The father of the gunman in the Connecticut school rampage says his family is struggling to make sense of what happened.
Peter Lanza said in a statement that “our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy”.
Investigators are trying to learn more about Mr Lanza’s son, 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza, who gunned down 26 people including 20 children at a Newtown elementary school after first killing his mother at their home.
They have questioned his older brother who is not believed to have been involved in the rampage.
Mr Lanza said: “No words can truly express how heartbroken we are,” and that relatives are “in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can”.
Pope Benedict XVI told pilgrims and tourists in St Peter’s Square today that he is praying for the families of those who were killed during the shooting rampage.
Speaking in English, Benedict said he was “deeply saddened by Friday’s senseless violence.
“I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer,” the Pope said in his first public comments on the massacre by a lone gunman. “May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain.”
On Saturday, the Vatican said that Benedict was promptly informed about the shootings and that he sent a condolence message to the diocese involved to convey “heartfelt grief” over “the shocking event”.
In that message, the pontiff prayed that God “sustain the entire community with spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love”.
In his traditional Sunday appearance from his studio window overlooking St Peter’s Square, adorned by a tall Christmas tree, Benedict said that as the holiday approaches “let us dedicate ourselves more fervently to prayer and to acts of peace”.
He then invoked “God’s abundant blessings” upon those “affected by this tragedy”.