UPDATE: 5:00 P.M. EST: President Barack Obama has arrived in Newtown, Connecticut to meet with victims’ families and emergency responders, reports BBC.
He is also expected to speak at an inter-faith vigil at the town’s high school.
Ahead of the president’s visit, a service for the victims at St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church was abandoned and the church evacuated because of an unspecified threat, thought to have been a hoax called in by telephone.
See the POTUS arrive below:
UPDATE: 11:30 A.M. EST: It has been confirmed that all victims of the shooting were shot multiple times with a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle, according to Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II, M.D. At least 2 of the children were killed at close range. According to the Associated Press, when asked how many bullets were fired, Carver said, “I’m lucky if I can tell you how many I found.”
Investigators have said they have “very good evidence” on Lanza, who killed himself as first responders closed in on him, leading them to believe that he planned on killing many more people, but was stopped by the arrival of law enforcement.
UPDATE: 6:20 P.M. EST: Adam Lanza was trained to kill by his mother, Nancy Lanza, who often took him to Wooster Mountain rifle range, 15 miles away from Sandy Hook Elementary School, reports the Telegraph UK.
“She’d take them to the range a lot. … Nancy was an enthusiast — so much so that she wanted to pass it on to her kids,” said her former landscaper and owner of a Connecticut landscaping firm, Dan Holmes.
“She took her two sons to the gun ranges quite a bit to practice their aim. She was a really great shot from what she told me. Whenever I finished work and went inside to chit chat, she spoke often about her fascination with firearms. Nancy had an extensive gun collection and she was really quite proud of it,” said Holmes.”
ABC News has more:
Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday.
“I believe everybody was hit more than once,” said Dr. H. Wayne Carver, the state of Connecticut’s Chief Medical Examiner.
He said the bullets were uniquely damaging and that Lanza’s victims died almost immediately.
“The bullets are designed in such a fashion the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullet stays in,” Carver said. He described the wounds as a “very devastating set of injuries.”
UPDATE; 10:00 A.M. EST: Almost all victims have been removed from the school, police tell ABC News.
Lt. George Sinko of the Newtown Police, said that it appears Lanza broke a window to enter the school. Previous reports said that Nancy Lanza who was killed at her home by her son, was a teacher or teacher’s aide at the school. Janet Robinson, superintendent of Newtown Schools, says there is no record that.
UPDATE: 9:46 P.M. EST: Families of Virginia Tech victims released a statement on Sandy Hook School shooting:
“The immediate concern we have is for those families in Newtown whose lives are now altered, forever. From our VTV experience, as families of the victims and survivors of the April 16, 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, we know that their loss is incredible. Helping all to deal with the aftermath will take a lifetime of love and dedication,” Joe Samaha, President of VTV Family Outreach Foundation, said in a statement.
Authorities continue to question the Adam Lanza’s brother, Ryan Lanza, about the shooting. According to ABC, he is not a suspect.
Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, a teacher’s assistant at Sandy Hook initially thought to be in the building, was found dead in her Connecticut home from a gunshot wound to the face. Authorities said the 20-year-old killed her, then drove to the school in her car where the massacre occurred.
Correction: Initial reports incorrectly identified the shooter as Ryan Lanza. The shooter is Ryan’s brother, Adam Lanza, who was found dead at the scene. Ryan is currently in police custody.
UPDATE 5:07 P.M. EST:
NEWTOWN, Conn. — A man opened fire Friday inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked as a teacher, killing 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in their classrooms and trembled helplessly to the sound of gunfire reverberating through the building.
The killer, armed with two handguns, committed suicide and another person was found dead at a second scene, bringing the toll to 28, authorities said.
The attack, coming 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.
Scroll Down For Remarks from President Obama and Rev. Sharpton On School Shooting
Panicked parents raced to Sandy Hook Elementary School, about 60 miles northeast of New York City, looking for their children. Students were told to close their eyes by police 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.
“Our hearts are broken today,” a tearful President Barack Obama, struggling to maintain composure, said at the White House. He called for “meaningful action” to prevent such shootings.
Youngsters and their parents described teachers locking doors and ordering the children to huddle in the corner or hide in closets when shots echoed through the building. Authorities said the shootings took place in two rooms, but they gave no details on exactly how they unfolded.
A law enforcement official identified the gunman as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher. A second law enforcement official said his mother, Nancy Lanza, was presumed dead.
Adam Lanza’s older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, the first official said. Earlier, a law enforcement official mistakenly identified Ryan as the shooter.
Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the unfolding investigation.
The gunman drove to the school in his mother’s car, the second official said. 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.
Lanza’s girlfriend and another friend were missing in New Jersey, the official also said.
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 was in the school and 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 fine.
Mergim Bajraliu, 17, 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 fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.
“Everyone was just traumatized,” he said.
Mary Pendergast, who lives close to the school, 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, is in the second grade at the school. His son told him that he heard a noise that “sounded like what he described as cans falling.”
The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle up 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 only 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 young infant inside and a bag that appeared to have toys and stuffed animals.
The shootings instantly brought to mind episodes such 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. I think as a society, we need to come together. 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.”
Excerpts Of President Barack Obama’s Remarks On Shooting
This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.
We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
Excerpts Of Rev. Al Sharpton’s Remarks On Shooting
National Action Network (NAN) offers condolences to the families of victims lost in today’s shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left over 27 people dead, including 18 children, an according to published reports.
“Our prayers are with those devastated by this horrific shooting and we appeal for people to unite in prayer to end the bloodshed across the country. I hope that our nation’s leaders from all backgrounds and walks of life, can come together in the weeks ahead to forge a path where these terrible, senseless gun violent tragedies are eliminated from our society” said Rev. Al Sharpton.”