NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A South Carolina company that has installed protective window coverings at the U.S. Capitol and other buildings around the world is apologizing for an email advertisement that used a photo of the shot-out entrance to a Connecticut elementary school where 20 children and six adults were killed.
Commercial Window Shield of Taylors, S.C., sent the email Tuesday to school officials across Connecticut. The email said the window coverings can stop bullets and keep out intruders. It included a police crime scene photo of Sandy Hook Elementary School's front entrance after it was shot out by the school shooter in Newtown in December 2012.
The ad upset officials in Newtown and other towns. Some officials contacted the company, which immediately apologized.
"Although it was not our intention, we understand that the email was insensitive and disrespectful," Sarah Staley and Adam Staley of Commercial Window Shield wrote in an email to Newtown First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra on Wednesday. "We ask that you are able to forgive us for this gross misjudgment as we did not mean to re-open unhealed wounds.
"Our intention was not to profit from a tragedy," the email said. "We took the wrong approach with the email, and would like to offer our most sincere apologies. ... The fact that I have unintentionally disrespected those affected by this tragedy makes me sick."
Adam Staley, the company's vice president, said Friday that the company immediately apologized and retracted the email. He declined to comment beyond the email sent to Llodra.
Llodra said she was more concerned than upset that the company used the school photo in its ad. She called it inappropriate.
"We're hyper-vigilant because of this horrible event, so we're quick to respond, quick to react," Llodra said Friday. "There's no hard feelings here. I bear no ill will. People make mistakes."
Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek, whose town is right next to Newtown, said the company's ad showed "what is wrong with this country."
"I just think it's the wrong thing to do to profit off a crime like this and show pictures of it," he told WVIT-TV.
Commercial Window Shield's website says it has installed "fragment retention window film" at the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, Pentagon, FBI, Grand Central Station in New York, the Willis Tower in Chicago and more than two dozen U.S. embassies around the world.
Besides South Carolina, the company has offices in Alexandria, Va., Bonita Springs, Fla., and Toledo, Ohio.