With no chance for preparation, she was called upon to handle a situation she never in her worst nightmares could have imagined, with no guidebook or protocols on how to proceed.
But for all the horror of the situation - in which a troubled young man gunned down his mother as she lay in bed, then drove to the school and executed 20 first-graders and six educators - it was not the first time a public official faced such an unthinkable scenario.
In fact, for a very select group of local elected officials across the country, it has become all too
As the grim news poured in from Newtown that day in mid-December, all Aurora, Colo., Mayor Steve Hogan could think to himself was "Oh God, not again."
It had been almost five months to the day since the Aurora theater shootings that left 12 dead and 70 injured as moviegoers packed into a sold out premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises." Hogan - who found HIS life forever changed that day - and his sprawling suburban Denver community were still trying to heal.
"It just appeared so incomprehensible and I had that same surreal experience that brought me back to July 20," Hogan said of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. "And to see it was all mostly children just amplified it even more and my heart just sank."
"So I just began to type and I sent the first selectwoman an e-mail expressing our deepest sympathies from Aurora, Colo.," said Hogan. He said he also had offered words of comfort and advice to Oak Creek, Wis., Mayor Steve Scaffidi after a gunman opened fire at a Sikh Temple in that community, killing six people and injuring three on Aug. 5.
"I also expressed to her she needs to really to look to needs of the city from victims to first responders, these individuals will forever be changed by what they saw in that school and now must live with each day for the rest of their lives," Hogan said.
"There's going to be lasting effects for a wide range of people in that community."
From the very start, Llodra has had the support and guidance of distant counterparts such as Hogan, Scaffidi and Tucson, Ariz., Mayor Jonathan Rothschild to help her deal with a range of issues after the shootings.
On Jan. 8, 2011, a gunman opened fire in a Tucson supermarket where U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was meeting with constituents, killing six people and injuring 11, including Giffords.
"Steve Hogan reached out to me very early on. I got a personal phone message from him. I got several letters from him of support," Llodra said. "I don't know that I've ever had an actual conversation with him" but "he let me know that he understands the perspective ... because he, too, found himself dealing with this horror ... helping a community heal ... trying to understand everyone's point of view," she said.
What also is striking about the communication from Hogan "is the similarity to (the advice from) almost every other community I've had, from folks that have dealt with these same issues," Llodra said.
Following the Dec. 14 attack, "all of us as leaders who have had this experience and many, many, others are really trying to address these issues of gun control and mental health."
The communication to Llodra from Tucson Mayor Rothschild "stands out in its similarity to Steve's," she said. "That mayor is calling for the same kinds of things that I'm calling for, and he's calling for it in a state where that is not the position of state government."
Hogan, meanwhile, "understands that the solution for Newtown has to be Newtown-specific ... and I really appreciate that - and I'm finding that it's the same with other leaders," Llodra said.
All of the other leaders have stressed "the importance of community voice, of letting the community talk about it ... and giving people that chance to grow, to heal," she said.
All of the other leaders also are telling her, "You have to have a belief that your community will heal. ... You have to understand that that solution is out there, and that you will reach it," even if there's "an ebb and flow along the way, Llodra said.
Each of them also "stress the importance of taking care of myself," including the need "to get enough rest," she said.
Hogan said his advice to both Llodra and Scaffidi was similar to what he received from Rothschild and Jonesboro, Ark., Mayor Harold Perrin, who leads a community that was deeply affected by a March 24, 1998, mass shooting that killed five people and injured 29.
"What I had received from those individuals who lived in those communities and had experienced tragic shootings was invaluable," Hogan said. "And I just felt a sense of responsibility to pass it along to Newtown and Oak Creek because we're all tied together in having to deal with such sorrow."
Hogan said that time will only help her and Newtown.
"Each day is different and members of the community mourn differently," Hogan said. "They, like Aurora, will just have to take life one day at a time." Call Mark Zaretsky at 203-789-5722.