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Memorial for school gunman's mother

More than 100 family and friends gathered at a church to remember the woman whose son massacred 20 children and six teachers in a Connecticut elementary school last year.

The mourners and a few musicians filed into the First Congregational Church in Kingston, New Hampshire, for the memorial of Nancy Lanza, the first victim of her 20-year-old son Adam's rampage.

She was shot dead in their home before he blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on December 14. He killed himself as police closed in.

More than a dozen uniformed police officers blocked off the street and guarded the church door, ensuring only friends and family were allowed into the service. Ms Lanza grew up in New Hampshire and lived there before moving to Newtown in 1998. Her brother, James Champion, is a Kingston police officer and still lives in the town.

A lone police bagpiper played as the processional arrived and lined up outside the church to enter together. A few people wiped their eyes as they left the church.

Friends have said that Ms Lanza loved the Boston Red Sox baseball team and gardening and talked of a growing enthusiasm for target shooting. The rifle and two handguns Adam Lanza took into Sandy Hook were registered to her.

But friends also said she never talked about her home life, keeping details about her son private. She occasionally said she was concerned about the future, but she did not complain.

Ms Lanza told a divorce mediator in 2009 that she did not like to leave her son alone. People who met him described him as shy and introverted.

The motive for her son's killing spree is still unclear. Investigators have said mother and son visited shooting ranges together, and the victims killed at the school were all shot with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle that Adam Lanza took from the house he and his mother shared. That gun and the handgun he used to shoot himself had been legally purchased by his mother.

The massacre has revived the national gun control debate and led to proposals for universal background checks on gun buyers and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The Newtown massacre was the second-worst school shooting in US history after the 2007 Virginia Tech rampage, which left 33 people dead.

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