MIDTOWN — The slaughter of 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Conn. school hit close to home Friday for one member of the NYPD, according to multiple sources.
Lt. James Giblin raced up to Sandy Hook Elementary accompanied by a police escort, after hearing his nephew had been killed, when he was unable to reach his brother by phone, sources said.
"He's in Connecticut right now," a police source told DNAinfo.com New York.
The lieutenant missed his regular midnight shift Saturday in the Midtown South precinct after the tragedy, the NY Post reported.
The NYPD could not officially confirm the report, a spokesman said, but the NYPD union offered condolences to Giblin Saturday evening.
"The members of the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association join the nation and the world in sending our thoughts and prayers to all of those who lost a loved one in the senseless shooting at the Sandy Hook school, especially to our colleague Lt. James Giblin, whose nephew was lost to this tragedy," said Patrick J. Lynch, PBA president.
"We stand ready to offer any assistance we can give to help [first responders, police and EMS workers] get through this horrific event. We pray that we will never see another tragedy like this again,” he added.
On Friday night, impromptu gatherings of candelight vigils appeared around the city, as New Yorkers reeled over the news of the massive killing just 60 miles north.
Adam Lanza, 20, was identified as the primary suspect, police revealed Saturday, and was one of the 28 total left dead after the incident after he turned the gun on himself following the attack. His mother, Nancy Lanza, who may have worked at the school, was also found dead, inside her home.
At 11 p.m. Friday night, a few dozen mourners gathered in Times Square to collectively grapple with the incident and try and make sense of the tragedy, mimicking the larger gatherings and vigils at churches in Newtown, Conn. and in front of the White House, where gun-control advocates touched down Friday afternoon.
Muneer Panjwani, 28, and his co-workers threw together the gathering as a way to express support for victims families, he told the Wall Street Journal. They were joined by many passersby, and together held signs and sang carols.
Earlier in Brooklyn, an community group with an anti-gun message gathered at Brooklyn Borough Hall for a 7 p.m. vigil.
"Our prayers are with the families and residents of Connecticut and we stand unified in calling for bans on all illegal handguns and assault weapons," said one-time state Assembly candidate Tony Herbert.