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Evacuation scare heightens US shooting nerves

Published on Dec 17, 2012 5:59 AM
A SWAT team prepares to enter Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Connecticut Dec 16, 2012. The church was evacuated on Sunday after a bomb threat was reported by officials during services at the church, which is roughly a mile (1.6 km) from the site of Friday's school shooting where 20 children were killed. Twelve girls, eight boys and six adult women were killed in the shooting on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (AFP) - Mourners trying to make sense of the latest United States (US) shooting tragedy evacuated a church on Sunday as an undisclosed threat heightened nerves in this grief-stricken New England town.

The evacuation from the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic church came as the pastor was giving the homily in a somber service two days after 20 small children were slaughtered in an elementary school, as were six adults.

"It was in the middle of the Mass. They just said, 'please, everybody leave. There is a threat.' That was all," Anne, a woman from the state capital Hartford, told AFP. "The church was packed. There were kids."

Armed police searched a house next to the brown stone church, and oversaw the evacuation, hours before a planned visit to Newtown by President Barack Obama.

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