NEWTOWN, Conn. – A teacher who authorities said died trying to protect her students in the Connecticut school shooting that left 28 people dead was laid to rest Thursday.
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, was remembered as a teacher who “brought together a community, a nation, a world, now awed by her own life and death,” in a eulogy by Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
Murphy’s father, Hugh McGowan, said authorities told him that she died trying to protect her young pupils. Her body was found covering a group of children’s bodies as if to shield them, McGowan said.
“Like Jesus, Annie laid down her life for her friends,” Dolan said. “Like Jesus, Annie’s life and death brings light, truth, goodness and love to a world often shrouded in darkness, evil, selfishness and death.”
About 15 people arrived at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Katonah, New York, in a yellow school bus with “Newtown,” the name of the Connecticut town where the shooting occurred, written on its side. The church quickly filled and about 100 mourners waited outside.
A Justice Department official said the country’s top lawyer, Attorney General Eric Holder, would visit the town Thursday to meet privately with first responders and law enforcement officials. The official requested anonymity because Holder’s visit had not been publicly announced.
At least nine funerals and wakes were held Wednesday for those who died when 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza, armed with a military-style assault rifle, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday and opened fire. He killed six teachers and 20 children, all of them 6 or 7 years old. Lanza killed his mother at her home before the attack and killed himself at the school as police closed in.
More tributes were scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
Associated Press writer Frederic J. Frommer in Washington, Jim Fitzgerald in Katonah, New York, Christina Rexrode in New York, Helen O’Neill in Danbury, Connecticut, and David Klepper, Eilleen AJ Connelly and Tom Hays in Newtown contributed to this report.