Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy broke down into tears on Monday as he recalled how, hours after a shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school, he took it upon himself to tell parents and other relatives that their children had been killed.
Malloy said he met with a roomful of family members near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, following the massacre of 20 children and six adults there on Friday and found that many were still waiting for official word on the fate of their loved ones.
"It was evident to me that there was a reluctance to tell parents and loved ones that the person they were waiting for was not going to return," Malloy said in an emotional press conference.
"That had gone on for a period of time well after there was an expectancy that families would be reunited," he added.
Malloy paused several times during his remarks as he choked up and wiped away tears.
"So I made a decision that rather than relying on traditional investigative policies - that you actually have a child or an adult identified as the particular victim before you inform someone or at least give them the information by which they can formulate for themselves that their loved one was not going to return - I made the decision that to have that go on any longer was wrong. I did it," he said.
Malloy spoke to reporters as the funerals of two 6-year-old boys on Monday ushered in a week of memorial services and burials for victims of the mass shooting.
Police said 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, Nancy, at her home on Friday before shooting his way into the school and opening fire on students and teachers. He shot himself to death in the school following the rampage, authorities say.
He had attended Sandy Hook as a child, according to former classmates. Authorities said on Monday he had no current connection with the school.
Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Andrew Hay