Hundreds evacuated at Newtown Catholic church – the town's center of memorials and mourning – after BOMB THREAT hours before Obama visit
Noon mass was being held at the St Rose of Lima when hundreds of people inside were evacuated due to a called-in threatHeavily-armed Connecticut state troopers were seen entering church and doing room-by-room search of religious education facility nearby
'All clear' was issued at about 1:15pmPresident Obama was due to attend memorial service at Newtown High School on Sunday night
23:28 GMT, 16 December 2012
The St Rose of Lima church in Connecticut was evacuated today during a noon mass after the church received a bomb threat – in another traumatic day for a community rocked by tragedy.
the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday, tensions were raised again at the sight of
nearly a dozen camouflage-clad SWAT team members carrying assault
weapons who rushed into the church and a nearby educational center.
The Catholic church that has become a center of grieving since the deaths of 20 children and six adults at the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School.
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Response: A SWAT team prepares to enter St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church
Lookout: A heavily-armed state trooper prepares to enter a religious center adjacent to the church
Guns blazing: A Newtown police officer stands behind a tree with his gun drawn during the bomb threat investigation
Injuries: A woman is placed into an ambulance outside the church was evacuated in Newtown
With their guns drawn, police shouted to members of the public to stand back and take cover while they secured the building.
A woman who had apparently suffered an anxiety attack was taken out on a stretcher and placed into an ambulance.
After keeping the public and media at bay for more than an hour, the police seemed to relax their posture and at around 1.30pm they were allowing people to lay flowers an candles at a makeshift memorial.
Evelyn Leon, 17, of Waterbury, 20 miles east of Newtown, said she was sitting in the back of the church with her family when word came to leave the church.
'Word filtered back through the pews that there had been a threat made and we had to get into our cars and evacuate,' she said.
Gripped by emotion: A man embraces a young boy as they look at a memorial in front of the church
Fleeing: A mother runs with her children as police, seen above, canvass homes in the area near the church
Threat: A police officer keeps a hand on his gun as the unspecified threat at St Rose of Lima Church in Newtown
Possible threat: Heavily-armed state troopers were seen entering the church, as well as an educational center nearby
Paying their respects: Candles and makeshift memorials have been placed on the grounds of the church, pictured in the background, since the school shooting on Friday
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Stationed: Armed officers stand behind trees with their guns at the ready while their colleagues investigate
Presidential visit: The church is located near the high school where President Obama, pictured on Sunday before he departed from the White House, will meet with the families of victims of the shooting
'As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years,' he said in his weekly radio address Saturday.
'An elementary school in Newtown. A shopping mall in Oregon. A house of worship in Wisconsin. A movie theater in Colorado. Countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia… 'We have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics,' Obama said in his broadcast remarks.'
The church has been a source of solace for many in the small town still coming to grips with Friday's tragedy.
was the scene of an emotional candlelight vigil on Friday night, and a
place where mourners have continuously stopped to reflect and pray.
March: Heavily armed Connecticut State Police officers walk past a memorial moments after the church was evacuated
Remembering: The church has been a source of solace for many in the small town still coming to grips with Friday's tragedy
Place of mourning: Newtown residents flocked to the church on Friday night for a candlelight vigil held hours after the massacre
Police officers have also been seen at the church, praying and paying their respects to the lives that were lost
VIDEO: Haven't they suffered enough Church evacuation after bomb threat in Newtown…
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