"The unrelenting death toll of gun violence in America is staggering," said Benjamin Van Houten, managing attorney for the Legal Community Against Violence in San Francisco, which advocates more restrictive gun laws. "In addition to the terrible, devastating tragedies like Newtown, there are instances of gun violence that tear apart communities and families each day."
The Sandy Hook massacre was the latest mass shooting in a deadly year, following an attack in a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 and wounded 58 others, and another at a Wisconsin Sikh temple that left six dead. This month, three died, including the shooter, when a man opened fire with a rifle in a suburban Oregon shopping mall.
More typically, news of shootings rarely travels beyond the cities where they happen. Yet on average a Newtown happens every day on U.S. street corners and inside homes. In that sense, Dec. 14 was unexceptional.
About 7:15 a.m., a driver saw a body lying by the Jacksonville roadside in a residential strip of single-family homes in Florida's most populous city. It was Sherman, who scraped out a living as a landscaper.
Shell casings were found at the scene, said Officer Shannon Hartley, a police spokesman.
Franklin Sherman, 74, was leaving the doctor's office when he was told of his grandson's death. He doesn't know why anyone would kill him. Patrice was a good man, taking him to the doctor when he could, Sherman said.
Patrice's mother passed out when she heard. She fainted at the funeral home. She couldn't bear to see her dead son.
"They're taking it rough," Franklin Sherman said.
About 8 a.m., Martoiya Lang was among officers who burst into a home in Memphis, a city of 652,000 where there's a homicide every three days, according to Richard Janikowski, a University of Memphis criminologist.