Connecticut police said Friday afternoon that 26 people, including 20 children, were killed at an elementary school after a gunman opened fire. Another adult was killed at a second location.
Police in Newtown, CT were called to the Sandy Hook School at about 9:30 a.m. after receiving a 911 call. They alerted Connecticut State Police and authorities began an active shooter investigation once they arrived at the school, according to Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance.
Authorities said the gunman was found dead inside the school. He was allegedly armed with four guns and a high-powered assault rifle. Authorities said during a press conference that they have retrieved three weapons from the scene.
A parent interviewed on CBS News told the network that his 8-year-old daughter said she heard an argument and cursing over the school’s loudspeaker, apparently coming from the principal’s office. Her teacher then immediately locked the classroom door as a safety precaution. A fourth-grade student at Sandy Hook School told Connecticut’s Channel 7 that he and his classmates were “locked in a closet in the gym” to escape the gunman.
One mother of an 8-year-old girl at the school, Brenda Lebinski, told Patch that her daughter is safe thanks to one teacher's decision to move all kids into a closet when the gunman entered the building.
The Shooter and His Family
Police have not identified the shooter, but reports have said the suspect’s mother was a kindergarten teacher at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT, a town of about 28,000 people an hour outside Stamford where the shooting rampage took place.
Media reports initially identified the shooter as 24-year-old Ryan Lanza. However, Patch has learned that Lanza told friends his developmentally disabled brother, Adam Lanza, may have committed the crime.
Lanza’s friend, who declined to be identified, told Patch he spoke to Ryan Lanza as he was headed home from his job in Hoboken, NJ. Ryan Lanza wrote on his Facebook page that he is not the shooter.
“I’m on the bus now, it wasn’t me,” he wrote.
Lanza’s mother, Nancy, a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook, is believed to be among the dead. According to reports, the shooting took place in her classroom. Eighteen children were killed at the scene, while two were taken to the hospital where they later died. The school’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung, also was among the six adults killed. Authorities said another adult at a different location was killed in the incident.
The shooting, one of the deadliest in U.S. history, has once again touched a nerve about the country’s gun violence.
During a press conference this afternoon, President Obama visibly wept, saying "we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
The president also said “our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well. For as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early."