “Their suspense had gone on for a period of time well after there was any expectancy that families would be reunited.
“So I made a decision that rather than relying on traditional investigative policies - that you actually have a child or an adult identified as the particular victim before you inform someone, or at least give them the information by which they could formulate for themselves that their loved one was not going to return - I made the decision that to have that go on any longer … was wrong.”
Adviser Occhiogrosso admitted the Governor was an emotional wreck as he addressed the parents.
Occhiogrosso said: “I’ve never seen him have to tell people that their children were dead.
“Think about what he had to do. It’s not nearly as bad as being the parent who had to hear it, but it’s not an easy thing to do.
“As time went on, it was clear at least a few of them thought that there was some chance that their child might be alive, perhaps being treated at hospital en route or at the hospital.
“There was clearly some sense of confusion as to whether that was true. That went on for a little while.
“By about 3 p.m. it became clear that no surviving children were being treated. The people clearly wanted information and one gentleman finally said, ‘Will you please just tell us what’s going on?’
“It was at that point that the governor made clear that if their child wasn’t with them they wouldn’t be coming home. There was a range of reaction. Some people collapsed on the floor. Some people screamed. It was a horrific scene.”
Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman each attended a funeral of a young shooting victim on Monday, the governor at Noah Pozner’s funeral in Fairfield and Wyman at Jack Pinto’s in Newtown.
Governor Malloy will attend as many funerals as he can.
He continued: “Today for instance, there were two funerals at the same time so I don’t think I’m going to all of them.
“But I think one of us will do our utmost to attend any funeral that we’re welcome at.
“There are really no words to describe what it’s like to see these parents as I did on Friday, last night going from room to room in the company of President Barack Obama and then again with respect to Noah’s parents today.
“It’s tough to see relatives and friends of these little children who died, and as well as to see some of the teachers who have been so adversely impacted.
“The reality with respect to the relatives is you try to feel their pain, but you can’t. You try to find some words that you hope will be adequate, knowing that they’ll be inadequate.
“And you see little coffins and your heart has to ache.’’