Central New York responds to Connecticut shooting

In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday.

In response to the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school that left at least 27 people dead, including children, some Central New Yorkers are taking extra precautions and sharing their thoughts and condolences.

At least one school district has stepped up security at its schools. Superintendent of West Genesee Central School District, Chris Brown,


, "All is well in each of our schools but we will have some additional police presence while total details unfold from Conn. shooting." Brown also wrote a brief note to parents on his "Notes from the Superintendent" blog.

Sharon L. Contreras, Superintendent of the Syracuse City School District, said in a media release, "I want to assure all of the parents in the Syracuse City School District that the safety and security of our students is the districtâ??s top priority. Our schools utilize a single point of entry and we have standardized photo identification cards for all staff ensuring electronic access control in all of our buildings... In the event of a crisis we have lockdown procedures in place and the capability for district-wide radio communication at our schools."

The Syracuse Mayorâ??s Office tweeted, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded today in Newtown, Connecticut."


overnor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter, "We as a society must unify and once and for all crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans." Cuomo also directed all flags on state government buildings to fly at half-staff Saturday, December 15.

A tearful President Barack Obama addressed the nation Friday afternoon. He says the country's leaders must "take meaningful action" regardless of politics. He paused repeatedly as he struggled to keep his composure while speaking of the children - ages 5 to 10 - who had died and the life milestones they now would miss.

In Washington, D.C., House Speaker John Boehner has ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol lowered.

Amy VanDusen, a child grief specialist at the Center for Living with Loss, was a guest in our studio Friday evening, and said one of the hardest things for adults, and children, is just understanding why an event like this happened. "We ourselves don't understand why this happened, or what led this young man to do this so the same is going to be true for the children affected, both in Newtown and here locally."

Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh also weighed in on the shooting. Walsh talked about how training for first responders has changed since Columbine, saying police now go into the school to search for the active shooter. He also talked about the effects on those first responders. It's something many people don't always think about, focusing on the victims and their families instead. "All I could think of was the officers, the firefighters and the emergency medical technicians that have to go into the carnage. It's going to be a very tough, tough crime scene to deal with and very emotional, very difficult for them and to go back and deal with their own families."

St. Leoâ??s Church in Tully is scheduled to hold a vigil mass Saturday at 10:00 a.m. to pray for the shooting victims.

Also there is a prayer Vigil for Tragedy in CT at the Christ Community United Methodist Church

3474 Stiles Rd in Syracuse at 6:00 pm Saturday. For those who would like to pray together for the grieving families and nation. You may stop by and pray at anytime during that hour, for as little or long a length of time you wish. Prayers will be lifted at 6:00, 6:15, 6:30, and 7:00 with silent prayers inbetween. Rev. Adrienne L. Phillips presiding.