Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. will provide $1.5 million to reimburse organizations that aided victims of last year’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Acting three days after the first anniversary of the shootings, Holder said the funds will go to groups that provided trauma care, law enforcement support, and helped move students from Sandy Hook Elementary School to a new location.
“This funding will provide critical support to the brave women and men who responded to the devastating violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as the counselors and others who are helping the community to recover,” Holder said in a statement.
Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six adult educators at the school with a semiautomatic rifle. Lanza, 20, killed his mother before driving to the school and embarking on the shooting spree. He then took his own life.
On the Dec. 14 anniversary of the killings, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama lit 26 candles in the White House map room, one for each victim. In Newtown, a church rang its bells 26 times, and other houses of worship in the area held private services observing the anniversary, though no formal public memorial was held, the Associated Press reported.
In response to the Newtown massacre, the president this year unsuccessfully sought greater gun controls, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. His proposals stalled in Congress.
Twenty-one states, including Connecticut and New York, expanded gun restrictions this year, while 28 states relaxed their gun-control measures.
Holder said the funds will come from the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime, which also provided aid after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and mass shootings including those in Aurora, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona, and at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg.