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More than $28 million donated to Newtown shooting victims, state report says

By Richard Weizel

MILFORD Conn. (Reuters) - More than $28 million has been donated to support people affected by the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and more than half the money has been distributed, a Connecticut attorney general report said on Tuesday.

The report found most of that money has been given to families of the 20 children and six adults at the Newtown, Connecticut, school who were shot to death on Dec. 14, 2012, by gunman Adam Lanza, 20.

The massacre of 26 victims was one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history. Lanza had killed his mother before traveling to the school and shot himself to death after committing the attack.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen's office found no evidence of illegal activities related to fundraising or how the money has been spent, according to his report on groups collecting and making donations for Sandy Hook that also included two voluntary surveys.

About $15 million has been awarded by the groups, which range from high school soccer teams to national charities, according to the report, which was prepared in collaboration with the state Office of Consumer Protection.

Jepsen said ensuring the funds are distributed properly has been among his most important tasks.

"The generosity of people from all corners of our country and beyond was on display in the days and weeks following that horrible day in Sandy Hook and was immediate," Jepsen said in a statement.

"The goal of this report is to document that generosity and provide transparency to the giving public about where their donations went,” he said.

In Newtown, debate has raged concerning more than $12 million raised by the Newtown-Sandy Hook Foundation. After numerous public sessions, the foundation decided to give $7.7 million to the 40 families directly affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but to use the rest over the next 15 years for others in the community.

Those 40 families either lost a child or other family member in the attack, or they had someone who was wounded or witnessed the shooting spree.

Community leaders, including Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra, the top elected official in the town, have argued the entire fund should go to those directly affected by the shooting.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Lisa Shumaker)

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