Condolence books for US school victims

US president Barack Obama is to attend a vigil in Newtown.

Books of condolence are to be opened in Belfast for people to pay their respects to the 20 children and seven adults who died in the Connecticut school massacre.

Sunday, 16 December 2012
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The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday have plunged America into grief, as the rest of the world looks on in shock and horror.

The school children who were murdered were aged between five and 10 years old.

Among them was six-year-old Dylan Hockley, originally from Hampshire in England.

The killer, named as Adam Lanza, shot his young victims up to 11 times each.

He also killed six women, including school head Dawn Hochsprung, before turning the gun on himself. His mother Nancy was also found shot dead at their home in the town.

Belfast City Hall is to open books of condolence later in the week for people to pay their respects to those who lost their lives.

Jim Rodgers said it is a show of solidarity and support to the families who have been left devastated.

"We thought it would be most important to show our respect and our thoughts and prayers and sympathy at this dreadful tragedy," the UUP councillor told UTV.

"Whenever a child is taken from you in such a tragic fashion it really brings it home to you the value of life and at this particular time of year in the run up to Christmas it is awful.

"I wanted people to have the opportunity to express their sympathies."

Once the books of condolence have been closed they are to be given to the US Consulate in Belfast and passed on to the families of the victims.