Thursday, December 20, 2012

Police Hope to ID Victims, Shooter in Newtown Killings Saturday

Connecticut state police say an investigation is underway to piece together what motivated the gunman that killed 20 children, six adults and himself Friday morning.

Sandy Hook School Credit Hoa Nguyen

Update 8:20 a.m., Dec. 15

"We understand all too well the pain the Newtown community is feeling today and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the tragic event that unfolded this morning. As a fellow community that has recently experienced this type of tragedy, we stand ready to offer our assistance in every way possible to help Newtown provide the support and guidance that will be necessary for their community to begin to recover. Today’s events also remind us that we must continue to take care of ourselves and one another, as we continue to heal."
-Aurora Colorado Mayor Steve Hogan
by Matthew Keys December 14 at 8:25 PM

Newtown police say investigators do not have a motive for the gunman and will not release the shooter's name or the names of the children killed Friday. More information is available here, an article Patch will update throughout Saturday with new developments from Newtown.

Update 8:08 p.m., Dec. 14

Saying officials will identify all victims in the mass killings at a Newtown elementary school — including the shooter, who took his own life — on Saturday, state police called the day’s shocking events “heart-wrenching.”

No parents have been given access to the inside of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the bodies of 18 children, six adults and suspected gunman Adam Lanza remain, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said Friday night at a press conference. Two other children died after they were transported to a nearby hospital.

All family members of the deceased have been notified, Vance said.

A press conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Vance said.

Vance spoke in general terms of the investigation into the shooter, whom multiple media outlets have identified as Lanza, citing police sources.

People stand with candles outside the overflow area of a vigil at the Saint Rose of Lima church in Newtown, Connecticut December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

“At this point we are confident that we have the shooter,” Vance said.

All of that shooter’s relatives have been identified and contacted, Vance said. Lanza’s brother had been detained earlier in the day Friday, within hours of the shooting, which started at approximately 9:40 a.m. Their mother has been confirmed among those killed, as has the school’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung.

“I think what we have got to do is … look at all the history,” Vance said of the police investigation. “We will go backwards and hopefully stumble on answers.”

Update 7:10 p.m.

Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza, whose older brother had been detained by police in New Jersey earlier Friday, has been identified as the gunman in Newtown who killed 20 children, six adults and himself,according to the Huffington Post.

FACTBOX: Major shooting incidents in the United States
The deadly school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday was the latest shooting crime in the United States this year. Below are some of the worst such incidents in recent years:
April 1999 - Two heavily armed teenagers go on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, shooting 13 students and staff before taking their own lives.
July 1999 - A gunman kills nine people at two brokerages in Atlanta, after apparently killing his wife and two children. He commits suicide five hours later.
October 2002 - Two men kill at least 10 people in a string of sniper-style shootings that terrorize the Washington, D.C., area.
Nov. 21, 2004 - Six people are killed when a man shoots eight people while deer hunting in northern Wisconsin.
March 12, 2005 - A man opens fire at a Living Church of God service at the Sheraton Hotel in Brookfield, Wisconsin, killing seven and wounding four. He then commits suicide.
April 16, 2007 - A gunman kills 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech, a university in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Oct. 7, 2007 - A sheriff's deputy kills six people and wounds one at his ex-girlfriend's apartment, in Crandon, Wisconsin. He then kills himself.
April 3, 2009 - A Vietnamese immigrant opens fire at an immigrant services center in Binghamton, New York, killing 13 people. He then kills himself.
Nov. 5, 2009 - A gunman opens fire at Fort Hood, a U.S. Army base in Texas, killing 13 people and wounding 32. An Army major is charged in connection with the rampage.
Jan. 8, 2011 - Then-U.S. Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords is the target of an assassination attempt in Tucson, Arizona, in which six people are killed and 13, including Giffords, are wounded.
April 2, 2012 - A gunman kills seven people and wounds three in a shooting at a Christian college in Oakland, California.
July 20, 2012 - A masked gunman kills 12 people and wounds 58 when he opens fire on moviegoers at a showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, a suburb of Denver. A 24-year-old former university student is charged in connection with the rampage.
Aug. 5, 2012 - A gunman kills six people during Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, before he is shot dead by police.
Dec. 11, 2012 - A gunman opens fire inside an Oregon shopping mall, killing two people and wounding one. He then kills himself.
Dec. 14, 2012 - A heavily armed gunman kills at least 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and a body is found elsewhere in the town. The gunman is also dead.

(Reporting by David Cutler in London and Alina Selyukh in Washington; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Citing multiple media outlets including CNN, the Huffington Post said many media organizations had relied on inaccurate information to report the shooter as Adam Lanza’s brother earlier in the day. As reported by Patch, the brother — Ryan Lanza — now is grieving not only for his brother but also their mother.

David Owens, a Hartford Courant reporter, said during a TV interview that police sources say other people outside of the school may also have been killed by the gunman.

Update 6:15 p.m.
est workin' kid in showbiz
  • 273 photos

Right up road from #sandyhook - parents had to wait for school to be secured before picking up kids St. Rose of Lima

Calling Friday morning’s fatal shootings of 27 people at a Newtown elementary school, including 20 children, “unspeakable” and “tragic,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said during a press conference moments ago that it’s too early to talk about recovery.

“What each parent, each sibling, each member of [affected families] has to understand is that in Connecticut we are all in this together to do whatever we can to overcome this event,” Malloy said. “We will get through it.”

Supporters of gun control legislation hold candles during a rally in front of the White House in Washington, after a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, in Newtown. REUTERS/Larry Downing
The horror of this day seems unbearable, but we will lock arms and unite as citizens, for that is how Americans rise above unspeakable evil. Let us all come together in God’s grace to pray for the families of the victims, that they may find some comfort and peace amid such suffering. Let us give thanks for all those who helped get people to safety, and take heart from their example. The House of Representatives – like every American – stands ready to assist the people of Newtown, Connecticut.”- House Speaker Boehner on the shooting in Newtown, CT
Update 5:11 p.m.

State police confirmed that one person was responsible for the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults, saying the gunman has been tentatively identified but declining to identify the shooter.

“We will identify the shooter at an appropriate time,” Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said during a 5 p.m. press conference Friday. “Just for our investigatory purposes it’s not appropriate right now.”

“We will leave no stone unturned as we are looking at every facet of this investigation,” Vance said, adding that police would hold another briefing around 6 p.m.

Vance confirmed that local, state and federal officials responded to the shocking incident in this normally peaceful southwestern Connecticut town, including an FBI crisis team. Counseling has been made available not only to affected families but also to first responders on scene.

Holding up candles in prayer outside

“We provided counseling for the first responders, because this was a very tragic, horrific scene that we encountered,” Vance said.

The gunman shot and killed himself, Vance said.

Update: 3:50 p.m.

The actions of one gunman — 27 lives lost.

Report: One classroom of students unaccounted for following Connecticut school shooting
NEW YORK, Dec 14 (Reuters) - An entire classroom of students is unaccounted for following a shooting at an elementary school in suburban Connecticut on Friday, a local newspaper reported.

The Hartford Courant, citing unnamed sources, said at least 20 people were shot and that many of the shootings took place in a kindergarten classroom at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

CBS News, citing unnamed officials, reported at least 27 people, including possibly 18 children, were killed when at least one shooter opened fire at the school in Newtown, Connecticut.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)
by anthony.derosa December 14 at 1:32 PM

"This is an active ongoing investigation" Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said at an afternoon press conference Friday, updating the assembled media about the state of the investigation into the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Vance confirmed the death toll: 20 children, 6 adults, including the shooter, and one adult victim at a "secondary scene" in Connecticut.

But in response to multiple questions from press, Vance said at one point: "There are a lot of things we cannot confirm."

The families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener December 14 at 4:19 PM

He did offer the beginning of a basic timeline, saying the first call came in at around 9:30 a.m.

"Officers immediately entered the school to search for students, faculty and staff and remove them," he said. "They did search every nook and cranny...Those who were rescued were taken to a staging area."

Newtown school shooting] WCBS airing video of man in handcuffs in Hoboken, NJ

The school is now secure. Two rooms of the school appeared to be the gunman's focus. 

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers (PDF) from the National Association of School Psychologists.
by John Peabody December 14 at 4:14 PM

"It is not a simplistic scene," Vance said. "We will be here through the night and through the weekend. We are not putting a time stamp on this process."

The secondary local crime scene may well be this investigation in the Sandy Hook section, the only other known center of police investigation in Newtown right now.

Vance is expected to give another update in about an hour.

Update: 3:38 p.m.

Patch exclusive: The man identified in media reports Friday as the shooter has told friends that he thinks his developmentally disabled brother may have committed the crime, Patch has learned.

A close friend of Ryan Lanza who would not be identified told Patch that he spoke to Lanza as Lanza


More links to Newtown Patch’s coverage here:

Shooting Prompts Religious Leaders to Host Special Prayer Services
'In Sheer Shock' — Newtown Community Seeks News, Updates
Reaction: Sandy Hook School Shooting
Police Raid Sandy Hook Home Hours After Shooting
[PHOTOS] Newtown School Shooting
Newtown Principal Remembered as 'Warm,' 'Selfless'
Ryan Lanza, Wrongly Named As Mass Murderer, Left To Grieve


Police patrol the streets outside Sandy Hook Elementary School after a shooting in Newtown. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener December 14 at 12:58 PM

made his way home from work to Hoboken. Lanza also took to his Facebook page to rail against CNN naming him as the suspect in the shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“I’m on the bus home now, it wasn’t me,” Lanza wrote.

Lanza’s mother, Nancy, is believed to be among the dead. [Note: Nancy Lanza originally had been reported to be a teacher at the school, but that is not true, according to CNN.]

Patch was among the media outlets to highlight and link to reports naming Ryan Lanza as the alleged shooter. Police haven't yet officially confirmed the identity of the gunman.

Video shows police and ambulances at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, where it's reported a shooter opened-fire, killing several people including children. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
by natalie.armstrong December 14 at 12:26 PM

Meanwhile, saying that parents across the United States will hug their children a little tighter Friday night after the morning’s shocking shooting deaths of elementary school kids in Newtown, President Barack Obama told the nation that it must “come together.”

A tearful President Barack Obama expressed ''overwhelming grief'' 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. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

During a press conference that ended moments ago, Obama said “our hearts are broken” for those that lost loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary School during a tragedy whose cause and suspected perpetrators remain unclear.

“Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivor as well, as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early,” Obama said.

Update: 3:18 p.m.

First responder consoles a woman at the scene in #newtown

Gov. Dannel Malloy is scheduled to hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Malloy, who met with parents, has received an offer of federal assistance from President Obama.

Original story:

Citing sources, the Associated Press is reporting the gunman who rampaged through the Sandy Hook Elementary School was armed with four guns including a high-powered rifle and is believed to have shot and killed up to 30 people including 18 children. The death toll could rise.

Investigators have identified the gunman “as a man in his 20s from Connecticut and they are searching his father’s home in New Jersey,” according to WABC Channel 7. The hometown was not immediately identified. According to Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said the gunman was found dead inside the school.

rgoulston Robert Goulston  14 Dec

Parents at scene.

Friday afternoon distraught parents continued to wait to be reunited with their children. After meeting with parents of the students, Gov. Dannel Malloy is now at the school. Authorities said much information will not be released until the relatives of the victims are notified.

Channel 7 also is reporting the President Obama has telephone Malloy to express condolences and to offer any federal assistance needed in the investigation of the shooting that was first reported to Newtown Police just before 9:30 a.m. Friday.

An elementary school student describes hearing shots fired at her Newtown, Connecticut school where reports say at least 27 people, including 18 children were killed. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

A fourth-grade student at Sandy Hook Elementary School said he and his classmates were “locked in a closet in the gym” to escape the gunman. In an interview with Channel 7, the student said, “the police came and …. We ran to the firehouse.”

Update: 1:25 p.m.

Press conference is still at least an hour away, an official just told Patch.

RyanBernat Ryan Bernat, WTIC-TV14 Dec

State Police helicopter circling low in Newtown #schoolshooting
Update: 1:20 p.m.

The community is in "sheer shock." Read our interviews with Newtown residents as they try to make sense of the violence.

Emergency personnel set up in the parking lot after a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. REUTERS/WNBC/Handout

Update: 1:00 p.m.

Citing an anonymous official "with knowledge" the Associated Press is reporting 27 people dead including 18 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The shooter is believed to be a single adult and is now dead.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is in Newtown and a press conference set for 1 p.m. but hasn't yet begun. Patch is there.

Credit: Gary Jeanfaivre

Original Story:

Officials in Newtown say they're trying to reunite parents with their children in the wake of a shocking multiple shooting at an elementary school in the town’s Sandy Hook neighborhood.

First Selectman Pat Llodra told Patch that there is no information being released about the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting — only confirming that there was a shooting.

"I'm horrified, saddened and shocked that this happened in Newtown," Llodra said. "Our priorities right now are making sure everyone safe and reuniting parents with their children."

Sandy Hook School, Newtown, school shooting. Credit: Gary Jeanfaivre

A reverse 911 call went out to all Newtown public school parents, NBC is reporting. Parents are converging all around the school seeking information about their children.

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 a gunman had entered the building.

Lebinski said that she had spoken to her daughter's teacher as well as a volunteer who was in the school at the time of the shooting, and that a masked gunman had shot adults in the school.

"My daughter's teacher is my hero," Lebinski said. "She locked all the kids in a closet and that saved their lives."

According to Lebinski, the school had been on lockdown but police started leading out children and faculty members by class, and several children had blood on their clothing as they were led out. It isn't clear how many kids are still inside the school. Parents continue to surround the area, seeking news of their children.

Media, parents and emergency responders are swarming Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown following confirmed multiple shooting deaths Friday. Credit: Gary Jeanfaivre

Christine Wilford, a parent of a seven-year-old boy at the school, told Patch that her son was out of the school and safe with her husband. A woman standing next to Wilford burst into tears, saying her own son was still inside.

Danbury Hospital has confirmed to TV reporters that three patients have been transported by ambulance.

State police personnel lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in this handout picture from the Newtown Bee, in Newtown, Connecticut. REUTERS/Newtown Bee/Shannon Hicks/Handout
by Reuters_Jillian Kitchener December 14 at 11:55 AM

The Hartford Courant is reporting multiple injured parties, saying a shooter had been in the building’s main office and an individual in one area had “numerous gunshot wounds,” police said.

State police reported shortly after 12 p.m. that officials from the state Medical Examiner's Office were en route to the scene.

At a fire station near the school that's serving as a staging area, a woman was being wheeled on a gurney as a helicopter circled overhead and armed officials from multiple state and federal agencies moved beyond a cordoned-off area swarmed by parents. Dozens of parents could be seen walking to the school as motor vehicle traffic snarled the area of Dickinson Drive.

Marilyn Gudsnuk, 52, of nearby Southbury said she heard 10 to 12 gunshots around 9:40 a.m. Gudsnuk, who attended the elementary school herself as a childhood, said she is taking care of a 91-year-old resident who lives across the street from the school.

"I took off running into the house," she said. "I didn't know what was happening. It was scary."

Asked whether she imagined a shooting could happen at her former school, Gudsnuk said, "Never in a million years."

"I just pray for these people," she said. "The anguish they are going through. And all because someone's not right in the head."

One man who identified himself as a cable worker and declined to give his name, told Patch that he was up on a utility pole at the time of the shooting. When he heard shots, the man said he thought they it was hunters, but then in a few minutes emergency response vehicles sped beneath his ladder.

Newtown Patch will post more information here as it becomes available.

Claire Moses contributed this report.

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