26 dead, including 20 children, in Connecticut school shooting

JESSICA HILL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 12:27 PM
Last updated 11:36 PM
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NEWTOWN, Conn. — 

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Connecticut State Police lead children from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., after a shooting.  SHANNON HICKS/NEWTOWN BEE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
SHANNON HICKS/NEWTOWN BEE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Connecticut State Police lead children from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., after a shooting.

A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside an elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom.

The 20-year-old killer, carrying at least two handguns, committed suicide at the school, bringing the death toll to 28, authorities said.

The rampage, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre that claimed 33 lives in 2007.

"Our hearts are broken today," a tearful President Barack Obama, struggling to maintain his composure, said at the White House. He called for "meaningful action" to prevent such shootings, saying, "As a country, we have been through this too many times."

Police shed no light on the motive for the attack. The gunman, Adam Lanza, was believed to suffer from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to discuss it.

Panicked parents looking for their children raced to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, a prosperous New England community of about 27,000 people 60 miles northeast of New York City. Police told youngsters at the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school to close their eyes as they were led from the building so that they wouldn't see the blood and broken glass.

Schoolchildren — some crying, others looking frightened — were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders.

Law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity said that Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, then drove to the school in her car with at least three guns, including a high-powered rifle that he apparently left in the back of the vehicle, and shot up two classrooms around 9:30 a.m.

A custodian ran through the halls, warning of a gunman on the loose, and someone switched on the intercom, alerting people in the building to the attack — and perhaps saving many lives — by letting them hear the hysteria going on in the school office, a teacher said. Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.

Authorities gave no details on exactly how the attack unfolded, but police radio traffic indicated the shooting lasted only a few minutes. State police Lt. Paul Vance said officers arrived instantaneously, immediately entered the school, searched it completely and found Lanza dead.

In addition to the 20 children, six adults were killed at the school; the principal was believed to be among the dead. A woman who worked at Sandy Hook Elementary was wounded.

A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said investigators believe Lanza attended the school several years ago but appeared to have no recent connection to the place.

At least one parent said Lanza's mother was a substitute teacher there. But her name did not appear on a staff list. And the law enforcement official said investigators were unable to establish any connection so far between her and the school.

Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, but a law enforcement official said he was not believed to have had a role in the rampage. Investigators were searching his computers and phone records, but he told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the unfolding investigation.

At one point, a law enforcement official mistakenly identified the gunman as Ryan Lanza. Brett Wilshe, a friend of Ryan Lanza's, said Lanza told him the gunman may have had his identification. Ryan Lanza apparently posted Facebook page updates Friday afternoon that read, "It wasn't me" and "I was at work."

Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher. "That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."

He said the shooter didn't utter a word.

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs. Teachers told her to get in a corner, he said. "It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said. His daughter was uninjured.

Theodore Varga was in a meeting with other fourth-grade teachers when he heard the gunfire. He said someone had turned on the intercom so that "you could hear people in the office. You could hear the hysteria that was going on. I think whoever did that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror that was transpiring."

Also, a custodian ran around, warning people there was someone with a gun, Varga said.

"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!'" Varga said. "So he was actually a hero." The teacher said he did not know if the custodian survived.

Mergim Bajraliu, 17, said he heard the gunshots echo from his home and ran to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was uninjured, heard a scream come over the intercom. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.

"Everyone was just traumatized," he said.

On Friday night, hundreds of people packed a Newtown church and stood outside in a vigil for the victims. People held hands, lit candles and sang "Silent Night" at St. Rose of Lima church. Anthony Bloss, whose three daughters survived the shootings, said they are doing better than he is. "I'm numb. I'm completely numb," he said at the vigil.

Mary Pendergast said her 9-year-old nephew was in the school at the time of the shooting but wasn't hurt after his music teacher helped him take cover in a closet.

Richard Wilford's 7-year-old son, Richie, told him that he heard a noise that sounded like "cans falling." The boy said a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the children huddle in the corner until police arrived.

"There's no words," Wilford said. "It's sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him."

On Friday afternoon, family members were led away from a firehouse that was being used as a staging area, some of them weeping. One man, wearing a T-shirt without a jacket, put his arms around a woman as they walked down the middle of the street, oblivious to everything around them. Another woman with tears rolling down her face walked by, carrying a car seat with a baby inside.

"Evil visited this community today and it's too early to speak of recovery, but each parent, each sibling, each member of the family has to understand that Connecticut — we're all in this together. We'll do whatever we can to overcome this event," Gov. Dannel Malloy said.

Adam Lanza and his mother lived in a well-to-do part of Newtown where neighbors are doctors or hold white-collar positions at companies such as General Electric, Pepsi and IBM.

At least three guns were found — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a .223-caliber rifle in the back of a car, authorities said. A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of the guns used in the attack may have belonged to Lanza's mother, who had legally bought five weapons.

Authorities also recovered three other guns — a Henry repeating rifle, an Enfield rifle and a shotgun. It was not clear exactly where those weapons were found.

The shootings instantly brought to mind such tragedies as the Columbine High School massacre that killed 15 in 1999 and the July shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead.

"You go to a movie theater in Aurora and all of a sudden your life is taken," Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis said. "You're at a shopping mall in Portland, Ore., and your life is taken. This morning, when parents kissed their kids goodbye knowing that they are going to be home to celebrate the holiday season coming up, you don't expect this to happen."

He added: "It has to stop, these senseless deaths."

Obama's comments on the tragedy amounted to one of the most outwardly emotional moments of his presidency.

"The majority of those who died were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," Obama said.

He paused for several seconds to keep his composure as he teared up and wiped an eye. Nearby, two aides cried and held hands as they listened to Obama.

"They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own," Obama continued about the victims. "Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children."

SOME OF THE DEADLIEST MASS SHOOTINGS AROUND WORLD
  • AUG. 5, 2012: Army veteran Wade Michael Page kills five men and one woman and wounds three other people, including a police officer, before taking his own life at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin outside Milwaukee.
  • JULY 20, 2012: At least 12 people are killed when a gunman enters an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, releases a canister of gas and then opens fire during opening night of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” James Holmes, a 24-year-old former graduate student at the University of Colorado, has been charged in the deaths.
  • MARCH 11, 2012: Sixteen Afghan villagers, including nine children, are killed during a predawn attack in which Army prosecutors have charged Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39.
  • JULY 22, 2011: Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik kills 77 in Norway in twin attacks: a bombing in downtown Oslo and a shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital. The self-styled anti-Muslim militant admitted both attacks.
  • NOV. 5, 2009: Thirteen soldiers and civilians were killed and more than two dozen wounded when a gunman walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, and opened fire. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.
  • APRIL 30, 2009: Farda Gadyrov, 29, enters the prestigious Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in the capital, Baku, armed with an automatic pistol and clips. He kills 12 people before killing himself as police close in.
  • MARCH 10, 2009: Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people — including his mother, four other relatives, and the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy — across two rural Alabama counties. He then killed himself.
  • SEPT. 23, 2008: Matti Saari, 22, walks into a vocational college in Kauhajoki, Finland, and opens fire, killing 10 people and burning their bodies with firebombs before shooting himself fatally in the head.
  • NOV. 7, 2007: After revealing plans for his attack in YouTube postings, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen fires kills eight people at his high school in Tuusula, Finland.
  • APRIL 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, kills 32 people and himself on Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va.
  • APRIL 26, 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, who had been expelled from school in Erfurt, Germany, kills 13 teachers, two former classmates and policeman, before committing suicide.
  • APRIL 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school’s library.

Source: The Associated Press

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David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/14/12 - 01:09 pm
9
1
When I see events like this,

When I see events like this, part of me believes the world just may end in a week. The other part of me thinks maybe it would be for the better. SMGDH

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 01:26 pm
4
1
My thoughts exactly David
Unpublished

My thoughts exactly David Parker. Lord have mercy.

Farmboy
1013
Points
Farmboy 12/14/12 - 01:29 pm
7
1
OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/14/12 - 01:46 pm
7
6
Awaiting more facts

My sincerest prayers to every parent of a kid in that school.

The dead 20 year old person was obviously not mentally stable.
There still questions if there was a 2nd shooter?

There so many questions yet to be asked and answered.

Unlike our President, I am awaiting additional information on the Shooter(s) before greater comment.

Update:
Just a few minutes ago President Obama indicated he will seek greater gun controls and some possible BANS.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 01:48 pm
7
9
A gun in a criminal's hand
Unpublished

A gun in a criminal's hand will always be there........because he is a criminal. Has America not learned that Obama has all the wrong answers yet. SMGDH!!!!

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 02:17 pm
8
2
Petitions need to be drawn up
Unpublished

Petitions need to be drawn up and signed!!!!! Voices need to start coming out of the wood work and be heard!!!! We need police officers or the alike in all schools across this country keeping our kids safe!! 1 or 2 officers per school! We can make it so there is some electronic device that wont allow a single soul to walk in any school without a card-type scan-type entry! WE NEED HOPE AND CHANGE! And getting rid of the legality of guns is NOT THE ANSWER! I hope someone comes up with something because I just dont have the energy needed to lead. But I will follow!

Of course there is no way to prevent everything, but we can sure as heck make it harder!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/14/12 - 02:30 pm
2
1
Shooter - Ryan Lanza

Facebook has already removed his Facebook page

Posted materials drying up and being removed as quickly as they are being uncovered.

CobaltGeorge
174953
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/14/12 - 02:42 pm
7
3
In 73 Years

of my life, I have only trully had flowing tears twice in my eyes. One for the cold blooded killing of one of my sons and Right Now.

There are no words in any language that can describe the feelings going through the decent parents of 18 - 5 years olds that are no longer part of their life's except for a nightmare memory that will live with them forever. Families of 10 others have also been changed beyond words for their remaining life's.

The big news now is the ban against guns, never considering the piece of POO that took those life's. All this sick pile of cells did with an inhuman action was to throw gasoline on the 2nd and gave the Hammer & Sickle Man what he needed to fulfill his sick dreams.

God, If you hear me, please, oh please use your divine power to help all your children that have been involved.

happychimer
19503
Points
happychimer 12/14/12 - 02:42 pm
5
6
President Obama is not

President Obama is not discussing gun laws today.his press secretary said this....White House Responds To Elementary School Shooting: ‘Today Is Not The Day’ To Discuss Gun Laws

happychimer
19503
Points
happychimer 12/14/12 - 02:48 pm
2
4
President Obama will make a

President Obama will make a statement at 3:15

CobaltGeorge
174953
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/14/12 - 02:51 pm
6
7
He May Not

discuss it, but I can assure you his heart is filled with it more than the feeling of the victims.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 03:02 pm
8
2
his little "apology" should
Unpublished

his little "apology" should be followed by a proposed solution ey? Or do some just look to their almighty leader for an "Im sorry to hear" and that is satisfactory enough. When you can explain why there are still crackheads when crack is illegal and CHILDREN dying because of meth, and God knows whatever else out there that is illegal then perhaps I will understand your point of view of making guns illegal. It is a much happier place when your eyes are shut.

happychimer
19503
Points
happychimer 12/14/12 - 03:04 pm
5
10
There is no use in being so

There is no use in being so negative. Yall would blame the President for anything and everything, and that is wrong to do that. I don't understand the logic of that. I can think of a few I don't care for, but I don't dwell on them. I don't let them control every thought that enters my mind. I don't like Mccain and Palin and quite a few others, but I put them out of my mind.It is time to accept what we can't change.

happychimer
19503
Points
happychimer 12/14/12 - 03:07 pm
3
13
I don't have the answers to

I don't have the answers to what can be done to stop these killings, but I do think some type of gun control should be put in place.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 03:08 pm
4
6
It is time to accept what we can't change.
Unpublished

Wow. Just wow.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 03:10 pm
7
4
It is time to accept what we can't change.
Unpublished

It is this sort of weakness that is fine being spoon feed socialism.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 03:14 pm
8
2
I do think some type of gun control should be put in place.
Unpublished

Yes, because guns are the only way insane ppl can kill innocent ppl. SMH. Do you know what the current laws/requirements are in order to purchase/receive a gun legally? Do you know what the guy downtown on the corner of a dark alley street requires from you to purchase a gun from him?

happychimer
19503
Points
happychimer 12/14/12 - 03:15 pm
2
5
accept what we can't chang.

accept what we can't change. yes......Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;the courage to change the things I can;and the wisdom to know the difference.

happychimer
19503
Points
happychimer 12/14/12 - 03:18 pm
3
5
oneofthesane so you are

oneofthesane so you are saying the Serenity Prayer is weakness. My goodness! how wrong you are!

happychimer
19503
Points
happychimer 12/14/12 - 03:19 pm
4
4
Our Father who art in

Our Father who art in Heaven......

CobaltGeorge
174953
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/14/12 - 03:25 pm
4
2
Meaningful Action Taken

Meaningful Action Taken Regardless Of Politics!

justthefacts
24891
Points
justthefacts 12/14/12 - 03:28 pm
13
0
China

Today in China "A knife-wielding man slashed 22 children and an adult at an elementary school in central China on Friday, state media reported, the latest in a series of attacks on schoolchildren in the country." Whatever the weapon, deranged people will find a way. Sympathies to all affected families. Horrible tragedy.

CobaltGeorge
174953
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/14/12 - 03:33 pm
7
7
I Knew It

Someone would say we can't blame the Hammer & Sickle Man for what happen today........

The desire and almost completed words of 4 years ago, "I Will Transform America" has a lot to do what happen today.

oneofthesane
2201
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oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 03:42 pm
4
2
oneofthesane so you are saying the Serenity Prayer is weakness
Unpublished

apples and oranges. What does prayer have to do with government that ppl vote into office? I am speaking of the democratic views of wanting to ban our right to bare arms and this horrific horrific situation will be an example that they will use. Your deceiving maneuvering "stuff" doesn't work well. It is quite possible for ppl to stand up for what is right and MAKE it very hard for laws to take affect. Heard of the story of the man in a flood ontop of his roof that turned away a helicopter and a boat offering to save him and him turning them away and saying that God will help him and then what did God tell him?

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 04:01 pm
5
2
the courage to change the things I can;and the wisdom to know th
Unpublished

The difference here is that some know it takes alot of work to make humanly-possible change and others are weak and look to an easier way out. There is nothing wrong with praying when you have a flat tire that help arrives, but it is also quite possible to get out of the car and change the dang tire yourself.

soapy_725
44049
Points
soapy_725 12/14/12 - 04:19 pm
0
1
Obama's tears are PC tears
Unpublished

"They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own," Obama continued about the victims. "Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children."

This from a man who considers pulling a living baby feet first from its mother's womb and injecting chemicals into its brain to kill it before delivery. Late term abortions are no problem for him. Just late, late abortions. Human life or human life Mr Obama? You, Obama, exemplify what is sick in America.

ken8375309
1777
Points
ken8375309 12/14/12 - 04:22 pm
6
5
Very sad news.. Some of you

Very sad news.. Some of you really need to keep your political diatribe to yourself..

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 12/14/12 - 04:29 pm
4
12
Until we turn from our evil
Unpublished

Until we turn from our evil ways and repent...
My God, when will we have gun control laws here in America. Its only gonna get worse before it gets better.
My God.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 12/14/12 - 04:32 pm
9
5
"Whatever the weapon, deranged people will find a way."
Unpublished

This is true. But as a nation, I don't think we need to make it easy for these sickos to do their killing.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/14/12 - 04:39 pm
6
5
Some of you really need to keep your political diatribe to yours
Unpublished

Ummm.....when tragedy like this happens we MUST look at a solution or solutions to make CHANGE if we HOPE for this sort of thing to never happen again. With a solution or solutions comes law or laws....with laws comes POLITICS. I cannot be the only one that understands the clear connection. Something has got to be done.

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