A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 people, 20 of them young children.
What is known so far:
31 min ago By John Christoffersen of Associated Press
A former student at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is suspected of killing 20 children at the school. Six adults died, as did the shooter. Another person is reported dead in Newtown in a related shooting.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — A man killed his mother at 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, who law enforcement sources identified as Adam Lanza, carried two handguns and committed suicide at the school, bringing the death toll to 28, authorities said.
A law enforcement official says some guns owned by Lanza’s mother match the models of the guns used in the shooting. The official cautions that investigators haven’t conclusively linked the guns used in the rampage to the ones the woman owned.
The official says state police records show the woman had legally purchased five firearms and all were registered in Connecticut. Authorities are still trying to account for all the guns.
The rampage, less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead 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 on two classrooms. 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 School in Newtown, a prosperous New England community of about 27,000 people located 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.
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, and then drove to the school in her car with three guns, including a high-powered rifle that he apparently left in the back.
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 apparently going on in the school office, a teacher said.
Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in corners or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.
Obama: ‘Our hearts are broken today’
16 hr ago By MSN News with wire reports
WASHINGTON – A tearful President Barack Obama expressed “overwhelming grief” on Friday for the victims of a shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school and called on Americans to set aside politics and “take meaningful action” to prevent more tragedies of this kind.
“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” Obama said, his voice cracking with emotion at times during a nationally televised appearance in the White House briefing room just hours after one of the worst shooting rampages in U.S. history.
At least 27 people have been killed, including 20 children, in the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City.
A second person was found dead at a secondary scene nearby, said state police.
“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.
“Our hearts are broken today, for the parents, and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost,” Obama 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 and there are no words that will ease their pain,” he said.
“They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” the president said of those who were killed.
He ordered that U.S. flags be flown at half-staff on public grounds through Tuesday.
House Speaker John Boehner has also ordered Capitol flags to be lowered.
President Obama spoke to FBI Director Robert Mueller and Conn. Gov. Dan Malloy about the school shooting and to “express his condolences and concern” for the victims and their families, said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
“Evil visited this community today,” Malloy told reporters.
Malloy will have every resource he needs to deal with the school shooting, Obama said.
Obama said the U.S. has been through shootings like this too many times, and the country will have to take meaningful action to prevent such tragedies, regardless of politics.
As the president received briefings about the shooting, Carney, responded to questions about gun control and Obama’s campaign promises on the matter by saying “I don’t think today is that day” for such a discussion.
Others, however, said it was.
“If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. said in a statement.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.
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