NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The first police officers who responded to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14 are now speaking out.
20 little children and six staff members were murdered on that horrific Friday.
The officers entered at the front door, where gunman Adam Lanza, minutes before, had fired his way into the school.
Other officers came in through a side entrance, one officer using the butt of his rifle to smash the glass on a door to get in.
The first responders told the New York Times the gunfire that they initially could clearly hear outside the school had stopped.
They turned their radios down and moved from room to room.
One youngster was found unharmed standing among her slain classmates.
Another was found with a slight pulse and was rushed to an ambulance, but later died, though as the child was rushed to the ambulance, a responder said, “You’re safe now. Your parents love you.”
Officers omitted the worst details to spare the victims families and to protect the investigation.
They spoke reluctantly, not wanting a comparison between their ordeal and that of the victims and their families.
In the words of one detective, “27 years on the job, words can’t describe how horrible it was.”
One cop said that after one look at the crime scene and your life was absolutely changed.
The attorney for the Newtown police union said the officers are “incredibly resilient” and there’s a strong community behind the heroes, who were on the scene in less than three minutes.
“We’re getting them all the help that we can and they’re accepting of that help,” Eric Brown told WCBS 880 reporter Paul Murnane.
First Selectman Patricia Llodra said resources are needed for the long haul.
“The magnitude of this horror is such that it’s not something that’s going to be easily managed and I think will take years and years and years,” she told Murnane.
Brown said what they dealt with was “pretty heavy,” but they’re determined to go forward.
“I think the majority of them intend to continue with their careers. It’s certainly changed them in a number of ways, but as far as we can tell, there’s an intention there that they want to continue if they can,” he told Murnane.