UT student from Conn. shooting town returns home to tragedy

UT student from Conn. shooting town returns home to tragedy

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NEWTOWN, Conn. (WATE) - A University of Tennessee student returned to her Connecticut hometown for the holiday break just days before tragedy struck the town.

Genna Rossi, a UT senior, grew up in Newtown, where at least 26 people died, including at least 20 young children, in an elementary school shooting on Friday.

Rossi lives only four miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the shooting took place and went to high school with the alleged shooter.

Shortly after the shooting happened Rossi says her family was notified by the Newtown school system.

"We got a phone call this morning saying all the school are being put on lock down. I have a sister in the high school and they put her school on lock down too," Rossi told 6 News.

Her sister later made it home safely.

Rossi said Friday she had seen lots of ambulances and helicopters in her neighborhood all day.

For her, the tragedy hits even closer to home, because she knew many of children who went to school there.

"I actually babysit for a family. Their kids go there. Everyone on my road and block goes there. They are all safe, we called. I coach a cheerleading team, pretty much half of them go to Sandy Hook Elementary School. I made sure they were all OK, and they are," Rossi said.

Rossi said a street near her home has been blocked off, and she has been told that is where the alleged shooter lived.

Just hours after the shooting, she said it was really hard for her to comprehend something so tragic happening so close.

"It's hard to believe that there was no reason why these children had to die, and that their parents said 'bye' to them this morning and they are not coming home," she said.

Rossi says the school had very tight security and it would have been hard for anyone to get in unless they knew someone inside.

She says recently Newtown was ranked the fifth most safe place to live in the country.

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