Man kills 26, including 20 kids, at Conn. elementary school

In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)

In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)

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— 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."

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Comments » 16

RayPray writes:
Hardleymarco writes:

Could someone at the newspaper show some compassion and some level of dignity and remove the front page picture of that lady experiencing the worst nightmare imaginable.
Extremely sad beyond belief,

26yearsonmarco writes:

I THINK THE WORST REMARK REGARDING THIS HORRIBLE TRAGEDY SO FAR WAS THE NEWS PERSON SAYING HE SAW A PARENT TAKE THE BABY SEAT OUT OF THEIR CAR, AND PUTING IT IN THE TRUNK, BECAUSE THE PARENT KNOWS HE OR SHE WILL NOT NEED IT ANYMORE.

THIS JERK IS COMPLETLY HEARTLESS, SAID IT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE, AND NEVER EVEN SHED A FAKE TEAR LIKE OUR WONDERFUL DEEP HEARTED PRESIDENT.

WHY CAN’T THESE A-HOLES JUST LEAVE THESE PEOPLE ALONE SO THEY CAN WORK THINGS OUT BY THEMSELVES WITHOUT ANY INTERFERENCE FROM PEOPLE WITH THEIR OWN AGENDAS CLIMBING ALL OVER THEM.

REMEMBER THE SAYING: NEVER LET A TRAGEDY GO TO WASTE BECAUSE IT'S JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE LEFT FIGURES OUT A WAY TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THIS TRAGEDY BASED ON OBAMAS REMARKS, AND TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE POOR SOULS WHO HAVE SUFFERED AND DIED.

I CANNOT EVEN IMANGINE WHAT THESE FOLKS ARE GOING THROUGH BECAUSE MY EYES ARE FILLED WITH TRUE TEARS JUST THINKING ABOUT MY OWN CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.

RayPray writes:

Week 1:

---Blame it all on Rush Limbaugh & Sarah Palin 'Clime of Hate'
---Lots of gun control posturing
---TV psychologists clean up explaining the motivation
---Mourner in Chief, Obama, gets a tear
---Giraldo Rivera pilgrimage to Newtown, chokes up on camera

Week 2:

---Televised funerals & memorial 'Celebration of Life'
---More gun control chatter
---Usual TV authorities solemnly wonder how we as a nation can ever reach Closure

Week 3:

---Closure achieved as TV shifts to News Years stories

1Paradiselost writes:

26...

You a classless piece of Dog schtuff..

2themoon writes:

When describing in such "sorrow" the events that took place our grief stricken leader only mentioned the words "Me" "myself" and "I" over 100 times in his speech, ummm mr. president..the election is over, can you talk about the victims and their loved ones...please....

1Paradiselost writes:

President Obama Makes a Statement on the Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIA0W6...#!

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

President Obama Makes a Statement on the Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIA0W6...#!

NICE SPEACH, 1PEE, I WONDER WHO WROTE IT, AND TOLD HIM WHEN TO TOUCH HIS EYES???

THE LAST THING THESE GOD LOVING CHRISTIAN PARENTS, AND CHILDREN, OF NEWTON NEED TODAY, IS THE CHAOS SURROUNDING A PRESIDENTIAL VISIT ON A SUNDAY, OR ANY OTHER DAY.

PLEASE, OBAMA, LEAVE THE PEOPLE OF NEWTON ALONE SO THEY CAN SORT THINGS OUT BY THEMSELVES, AND STOP TRYING TO USE THEM TO ADVANCE YOUR AGENDA.

1Paradiselost writes:

26 both you and Moon have got to spend some time on your doctors couch.

This is the job of the president, All presidents, to calm the nation and make us as a people come together.

I'm sorry that you both are to sick and full of hate to know the pain American feels over this tragedy.

We the readers of this paper know from your past posts that your both racists who hate the black man who is YOUR president.

Here is another great President doing his job during a national tragedy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEjXjf...

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

KLAUS,

If I reading you right, you are suggesting Obama do the same thing Hitler did by banning all guns.

GEE, we all know how that turned out.

RayPray writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

26 both you and Moon have got to spend some time on your doctors couch.

This is the job of the president, All presidents, to calm the nation and make us as a people come together.

I'm sorry that you both are to sick and full of hate to know the pain American feels over this tragedy.

We the readers of this paper know from your past posts that your both racists who hate the black man who is YOUR president.

Here is another great President doing his job during a national tragedy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEjXjf...

"This is the job of the president, All presidents, to calm the nation and make us as a people come together."

>>> Where is this so-called job listed in the Constitution?

>>> In that document wasn't this calming & coming together mission designated for Oprah, Giraldo Rivera & Dr. Phil???

>>> How about if I am already calm & don't want to come together?

>>> Dictatorships are where peons have to come together when the tyrant in charge stages his TV tears....

1Paradiselost writes:

Ray.....

Long before TV and Oprah, Geraldo Rivera & Dr. Phil. There was this guy who traveled to Gettysburg to address a group of 300 to heal the nations wounds over a bloody civil war.

That man was Lincoln!

Since then at times of national tragedy our leaders (Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Regan, Bush, Clinton and now Obama) just to name a few. Those leaders step up to help the grieving hearts of this great nation while families are burying their dead.

They don't console the living because its in their job description, they do it to let the grieving know that this country, America morns with them.

Ray that could have been your son or daughter shot in that attack. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

I'm sorry you feel you have to marginalize the deaths of 20 innocent children for political reasons?

RayPray writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

Ray.....

Long before TV and Oprah, Geraldo Rivera & Dr. Phil. There was this guy who traveled to Gettysburg to address a group of 300 to heal the nations wounds over a bloody civil war.

That man was Lincoln!

Since then at times of national tragedy our leaders (Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Regan, Bush, Clinton and now Obama) just to name a few. Those leaders step up to help the grieving hearts of this great nation while families are burying their dead.

They don't console the living because its in their job description, they do it to let the grieving know that this country, America morns with them.

Ray that could have been your son or daughter shot in that attack. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

I'm sorry you feel you have to marginalize the deaths of 20 innocent children for political reasons?

"to heal the nations wounds over a bloody civil war.

That man was Lincoln!"

>>> Since it was Honest Abe -- who trashed the Constitution & suspended Habeas Corpus to launched the Civil War that was supposed to be over by Xmas but ended killing 750,000 Americans, seems the least he could do.

"Ray that could have been your son or daughter shot in that attack."

>>> Only thing worse would be to have some canting social worker interrupt his busy schedule of Wall Street & Hollywood fund-raising to helicopter in for a calculated tear & quick photo op.

"...you have to marginalize the deaths of 20 innocent children for political reasons?"

>>> Precisely what our buttery Obama, not I, is doing here....

1Paradiselost writes:

Only three words will due here..

Ray, Your pathetic!

RayPray writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

Only three words will due here..

Ray, Your pathetic!

Actually, you advance merely two words...

...& got one wrong....

Possessive? Contraction?

Tsk Tsk Tsk

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to RayPray:

Actually, you advance merely two words...

...& got one wrong....

Possessive? Contraction?

Tsk Tsk Tsk

What did you expect from 1PEABRAIN???

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