Chaplains return from shooting tragedy in Newtown - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Chaplains return from shooting tragedy in Newtown

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Al New is still recovering emotionally from what he saw and heard in Newtown, Connecticut.

He is one of 27 chaplains with the Billy Graham Evangelistic association who were sent to provide comfort after last month's shooting.

"Emotions were running high, shock and denial played a big part, this is a community where people moved to because it was safe, small town USA," said New.

Six adults and 20 children were shot to death inside Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14th. New and his team arrived on scene the same day.

He says even the first responders had never see this type of tragedy on such a large scale. Police officers and state troopers walked around in a daze.

"Even the mental health counselors were breaking down and we were counseling them to get through it," said New.

By day four, the chaplains new they needed to regroup. They gathered and prayed for their own strength.

"Even for us, with everyone grieving so much and us hearing their stories, it was piling on us pretty quick, so it was hard for us too," said New.

The team remained strong and offered guidance to the families of the victims. Christmas came and went. Several chaplains spent the holidays in Newtown.

"There are no words that you can give to a mother who just lost her child. Christmas wasn't there," said New.

The last of the rapid response team returned on Saturday, but New says the work there is far from over.

"Remember the people of Newtown, pray for them, pray for the churches who are continuing on the ministry and continue praying for the Chaplains who have been there, because they will continually need your prayers," said New.

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