The Crystal Lake, Ill. aunt of the suspected Connecticut school shooter said Friday that her family is "shaken to the core" by the massacre that left more than two dozen people, including 20 elementary school students, dead.
Marsha Lanza, sister-in-law to Nancy Lanza, who was among those killed in the Newtown, Conn. tragedy, told the Northwest Herald that she had not seen 20-year-old Adam Lanza since he was about 3 years old, but she was in regular touch with Nancy. According to the Associated Press, Marsha sent a Facebook message Friday morning asking Nancy how she was doing. Nancy never responded.
"I knew he [Adam] had some learning issues in school," Marsha told the Herald, "but I don’t know if there were any behavioral issues. Right now, we don’t know any more than you probably do."
Marsha added, to the AP, that Adam's parents were kind-hearted and that Nancy was a good mother.
Marsha is not the shooter's only Chicago-area relative. Andrew Lanza, 19, of Chicago -- one of the suspect's cousins -- told the New York Post that his family is "in shock and devastated" by the tragedy.
Meanwhile, the Connecticut tragedy has caused Chicago-area schools to revisit their safety procedures. NBC Chicago reports that Chicago Public Schools security officer Jadine Chou on Friday sent a message to all of the district's principals that urged them to review their emergency plans, perform emergency drills and enforce visitor sign-in policies.
On Friday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and other area political leaders expressed their condolences to the victims' families and shifted the conversation to gun control policy. Quinn previously pushed a statewide ban on assault weapons which was voted down 49-4 by the state Senate last month. Connecticut and two other states already have bans similar to the legislation Quinn proposed.
"It is the foremost duty of government to protect public safety, especially the safety of children and students," Quinn said in a statement. "As governor and as a parent, I intend to spearhead passage of strict laws that will protect our children and the people of Illinois from gun violence."
Father Michael Pfleger, one of the city's most outspoken activists on gun control, also spoke out Friday on the tragedy, according to WGN:
"When are we gonna stop it? When are we gonna draw the line and say this proliferation of guns, and this sense of violence has become a norm of American culture?"
The national conversation about gun laws is particularly timely for Illinois following the Federal Appellate Court ruling that, earlier this month, ended the state's longstanding ban on carrying concealed weapons.