Rep. Abercrombie apologizes for rushing past Sandy Hook parents

Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, whose hurried walk past the parents of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School was captured in a 60 Minutes segment Sunday night, issued an apology Monday, saying she didn’t realize who the parents were.

“I would like to apologize to each of the Sandy Hook parents for rushing past them at the State Capitol last week,” Abercrombie’s statement said. “They have been through so much pain already and this surely didn’t help. I didn’t realize who they were at the time.”

The parents were at the state Capitol to advocate for gun control legislation. As lawmakers headed into a caucus room, the parents stood in a line, offering photographs of their children to legislators.

The segment showed several legislators stopping and speaking with the parents. Some exchanged hugs and looked at the children’s pictures.

Abercrombie walked past and said, “No thanks, all set. Thank you.”

Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was one of the 20 first graders killed at the school, told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley, “That is not a good feeling.”

“Several of the caucus members, when they realized that we’re people from Sandy Hook, the vast majority of them spoke to us and apologized. Many of them were crying with us,” she said.

Of those who didn’t, she added, “They weren’t being callous. They just didn’t know who we were.”

Abercrombie, a Democrat from Meriden, voted for the gun-control legislation, which expands the state’s assault-weapons ban, prohibits the future sale of magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, and imposes universal background checks on gun purchasers.

Abercrombie said that when she walked past the parents, she had already decided to vote for the bill and was heading into the caucus room.

“As lawmakers, we are constantly approached by lobbyists and others gathered in lines who want to talk to us, and while we do our best to accommodate everyone, sometimes it’s difficult to do so,” the statement said. “It was not my intention to ignore them in any way or disregard their pain and grief. Without a doubt, the loss of 20 children has touched each one of us in the state profoundly.”

Abercrombie is trying to reach the parents by telephone to apologize personally, her spokeswoman said.