Hundreds of state Capitol employees filled the lobby, lined staircases and aisles, and even stood shivering in a rainy alcove to observe Friday morning’s moment of silence for the 26 victims of last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Sgt. John Sylvester of the Capitol Police Honor Guard tolled the building’s replica of the Liberty Bell, once for each of the 20 children and six educators killed in the tragedy. Consumer Counsel Elin Katz read aloud the names and ages of each child, and the names and occupations of each educator whose life was taken.

Newtown ceremony at capitol

Sgt. John Sylvester of the Capitol Police Honor Guard rings the state’s replica of the Liberty Bell in memory of those slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who called earlier this week for the statewide moment of silence, was in Newtown on Friday with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, observing a ceremony there.

Callan DeBerry of Hartford, a soloist and congregation member at the North Side Church of Christ, sang “Amazing Grace” at the Capitol service.

“I go anywhere, sing anywhere, especially for a good cause like this,” DeBerry said.

Mark Ojakian, the governor’s chief of staff, said state departments and agencies observed the moment of silence in their own offices, but others visited the Capitol the join the effort there.

“To be honest, there were a lot more people there than I thought there would be,” Ojakian said. “The outpouring of support for this moment of silence has been tremendous, tremendous.”

Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill and many from her office attended the service in the Capitol lobby. Merrill said “people wanted to be here, to be in the same place with everybody else for this.”

Malloy and the General Assembly also memorialized those killed in the Dec. 14 shooting earlier this week when lawmakers gathered Wednesday in special session to adopt a budget deficit mitigation bill.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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