Sandy Hook community stands by victims of Stoneman Douglas shooting

NEWTOWN, Con. (WSVN) — Parents and residents of the Sandy Hook community are offering their support to the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Flags could be seen at half-staff in Newtown, Connecticut, but this time, it’s for the victims of the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Wednesday.

“It brings back those emotions. Those raw emotions, like you are right there, that day again,” said the Rev. Matt Crebbin.

Five years after 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school, the pain in the community is still raw. Crebbin would know, he was called out to the fire station next to the school to comfort families.

“Some of them were reuniting with their children and loved ones and some were awaiting word that they had lost loved ones,” Crebbin said.

The days and weeks that followed were slow as the community came together while it tried to process the grief.

“To know as we began our own journey that there were folks that had been on this journey, they didn’t have all the answers,” Crebbin said. “They could help us to understand some things we were going through. But what was helpful was to know they were still carrying forward.”

One way some have carried forward is with change.

“We demanded action. We were able to swiftly change gun laws in our state, including assault weapons,” said Po Murray, the chair of the Newton Action Alliance.

“This is the neighborhood where the shooter lives, and he lived behind those trees,” Murray said.

The Newton Action Alliance is one of several organizations created after the shooting to make a difference.

Another is Sandy Hook Promise, which created a public service announcement to highlight how easy it is to miss the signs of a mass shooter.

Nicole Hockley, managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, lost her son Dylan during the Sandy Hook shooting. “What can we do? Not just talking about guns, not just talking about mental illness,” she said. “What can we do to protect our kids?”

“These incidents can really cause us to make choices. Not choices about changing the events because they happened, but causing us to make choices about how we live each day,” Crebbin said.

However, those who live and re-live this tragedy time and time again have a message for everyone in South Florida.

“The Town of Newtown is here for them,” Murray said. “There are many community members who support them.”

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