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Newtown First Responders Reflect On Feelings Of ‘Guilt’ After Seeing ‘Horrific’ School Massacre

Band Around Newtown Police Badge (credit: CBS 2)

Band Around Newtown Police Badge (credit: CBS 2)

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Tragedy In Newtown

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Some of the emergency officials who responded to 911 calls from Sandy Hook Elementary School on the day of the shooting massacre are opening up about the tragedy they faced that day.

“You could hear it in their voice. and that’s I think part of how everybody knew that was working that day that this was more than just a routine call,” said Newtown patrol officer Liam Searbrook.

The first 911 call came in around 9:30 a.m., when shooter Adam Lanza began opening fire inside a classroom.

“Approaching the scene there were approximately six children that were running from the scene which added to our knowledge that yes, this is real,” Newtown Police Sgt. Dave Kulgren told CBS 2’s Teresa Garcia.

WEB EXTRA: Remembering The Sandy Hook School Shooting Victims

First responders arrived within minutes of the 911 calls that came in the morning of December 14th. Officers said they broke windows to get inside to search for the shooter.

“We heard gunfire and we just went towards it,” Kulgren said.

In the minutes it took police to respond, Lanza fired enough shots to kill 20 first graders and six teachers and other faculty at the elementary school.

Investigators said the Lanza shot himself in the head when he heard police coming.

“I walked in and it was horrific, the crime scene itself. And to see the adults and the children that were deceased in the classrooms, it was very hard, obviously, to comprehend what had happened,” Newtown Police Captain Joe Rios said.

The massacre was the deadliest among school-aged children in U.S. history.

“I was devastated, absolutely devastated. I had no words,” Police Chief Michael Kehoe said. “You feel a sense of guilt that you weren’t there quick enough to do that, but I also know our response stopped that threat…and he could not proceed any further.”

Newtown Police officers are wearing black bands around their badges in honor of the victims and they’re still searching for answers to explain why Lanza targeted the elementary school.

Kehoe said he read to the kindergarten class at Sandy Hook Elementary last year. He said as part of the conversation, some of the kids asked questions about their safety, and why policemen come to school.

The chief said in some respects, he feels as if they failed them.

The final funerals for the victims of the shooting rampage were held Saturday. Students Josephine Gay, Emilie Parker and Ana Marquez-Greene were laid to rest a little more than a week after their lives were cut short.

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