NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Worshippers hurriedly left a church Sunday when someone phoned in a threat as parishioners remembered 20 children and six adults who were massacred at an elementary school, but police later said nothing dangerous was found.
The threat interrupted a busy mass, sent worshippers hurrying from the church and touched off a large police response days after the worst massacre of school-age children in U.S. history.
Halfway through the noon service, the priest stopped and said, “Please, everybody leave. There is a threat,” said Anna Wood of Oxford, Conn., one of the worshippers who left.
At least a dozen police in camouflage SWAT gear and carrying guns arrived at the St. Rose of Lima Church. An Associated Press photographer saw police leave carrying something in a red tarp. Guns drawn, they searched the church and adjacent buildings.
Gunman Adam Lanza, his mother and eight of the child victims attended St. Rose of Lima. It is a Roman Catholic Church with an adjacent school, which Lanza attended briefly.
The church hosted overflow crowds at all three morning Masses Sunday.
Wood said everyone left calmly but described a congregation edge. One boy, about 9, left with his mother.
“He asked his mom, ‘Mom, why are we leaving?,” Wood recalled. “The mom couldn’t answer. She just started crying.”
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.