The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sandy Hook

December 22, 2012

Daily gun slaughter across U.S. obscured by rampage at Newtown


Lang had been an officer for nine years, joining the elite Organized Crime Unit in 2011. That morning, when police rushed into a house to search it, a man grabbed a pistol with a high- capacity clip and fired. He wounded one officer and killed Lang.

"She was a hard charger," said Michael Williams, president of the Memphis Police Association. "She was compassionate. She was well-liked. She was one of the good ones."

The youngest of her daughters is 2.

At 11 a.m., 450 miles away, a police shoot-out ended differently after officers stopped a car at a Dallas apartment complex. Amid a struggle, the driver brandished a weapon and police shot him, according to a statement. Lenny Ellis, 30, died at the scene.

At 12:14 p.m., as the enormity of the Newtown massacre was becoming known, police in Cornwall, N.Y., a town of 12,600 by the Hudson River, were dispatched to Joseph Oliva's home on Mine Hill Road.

Oliva, 58, had sent a text to his sister in Virginia: "Goodbye. Take care of my daughter."

Then he killed himself with a Glock pistol. His wife, Sandra, 54, was in her bed, with a single shot to the head.

Police Chief Todd Hazard said there was no note or explanation. "He's probably the only one who knows," he said.

In Marshall, N.C., with a population of about 900, James Lagrua, 61, spent part of the day watching coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting at his home off the Appalachian Trail. He had a shotgun and two handguns.

Lagrua recently came out of retirement to work as a home health-care nurse, according to Michael Garrison, chief deputy of the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

At 9 p.m., his wife's daughter called 911 and barricaded herself in the basement of the three-story home with her two teenage daughters. Upstairs, police say, Lagrua shot his wife, Stephanie, 58, in the kitchen. He then shot his wife's 86-year- old bedridden mother, Hilma Barnett, in the head. He shot the family dog, too.

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