BROOKFIELD, Conn. (AP) — A newly elected school board member in a Connecticut town neighboring the one where 26 people were killed at an elementary school has apologized for saying on Facebook that he'll observe the anniversary of the Newtown shooting by distributing ammunition.
Gregory Beck of Brookfield was referring to a tribute known as "26 Days of Kindness," which began Tuesday and runs through Dec. 14, the anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The social media campaign asks participants to donate to charity or give of themselves in other ways to remember the 20 children and six educators who were killed. Beck wrote on Facebook that his acts of kindness would be to distribute ammunition to friends who are gun enthusiasts on each of the 26 days.
Beck said Wednesday his comment was not intended to be malicious and that he recognizes it was insensitive and indefensible.
"It is said that hindsight is 20/20 and looking back I should never have even conceived of making the comment," he said. "For this reason, I unequivocally apologize to the citizens of Brookfield, Newtown and all others who I have offended or hurt. I am sorry for my mistake and ask for your forgiveness, which I hope to earn over time."
Beck, 26, recently ran for the Board of Education on an independent party line known as A Brookfield Party, and was endorsed by Republicans, who have since called on him to not take office. He is scheduled to be sworn in on Dec. 1.
Robert Gianazza, chairman of A Brookfield Party, said Beck's comment reflects a frustration among some about how the Newtown shooting became a call to restrict the rights of legitimate gun owners.
Beck is a dispatcher for the town's emergency services department, and his Facebook post drew criticism from First Selectman Bill Davidson and Police Chief Robin Montgomery. Beck made an "extremely insensitive comment that is totally inappropriate," but he used his personal cellphone and the brief time it took to post his comment "in no way detracted from his duties," the two officials said in a statement.
He will not be disciplined, Davidson and Montgomery said.