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.
Updated 2:20 p.m.
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.
“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.
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.
— Associated Press
Updated 12:25 p.m.
NEWTOWN, Conn. - Twenty-seven people, including 18 children, have been killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Another person was found dead at in Newtown, sources told The Hartford Courant.
Many of the shootings at the school took place in a kindergarten classroom, sources said. One entire classroom is unaccounted for.
The shooter - identified by CNN as Ryan Lanza - is dead, and the situation is secure, said State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance.
Around noon, the triage area was broken down, stretchers were taken away and the SWAT team left the building.
Vanessa Bajraliu, a 9-year-old fourth grader, heard the shots.
“I saw policemen - lots of policemen in the hallway with guns,“ she said. “The police took us out of the school. We were told to hold each others' hands and to close our eyes. We opened our eyes when we were outside.“
Her brother, 17-year-old Mergim Bajraliu, a senior at Newtown High School, was at his nearby home when he heard shots, he said. He first went to a neighbor's house.
“Then we heard sirens,“ he said.
He rushed to the school on foot and saw a girl being carried out, he said. She looked badly injured. Another girl had blood on her face, he said.
Mergim soon found his sister and took her away from the scene.
Parent Richard Wilford said his Sandy Hook second-grader, Richie, heard what he described as “pans falling“ when gunshots rang out. He said that his son told him that the teacher went to go check, came back in and locked the door and told the students to stand in the corner.
“What does a parent think about coming to a school where there's a shooting, “Wilford said. It's the most terrifying moment of a parent's life. You have no idea.“
Brendan Murray, a 9-year-old fourth grader, said he was in the gym with his class when they heard “lots of banging.“ He said the teachers put the students in a nearby closet where they stayed for about 15 minutes before police officers told them to leave the building.
The boy said the students ran down a hallway where there were police at every door. He said “lots of people were crying.“
Updated 10:01 a.m.
The Hartford Courant (MCT)
NEWTOWN, Conn. - Multiple people, including children, have been killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The number of dead is unclear, but there are at least 20 shooting victims. Many of the shootings took place in a kindergarten classroom, sources said.
One entire classroom is unaccounted for outside the school, sources said.
A person believed to be a shooter is dead. Earlier reports of a second shooter are unconfirmed.
ABC News reported through federal, local officials that more than a dozen people, including children, were shot and killed.
Three people were brought to Danbury Hospital, but their condition is unknown. The emergency room is on lockdown.
Police were still searching the school at 11 a.m., and police dogs had been brought in. Around noon, the triage area was broken down, stretchers were taken away and the SWAT team left the building.
Soon after 9:40 a.m., police reported that a shooter was in the main office of the school. A person in one room had “numerous gunshot wounds,“ police said.
Groups of students - some crying, some holding hands - were being escorted away from the school by their teachers. Some students were still in the school at 10:30 a.m., parents said.
School and local emergency officials are accounting for the children, who will be released to their parents to get them home. A staging area has been set up at the Sandy Hook fire department, directly in front of the school.
Frustrated parents are trying to get information from officials, who are still actively searching the school.
Eight-year-old Alexis Wasik, a third-grader at the school, said police were checking everybody inside the school before they were escorted to the firehouse.
“We had to walk with a partner,“ she said.
One child leaving the school said that there was shattered glass everywhere. A police officer ran into the classroom and told them to run outside and keep going until the reach the firehouse.
Dozens of state troopers are on the scene assisting local police. Heavily armed police gathered in front of the school around 10:45 a.m., and a number of stretchers were set up.
Area hospitals have been alerted.
Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, said the governor is monitoring the situation and is in “constant contact“ with state police, who are coordinating with federal and local officials. Malloy will travel to Newtown later today, he said.
Afternoon buses and kindergarten has been cancelled.
2012 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)
NEWTOWN, Conn. — A shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded and sent frightened pupils into the parking lot.
The shooter was killed and apparently had two guns, a person with knowledge of the shooting said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way.
It wasn't clear how many people were injured at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. A dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps said a teacher had been shot in the foot and taken to Danbury Hospital.
Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.
"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.
The superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City. Schools in neighboring towns also were locked down as a precaution.
State police said Newtown police called them around 9:40 a.m.
A photo posted by The Newtown Bee newspaper showed a group of young students — some crying, others looking visibly frightened — being escorted by adults through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders.
Associated Press writer Michael Melia contributed to this report from Hartford.