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Newtown, Conn., officials request halt to gifts

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Photo -   Snow-covered stuffed animals with photos attached sit at a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. People continue to visit memorials after gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Friday, Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Snow-covered stuffed animals with photos attached sit at a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. People continue to visit memorials after gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Friday, Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Officials in Newtown, Conn., are asking people to stop sending gifts to the grief-stricken community following the deadly school shooting, saying they're deeply grateful but can't handle the donation deluge.

The town's first selectman, police chief and schools superintendent made the request Wednesday through an editor at The Newtown Bee newspaper.

They say since a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators Dec. 14, gifts from school supplies to artwork have arrived in such numbers they've overwhelmed the small community's ability to process them.

The officials are asking people to temporarily stop sending gifts. They say once they process the "warehouses full of items," they'll detail the best ways to help.

Meanwhile, the United Way of Western Connecticut announced Wednesday that a fund established after the shooting to support Newtown has grown to $3.5 million.

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