Over 20 dead in Connecticut school shooting

(UPDATED AT 10:23 p.m.) 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.
Associated Press
Dec 14, 2012

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. "As a country, we have been through this too many times," he said.
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.
Authorities gave no details on exactly how the attack unfolded, but police radio traffic indicated the shooting lasted only a few minutes.
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.
State police Lt. Paul Vance said 28 people in all were killed, including the gunman, and a woman who worked at the school 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. Updates posted on Ryan Lanza's Facebook page Friday afternoon 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.
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.
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.
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 purchased five weapons.
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."
Associated Press writers Jim Fitzgerald and Pat Eaton-Robb in Newtown, Bridget Murphy in Boston, Samantha Henry in Newark, N.J., Pete Yost in Washington and Michael Melia in Hartford contributed to this report, as did the AP News Research Center.




Thanks DGMutley.


Fact is that this idiot took out his rage on defenseless people. He picked a place where He knew there would be no weapons. What if??--I say What if?? The Principal, assistant principal, and a chosen few others had been allowed to arm thenselves on school property. You are never in our lifetime going to be able to keep all the guns away from wackos and criminals. The only immediate answer I can sensibly come up with is to protect yourself. Oh sure, The cops were there to protect what was left but do you want to wait valuable seconds not minutes on autority, I don't.

the office cat

Move to Michigan... then even YOU can carry a gun into a school.
These guns were legal. What if he had a conceal/carry permit for schools?


Making tougher laws that effect law abiding citizens does nothing. Even with my limited knowledge of law, I am pretty sure that before 9/11/01 it would have been illegal to hijack a jet airliner and fly it into a building full of people, yet it happened, It happened because criminals do not care what laws they break, that is why they are criminals in the first place. Making it more difficult to obtain a firearm for law abiding citizens is like making it more difficult for sober people to purchase an automobile. Cocain, heroine, Meth just to name a few have been illegal for years, yet we still have a major drug problem don’t we? This just proves making anything illegal does not stop criminals from getting it. The best first step to a possible solution that I can offer up is to beef up and enforce the laws that we already have in place. Let’s place the answer to the problem with the true problem... the criminal. Make mandatory non negotiable sentences for crimes committed. Make the plea bargain next to impossible to obtain for the person committing the crime, not the inanimate object that the criminal used. I understand that in certain situations this strategy would not apply as the criminal may take his own life, but even if you could take all firearms out of the equation, what would stop criminals from using other legally or illegally obtainable mechanisms from committing these senseless acts of violence? Just Saying.


Most of us don't need a book to tell us that firing on little kids is WRONG and EVIL!


I can't help thinkng about the brother of the shooter also. He lost his mother to this and is the one that must live with the mess his brother make, using his name. God hold him close too, please.



I agree.


I think the brother should go after the media for putting his name out there without proof positive of the i.d. of the shooter.

That put him in danger.


The only thing more tragic than what happened in Connecticut is the usual contingent that thinks it has the answer to all of our problems.

Make guns illegal! Yeah, I hate to break it to you, but guns are ALREADY illegal on school grounds. I'm pretty sure that Connecticut is a state where cold-blooded murder is ALSO against the law. Bottom line: Bad guys don't CARE if they break just one more law. The only people who will be hurt by a gun ban are those who actually obey the law, i.e. the GOOD guys (who are now just as defenseless as a disarmed teacher in a kindergarden classroom). And don't even start with how at least the death tolls would be lower if only the bad guy didn't have a gun! Bad guys will ALWAYS be able to get firearms, but even if they can't, remember the murder of over 30 in Japan with a KNIFE? How many little ones do you suppose a backpack bomb would kill? What if some whack job decided to inject poison into the kiddies' milk?

Bring God back into the schools! While I disagree with those schools that refuse to allow after school clubs or activities involving ANY religion, I don't agree that God (or Allah or Buddah or Krishna or whoever) belongs in any classroom outside of the context of a given religion's effect on history or in a comparitive religion setting. Think God in the class would help whether it's constitutional or not? Think again. The vast majority of men (and women) who are in prison for the worst of crimes are (get ready for it) believers.

We need more mental institutions! Maybe. Maybe not. The truth is that everything and anything is being classified as a mental disorder these days, and most of it is no such thing. Drugging kids isn't the answer (most don't need it anyway, but are drugged to make them less "challenging" for parents and teachers — not so very long ago, parents and teachers handled such "challenging" children with a swat on the behind, which typically worked a whole lot better than Ritalin). Those who DO experience a dramatic psychotic break like the Connecticut shooter often do so relatively suddenly and without definitive warning. Had he had mental problems? Apparently. But really, who hasn't? Did anybody think they pointed at anything THIS serious? Obviously not!

The bottom line: Like an expert on school security said on Channel 3 this morning, you can't make schools (or anywhere else) 100% safe. The single most dangerous man alive is the so-called lone wolf who doesn't discuss his plans, who doesn't telegraph his intentions with aberrant behavior, and who doesn't care whether or not he lives in the end. There is NO WAY to stop a determined man who has no need to escape after the mayhem. NONE.

We'd all be better off to talk about why this death toll was so high. Why wasn't the shooter stopped? Maybe because none of the teachers or administrators could defend themselves or their young charges. You think?


@ Starry

Good point, ITA and the other Lanza family who also has a son named Ryan with no relation or connection whatsoever. Those news reports made him a target, too.


I just saw the chief coronor who did seven of the autopsies on these children at the press conference on CNN. He had the help of four doctors and scores of techs and ancillary help. He said they all held it together for now and all the children have been released to funeral homes. They made the identities of the children through pictures the families gave them. This was the worst thing he had done in a third of a century.

People all over the world are showing their respect for the families and no one has any answers about why, what or when this kid snapped, if he did, or what went on. The argument about gun laws and violence won't be answered now any more than it was during the last shootings. It never is until the mental health people get with the gun people and decide what CAN be done.

For now, lets just try to help these families get through this tragedy and hope this poor community gets through the upcoming funerals as best they can this close to Christmas. My heart goes out to the entire community. May God hold those little souls in the palm of His hand for now and all Eternity. May the killer never see the lights of Heaven for taking them. May his mother be with those children as well.

I hope the family of the killer finds peace. What a tragedy. Nothing will ever be explained....as usual. The killer always takes his own life, the act of the coward.


More speculation....*sigh*...the Fat Lady isn't even on stage yet. We don't know what song she's gonna sing, as we've never received a program.