MARIETTA - State and federal officials in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday continued their investigations in the aftermath of Friday's horrific murder of 27 people, 20 of whom were 7 years old or younger, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Late Sunday afternoon authorities still had not determined a motive for the unfathomable shooting spree by 20-year-old Adam Lanza who also shot and killed himself as police rushed into the school.
The first child's funeral out of those killed during Friday's shooting is scheduled to take place in Newtown today.
Asked what he might say to parents of the young victims of the Newtown shooting, Ed Tullius of Marietta thought awhile before answering.
"That's a tough one," Tullius said. "I have three children of my own, but I don't really know what I could say to those parents. I would just tell all parents to love your kids while you can."
Friends and parents Amy Tucker and Cheyenne Oaks agreed it would be difficult to know what to say.
"I would just want to let them know the entire country is praying for them," Tucker said. "I can't imagine what they're going through."
The mother of an 8- and 14-year-old, she hadn't yet discussed what happened in Newtown, Conn., with them.
"But it's been all over the television, and I plan to talk to them about it soon," she said.
Oaks said her three children are 8, 10 and 13 years old. Like many parents she had a hard time understanding how anyone could harm 20 defenseless youngsters.
"For their parents, there's nothing you can say to make the pain go away," she said. "But this really hits home - we're all parents and can't help thinking these victims could be your children."
Tucker said the location of the Connecticut shooting - a K-4 school - is a major concern.
"It just makes me angry," she said. "Homes, schools and churches are supposed to be places of safety."
The Connecticut incident was the third shooting at school facilities this year, according to an Associated Press report.
On April 2 seven people were killed by a gunman at a Christian university in California. The suspect was reportedly angry because administrators refused to grant him a full tuition refund after he dropped out of the school's nursing program.
And on Feb. 27 in Chardon, Ohio, three students were killed and two wounded in a shooting spree that began in a school cafeteria as students waited for buses to other schools. The alleged shooter was 17 at the time.
New parents Luisa Samper and Juan Perez are natives of Spain who have lived in Marietta for more than two years now.
"There isn't anything we can tell the parents of those children that would make up for their grief and loss," Samper said. "I'm a teacher, and if something like that happened, I would do anything I could to keep the kids safe, knowing how difficult it would be to face their parents otherwise."
She noted teaching today is becoming a hazardous profession as schools are among facilities targeted by gunmen like Lanza every year.
"Almost anyone can have a gun in this country," Samper added.
Perez said owning a gun is much different in Europe.
"Only hunters are allowed to have guns" he said. "It's not easy to obtain a gun there. You also have to pass a psychological test. And hunters can only use shotguns."
Perez said he also finds it interesting that most of the gunmen in mass shootings over the last several years are relatively young people - in their 20s or 30s.
"Something's wrong there," he said. "We're not seeing men who are 40 or 50 doing these things - these are people in their 20s."