KATONAH, N.Y. — One of the school employees killed in Friday’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a Katonah native.
Anne Marie Murphy, a 52-year-old mother of four, taught special education at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Newsday reported Saturday.
On Friday morning, Sandy Hook was the scene of a devastating mass shooting that killed 26 at the school including 20 children ages 6 and 7-year-old. Police identified the shooter as 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Newtown home before driving to the school and forcing his way in, then carried out his bloody rampage before finally shooting himself, according to reports.
Murphy’s parents, Dr. Hugh and Alice McGowan, are parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption, a Catholic church in Katonah, which held a vigil for Murphy Saturday night.
At Sunday Mass at the Katonah church, Rev. Michael Brisson said parishioners found out about the loss of one of their own when Hugh McGowan addressed the congregation Saturday. According to Brisson, McGowan got up and said, "I'd like to invite you all to pray the Hail Mary with me. My daughter was shot yesterday."
Newsday reported Saturday that police told the McGowans that Murphy's body was found shielding the bodies of students. The McGowans said they plan to bring their daughter's body back home to Katonah for her funeral.
People throughout the community are paying tribute to the victims in Newtown, including Murphy. After reading on Moveon.org about an initiative to organize candlelight vigils, Bedford resident Bea Rhodes, along with Bruce Yablon, Michael Minard and Len Martello, held a candlelight vigil Saturday evening across from the Katonah Public Library.
Rhodes was sad to find that one of the town’s well-known families lost their daughter in the tragedy at Sandy Hook. “The McGowans have been here forever,” Rhodes said Sunday. “So many know them.”
Doris Avino, a parishioner at St. Mary, said Sunday that she did not know Anne Marie Murphy but knew Murphy’s father Hugh McGowan from church.
"I'm sorry that happened," she said. "Horrible. That's just horrible. That man was a monster," she said of the shooter.