Newtown Says Goodbye To Victims Jessica Rekos, James Mattioli
NEWTOWN Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Family and friends said goodbye Tuesday to two more victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
At St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, back-to-back funerals were held for first-graders James Mattioli and Jessica Rekos, the first of eight to be held in the coming days at the church.
1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports
As mourners gathered outside Tuesday morning, a motorcade led by police motorcycles arrived for the funeral of little James.
James especially loved recess and math and his family described him as a “numbers guy” who came up with insights beyond his years to explain the relationship between numbers. He particularly loved the concept of googolplex, which a friend taught him.
He was born four weeks before his due date and his family often joked that he came into the world early because he was hungry.
They wrote in his obituary that 6-year-old James, fondly called ‘J,’ loved hamburgers with ketchup, his Dad’s omelets with bacon, and his Mom’s French toast. He often asked to stop at Subway and wanted to know how old he needed to be to order a footlong sandwich.
PHOTOS: Newtown Shooting Victims
He loved sports and wore shorts and T-shirts no matter the weather. He was a loud and enthusiastic singer and once asked, “How old do I have to be to sing on a stage?”
The service for James had not yet concluded when mourners began arriving for the funeral of Jessica. Both families met and embraced in the parking lot.
“I’ve never been in a situation like this where I’m watching a sea of people leaving a funeral for a child and another sea of people waiting at the side of the church trying to get in for the next funeral,” said Fairfield Police Lt. Jim Perez. “It’s really beyond words.”
Six-year-old Jessica was wild about horses and had asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat.
“Jessica loved everything about horses,” her parents, Rich and Krista Rekos said in a statement. “She devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses and writing stories about horses.”
The Rekoses described their daughter as “a creative, beautiful little girl who loved playing with her little brothers, Travis and Shane.”
“We called her our little CEO for the way she carefully thought out and planned everything,” they said. “We cannot imagine our life without her.”
At one point, a school bus carrying elementary school students became stuck in the traffic in front of the church. The children pressed their faces into the windows, sadly watching as mourners assembled.
Jessica and James were among 20 students killed at Sandy Hook Friday morning when a gunman forced his way into the building and opened fire.
On Monday, the first two funerals were held for Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both 6 years old.
Six adults were also killed, including teacher Vicki Soto. The 27-year-old hid her students inside a closet just before the gunman found her classroom.
Her wake will be held Tuesday evening in Stratford.
A special P.O. Box has been set up to handle the outpouring of support for the people of Newtown. The postal service says if you’d like to send cards or letters, address them to:
Messages of Condolence for Newtown
P.O. Box 3700
Please share your thoughts below…
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)