GATES COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) - In Hampton Roads people with ties to Newtown, Conn. are mourning and remembering the victims killed in Friday's mass shooting.
Anthony DellaQuilla of Gates County watched the terror unfold on television, and found out he knew the grandparents of two children killed.
DellaQuilla says it was heartbreaking seeing his neighbors and friends go through this pain so publicly.
Since the shooting, DellaQuilla has spent time looking through photo albums of his childhood in Newtown, Connecticut. He says his family moved there when he was 10-years-old and, he remembers it was a simple, close knit community.
"Everybody knew everybody. Everybody waived at you. That was it. It was good childhood just to be there," said DellaQuilla.
He also remembers Newtown as a place where families moved to settle down, and everyone felt safe.
"When I lived there four years ago people still didn't lock their doors. What does that tell you? In 2008, nobody locked their doors," said DellaQuilla.
Now his hometown is where the nation's second deadliest mass shooting took place. He watched the horror of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School unfold on television. And, he saw friends, neighbors, and kids he knew expressing their pain to reporters.
"About a quarter of them. I'm sitting here like, I'm telling my wife Joyce, 'Oh my gosh that's Bob. That's Larry.' Everybody is there. Everybody is still there," said DellaQuilla.
It wasn't long before DellaQuilla realized he knew the grandparents of two six year-olds shot and killed Carolina Previdi and Benjamin Wheeler.
"One of the kids that was killed his name is Wheeler. His grandfather drove a bus at Sandy Hook for about 25 years," said DellaQuilla.
He feels it's too soon to call Wheeler or Previdi's grandparents and comfort them, but he does share in their pain.
"I'm sure they are feeling the same way I do. Just because I'm not there doesn't mean anything," said DellaQuilla.
While it might not return in time for Christmas or weeks after DellaQuilla hopes Newtown will return to simpler, sweeter place he used to know. He plans to visit Newtown in February.
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