Even so, Novia said his primary concern about Lanza was that he might become a target for teasing or abuse by his fellow students, not that he might become a threat.

"Somewhere along in the last four years there were significant changes that led to what has happened Friday morning," Novia said. "I could never have foreseen him doing that."

Sandy Hook Elementary will be closed next week - some parents can't even conceive of sending their children back, Board of Education chairwoman Debbie Leidlein said - and officials are considering what to do about the town's other schools.

"Next week is going to be horrible," said the town's legislative council chairman, Jeff Capeci, thinking about the string of funerals the town will face. "Horrible, and the week leading into Christmas."

Asked whether the town would recover, Maryann Jacob, a clerk in the school library who took cover in a storage room with 18 fourth-graders during the shooting rampage, said: "We have to. We have a lot of children left."