Gunman Opens Fire At A CT Elementary School

President Obama: "I know there's not a parent in America that doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10.

They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own."

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Dressed in black fatigues and a military vest, a heavily armed man walked into a Connecticut elementary school Friday and opened fire, shattering the quiet of this southern New England town and leaving the nation reeling at the number of young lives lost.

Within minutes, 26 people were dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School -- 20 of them children. Among the six adults killed were Dawn Hochsprung, the school's beloved principal, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach.

The shooter, identified by three law enforcement officials as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, also was killed, apparently by his own hand. Separately, his mother's body was found at a Newtown residence.

"Stuff like this does not happen in Newtown," a tight-knit community of about 27,000 just outside Danbury, said Renee Burn, a local teacher at another school in town. In the past 10 years, only one homicide had previously been reported.

With the death toll at 26, the Newtown shooting is the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind only the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead.

"Evil visited this community today," Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said of Friday's massacre.
Young students described being ushered into bathrooms and closets by teachers as the first shots rang out. Janet Vollmer, a kindergarten teacher, locked her classroom doors, covered the windows and read a story to her 19 students to keep them calm.
Third-grader Alexis Wasik said police and teachers barged into her classroom and told students to hide in the corner.

"Everybody was crying," she said. "And I just heard the police officers yelling."
One parent who was in the school at the time of the shooting said she heard a "pop, pop, pop," sound around 9:30 a.m. In the room with her were Hochsprung, the vice principal and Sherlach. All three left the room and went into the hall to see what was happening. The parent ducked under the table and called 911.

"I cowered," she told CNN's Meredith Artley. The shooter "must have shot a hundred rounds."

Responding police officers helped evacuate the children, telling them to hold hands and keep their eyes closed to the carnage as they exited the building.

As reports of the shooting surfaced, frantic parents descended on a nearby firehouse where the children had been taken.

"Why? Why?" one woman wailed as she walked up a wooded roadway leading from the school.

Police declined to speculate on a motive Friday evening, citing the ongoing investigation. Lanza had no known criminal record, a law enforcement official said.
Alex Israel, a former classmate of Lanza's, described him as "quiet" and "reserved."

"You could definitely tell he was a genius," Israel told CNN, adding she hadn't talked with him since middle school. "He was really quiet, he kept to himself."

Three weapons were recovered from the school: a semi-automatic .223 Bushmaster found in a car in the school parking lot, and a Glock and a Sig Sauer found with Lanza's body, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said. The weapons were legally purchased by Lanza's mother, the official said.

The official said Lanza died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said that the medical examiner will determine the cause of death for the gunman, though he noted that police never discharged their weapons.

In addition to the killings at Sandy Hook, another adult was found dead at a second location in Newtown, Vance said. A law enforcement source with detailed knowledge of the investigation identified that person as Lanza's mother, Nancy. She was a teacher at Sandy Hook, sources said.

Meanwhile, authorities in Hoboken, New Jersey, were questioning Ryan Lanza, the suspect's older brother, law enforcement sources said, though they did not label him a suspect. Lanza's father, who lives in Connecticut, was similarly questioned, one of the law enforcement officials said.

Earlier, investigators had identified Ryan Lanza as the shooter. It was not clear what caused the confusion among investigators.

The fact that so many of those killed were young children -- Sandy Hook serves students in kindergarten through fourth grade -- touched a nerve across the world Friday, from U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders expressing grief to regular folks reacting with horror on social media as the news unfolded. The overwhelming sentiment: Hug your kids closely.

Obama, a father of two girls, wiped away tears while delivering a statement about the shooting, saying, "Our hearts are broken today."

"The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," he said.

The bodies of the young victims remained where they fell Friday night, as authorities worked to positively identify them.

Flags were ordered to fly at half-staff nationwide in tribute to the victims, and candlelight vigils were planned across the country as Americans came together to try to comprehend the tragedy.

At a vigil in Newtown, just a mile away from the school, mourners spilled from St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which was filled to capacity.

"This is most definitely the worst thing we've experienced in town," Newtown Police Lt. George Sinko said.

Parents, meanwhile, struggled to come up with answers for their children who were among those safely evacuated Friday.

"It's a very rough night here," Aimee Seaver told "AC 360." "When your first-grader goes to bed and says, 'Mommy, is anyone from my class last year -- are they all OK?' and you look at them and say, 'I'm not really sure,' it's a rough night to tell that to your 7-year-old."

It is not yet known how the gunman entered the school.

Hochsprung, the slain principal, had recently installed a new security system to ensure student safety.

Under the new system, every visitor was required to ring a doorbell at the front entrance after the doors locked at 9:30 a.m. and report to the main office to sign in.
Police began receiving reports of shots fired around 9:40 a.m. Friday.

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Students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown were evacuated from the school this morning after a reported shooting.

There is no confirmation of fatalities by police. Three people have been taken to Danbury Hospital, a hospital official said.

The school is located at 12 Dickinson Drive. Newtown emergency officials are telling parents to stay by their phone, not to go to the school.

A witness told News 8 she saw two children, one had a bloody face, the other with a hand injury.

The children were taken to a nearby fire station, where parents and scores of police and other first responders were staging.

News 8's Kent Pierce reports emergency responders from several towns, along with the FBI, are on the scene.

Gov. Dannel Malloy's office said via Twitter "State Police are coordinating w/ federal & local authorities in Newtown. Will provide add'l updates as they become available."

A photo taken by the Newtown Bee newspaper shows children being led from the school by police. The paper reported one child was carried from the school by a police officer, but police have not confirmed any injuries.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance would not confirm what is happening, but he told News 8 that several troopers are responding to the school at the request of Newtown police.

A message posted on the school's website made no mention of the shooting, but said "Afternoon kindergarten is cancelled today, December 14th. There will be no mid-day bus runs."

The Associated Press citing officials, says a gunman has been killed after a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

The AP reports the anonymous official said the gunman was armed with two weapons.

The Danbury News-Times also reports sources say the Sandy Hook School principal was killed in the Newtown shooting.

Police were expected to hold a news conference some time after 12:30 pm. to give official details about what

The mom who spoke to CNN's Meredith Artley said she heard "at least 100 rounds" being fired.

The shooting began about 9:35 a.m., the parent said. There was a "pop pop pop" in the hall outside the room. Three people (sources say: the principle, vice principle, and school psychologist) went out of the room into the hall where the sounds had come from. "Only one person came back," we were told.

The witness told Artley that she then called 911. She said she never saw the shooter but she later was escorted outside the room past two bodies lying in blood.

More than a dozen people, including elementary school children, were shot and killed at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school this morning, federal and state sources tell ABC News.

A shooting involving two gunmen erupted at a Connecticut school this morning, prompting the town of Newtown to lock down all of its schools and draw SWAT teams to the school, authorities said today.

State Police confirm that one shooter is dead. A second gunman is apparently at large. Car-to-car searches are underway.

It's unclear how many people have been shot, but more than a dozen people including school children are dead, multiple federal and state sources tell ABC News.

The Associated Press reports "An official with knowledge of a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school says 27 people are dead, including 18 children."

The gunman is among those dead, according to multiple reports. It's unclear if there was a second gunman.

ABC News ABC's Chris Cuomo reports one shooter was 24 years old, armed with four weapons and wearing a bulletproof vest

The Connecticut Post reports state medical examiners are asking for help from other states to assist with the dead.

Police were expected to hold a news conference this afternoon to discuss the shooting.

The death toll is closer to 30 than 20, a federal law enforcement source in Washington told CNN's John King. Most of those killed are children, the source said.

CNN's Susan Candiotti has just reported that a law enforcement official tells her the suspect is named Ryan Lanza and he is in his 20s.

A teacher's son clad in black and carrying two handguns rampaged through a Connecticut elementary school Friday, killing 18 small children and seven adults, including his mother, in the nation’s second-worst school massacre, law enforcement officials said.

The gunman, identified as Ryan Lanza, 24, was also found dead at the scene, a federal law enforcement official said. Lanza's mother is a kindergarten teacher at the Newtown school.

A second person is in custody for a possible connection to the shooting.

A dead body has also been found in his parents’ home, officials said.

Gunman Ryan Lanza’s mother found among the dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Another member of Lanza's family was found shot to death at home in Newtown. His brother, Adam Lanza, was being questioned to see what, if anything, he knows, Dienst reported.

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance has just said that the shooting took place in one section of the school and in two rooms.

There were a total of 27 people dead at the school, Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said.

Six adults, 20 children and the shooter were killed. Eighteen students were pronounced dead at the scene, and two others died at the hospital, said Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police. The six adults died at the scene.

A federal law enforcement source tells CNN's John King the information from the scene is that the shooter arrived and headed directly toward and to his mother’s classroom. That and the other information now emerging - another family member killed, police interviews - lead them to believe his mother was the primary target. But they note he also came armed with clear intention of mass killing.

Federal law enforcement sources now say Connecticut school shooting gunman was Adam Lanza, 20, and not his brother Ryan Lanza, 24, as earlier reported. Adam was found dead in the school along with his mother, a kindergarten teacher there.