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Victim Of Connecticut School Shooting Honored In Gloucester County During Remembrance Ceremony

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By Jericka Duncan, Cherri Gregg

WOODBURY, N.J. (CBS) – Thursday afternoon Gloucester County officials held a ceremony, in honor of National Victim’s Rights Week, to remember residents who’ve died because of violent crimes.

Mary Sherlach was honored at the event.

She was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Her daughter, who lives in Gloucester County, spoke about the issue of violent crime and her efforts to keep the gun debate alive.

“It’s an important issue. We have to think about the future,” said Maura Schwartz.

She is fighting for tougher gun laws in memory of her mother, 56-year-old Mary Sherlach, a school psychologist who was killed in the Sandy Hook rampage.

Sherlach was in a meeting that day; when she realized what was happening she warned others to run.

“She went straight for it. She didn’t hide under a table or a desk. That’s one of things I’ve of clung to throughout this, is that she’s directly responsible for saving many lives,” said Maura.

“There was only one school psychologist at Sandy Hook, only one person…who would put herself in front of a gunman for a child – my mom,” she said.

At Thursday’s Remembrance Ceremony at the Gloucester County Justice Complex, Maura talked about why she refuses to give up fighting for tougher gun laws.

“Can’t let this happen again. This was not in vain; 26 people died and it could have been a lot more,” she said.

Early this week, several Sandy Hook parents went to Trenton to lobby for stronger gun laws. Dozens of gun rights supporters protested.

“All the laws they want, it’s not going to impact the crime or the crazies that go off on a whole classroom of kids and what not,” said Scott Heckler, a part of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.

Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey worked on the Bipartisan gun control bill that failed last month, by five votes. He says it’s unlikely any gun control legislation will come up for a vote anytime soon.

“Right now, since the senate has spoken, we’re not in a position to get a different outcome yet,” Toomey said.

“This is coming back and this is not the end of it,” said Maura.

She says if her mother, Mary Sherlach, could stand up to violence, Schwartz can speak out and stand on the front lines, for gun control.

Schwartz, along with friends and family of Gloucester County victims lost to violence, took colorful, carefully inscribed rocks with their loved one’s name and placed them in the Remembrance Garden outside the courthouse.

Maureen Compton lost her son David.

“It’s hard for the families, but it helps us remember Dave in a good way,” said Compton.