NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The chiming of bells reverberated throughout Newtown Friday, commemorating one week since the crackle of gunfire in a schoolhouse killed 20 children and six adults in a massacre that has shaken the community -- and the nation -- to its core.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gathered with other officials in rain and wind on the steps of the Edmond Town Hall as the bell rang 26 times in memory of each life lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed his mother before the massacre, and himself afterward.
Similar memorials took place throughout the nation.
Though the massacre does not rank as the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history -- that happened at Virginia Tech -- the age of many of the victims and the absence of any apparent motive has grabbed Americans' hearts and minds.
The White House said President Barack Obama privately observed the moment of silence.
Traffic stopped in the streets outside the town hall in Newtown as bells rang out to honor the dead.
Malloy, taking deep breaths with his hands folded in front of him, was joined by the Newtown superintendent of schools, lawmakers and other officials as bells rang out at the nearby Trinity Episcopal Church.
"When I heard the 26 bells ring it just melted my soul," said Kerrie Glassman, of Sandy Hook.
Also yesterday, new details emerged about Adam Lanza, who acquaintances said was able to take apart and reassemble a computer in minutes but rarely spoke to anyone. In high school, Lanza used to slither through the hallways, awkwardly pressing himself against the wall while wearing the same green shirt and khaki pants every day. He hardly ever talked to classmates and once gave a presentation entirely by computer, never uttering a word.