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Public Statements

ABC "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" - Transcript

Interview

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STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Juju, thanks very much.

Let's get more now from the elected officials in the state of Connecticut. I'm joined by the governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy. Thank you for coming in this morning, Governor.

I know you have been going around the clock from the very beginning, that firehouse right down the road here, meeting with those families who are just shattered right now.

MALLOY: Yeah, it's -- you know, those of us in Connecticut have seen this play out in other states and other nations, and we always thank God it wasn't in our community or in our state. And obviously, when something like this happens it's a gigantic shock to everyone. We have spouses having been lost, daughters, sons. The damage done to the community, as well as, obviously, to those families is pretty staggering.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you've had to tell some of the parents the worst news they could possibly hear, that their child had died.

MALLOY: Yeah. Friday, it -- it was clear to me that -- that there was a reluctance to -- to speak to the families. But it was also clear to me that we knew everything we needed to know at that point, and so it fell upon my shoulders to inform the family of what had transpired and that their loved one wouldn't be joining them again. And it was -- it was a tough, tough time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We are also -- as Juju just reminded us -- hearing stories of real bravery. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and psychologist, Mary Sherlach, both charging.

MALLOY: Yeah, it's an extraordinary set of stories, what happened (inaudible) of this crime, and yet people doing everything in their power to protect children. I spent a lot of time with the teacher, Soto's, dad who actually works for the...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Vicki Soto, yeah.

MALLOY: ... yeah -- works for the state of Connecticut. And there was, as those details were breaking, there was a sense of -- of pride, but obviously profound -- profound loss that she tried to shield children from the effects of those gun rounds.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What more can the state do for this community right now?

MALLOY: We're doing everything we can. And I've made it perfectly clear from the moment that we were notified that whatever resources are necessary to help the community restore itself as quickly as possible, including helping with a school building, working with other communities to make sure that there's enough classrooms.

There will be a great number of funerals. We have assets ready, state troopers, other police departments, anything they need, quite frankly. I think the first selectwoman has done a marvelous job. The police chief is performing at the highest standards, although it's a very small department in a relatively small community. So they need help, and we're going to give it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're helping with the police chief, as you just said, in the investigation. What more can you share about where this all stands right now? It does seem like this man had a pretty committed plan.

MALLOY: He shot his way into the school. The school was locked. He used a weapon to open up the glass, and then walked in.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He blasted right through it?

MALLOY: Right, with several rounds, a number of rounds. He discharged to make an opening and then went through it, went to the first classroom, as you know, went to the second classroom. We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that decided to take his own life.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the response was pretty quick, within 10 minutes.

MALLOY: It was -- it was, to the best of my knowledge, pretty -- pretty quick from the time that the call was made and the call of -- the first call, we believe, was made by one of the people in the office who was injured, but will recover. And then, obviously, additional calls were made after that.

But, you know, this -- this sick fellow, you know, clearly mentally ill, killed his mother, proceeded to go on and kill a great number of people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, I know you've had to deal with emotional issues in your own family, and there are some statistics I've seen, Connecticut's public mental health system provides coverage for less than 1 in 5 Connecticut residents. Is there anything more that can or should be done to address these young men who are, you know, driven by demons?

MALLOY: Well, actually, you know, I'm not sure which statistics you're using, but we -- we have actually started a program well ahead of the changes to the national Medicaid policy, so we actually have 83,000 people covered in our state who wouldn't be covered in any other state right now. It's an expensive proposition, as you might imagine.

We also do put a great deal of credence and importance, I should say, on mental health. I think our country needs to step it up quite a bit in that regard. We need to reach out to families that are in crisis. And it appears that there was a crisis in this family. They need to know that there are resources there.

But having said all of that, this family had the -- had the resources personally to -- to handle the situation, by all appearances. But, you know, these are -- these are difficult issues. I think our nation needs to take a very different approach to mental health, and we need to speak about it more honestly, just as we need to do other things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, finally, President Obama coming to Newtown tonight. What does the community here want to hear from him?

MALLOY: Well, I think an expression by the president of the United States that he understands the difficulty that this community is going through is, I think, greatly appreciated by the community. I think what motivates the president is his desire to touch the family members who want to have that conversation, who want to be assured that the president of the United States understands that the pain that they're suffering from.

And -- and I suppose that there will be questions in that session with those parents or those siblings, but a level of reassurance that they'll get from the very highest office in our nation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Dan Malloy, thank you very much.

MALLOY: Thank you.

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