Kids slain at Connecticut school were 6, 7
December 15th, 2012
07:54 PM ET

Kids slain at Connecticut school were 6, 7

    • 20 children, six adults and the shooter are dead after shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday morning
    • Three law enforcement officials say Adam Lanza, 20, was the shooter, and that he died apparently by his own hand
    • Law enforcement officials say Lanza killed his mother, Nancy, at her Newtown home before going to the school
    • Victims' names released Saturday; all of the slain children were either 6 or 7 years old
    • Complete coverage: Connecticut school shooting

[Updated at 7:54 p.m. ET] Peter Lanza, father of alleged gunman Adam Lanza, released a statement Saturday expressing condolences to the families of victims.

"Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can," said the statement.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama will go to Newtown on Sunday to meet with victims' families and first responders in the evening, the White House says.

He'll also speak at an interfaith vigil for the school's families. The vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET Sunday.

[Updated at 7:12 p.m. ET] People are gathered outside Stratford (Connecticut) High School, for a vigil in honor of Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old first-grade teacher who was slain in Newtown.

Soto graduated from the Stratford high school in 2003.

[Updated at 6:22 p.m. ET] Earlier reports that the suspected shooter, Adam Lanza, had an altercation with four adults at the school on Thursday have been investigated and are not accurate, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police noted in a news conference Saturday that he knew of no reports about Lanza being involved in any altercations at the school.

[Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET] Nancy Lanza’s brother James Champion, a law enforcement officer in New Hampshire, didn’t deliver a statement as expected. Instead, the sheriff of Rockingham County, New Hampshire, delivered a statement on the Champion family’s behalf:

“The family of Nancy Lanza share the grief of a community and the nation as we struggle to comprehend the tremendous loss that we all share. Our hearts and prayers are with those who share in this loss: their families, teachers, staff and the students of Sandy Brook Elementary school, the first responders, and to all others touched by this tragedy. On behalf of Nancy’s mother and siblings, we reach out to the community of Newtown and express our heartfelt sorrow for the incomprehensible and profound loss of innocence that has affected so many.

“The family requests that you respect their privacy during his time of anguish and loss.”

The chief of police in Kingston, New Hampshire, said that Nancy Lanza lived in Kingston for a good part of her life and was a "very, very kind, considerate, loving young lady."

"She was very involved in the community and very well respected."

[Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET] An uncle of suspect Adam Lanza, is expected to address reporters in the next few minutes in New Hampshire.

The uncle is brother of Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza. Law enforcement officials say Adam Lanza killed Nancy Lanza in her Newtown home before the shootings at the school.

[Updated at 5:39 p.m. ET] Here are the names of those killed at the school, as provided by state police. CNN.com is publishing the full names of children only when parents have spoken publicly:

Charlotte, 6; Daniel, 7; Rachel Davino, 29; Olivia, 6; Josephine, 7; Ana, 6; Dylan, 6; Dawn Hochsprung, 47; Madeleine, 6; Catherine, 6; Chase, 7; Jesse, 6; James, 6; Grace, 7; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; Emilie Parker, 6; Jack, 6; Noah, 6; Caroline, 6; Jessica, 6; Avielle, 6; Lauren Rousseau, 30; Mary Sherlach, 56; Victoria Soto, 27; Benjamin, 6; Allison, 6.

[Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET] In a tearful talk with reporters, Robbie Parker, the 30-year-old father of 6-year-old Emilie Parker, who died in the shooting, said she was an exceptional artist who delighted in making cards and drawing pictures for people who needed an emotional lift.

"She always had a kind thing to say about everybody," he said. "I'm so blessed to be her dad."

He was teaching her Portuguese, and the last conversation he had with her on Friday morning was in that language, he said.

"She told me 'good morning' and asked how I was doing, and I said I was doing well," he said. Emilie told him she loved him, and they kissed before they left the home Friday morning, he said.

[Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET] Robbie Parker, the father of one of the victims a 6-year-old girl told reporters that she was "always smiling" and would, if she were alive, be one of the first people offering comfort to the relatives of the victims.

He thanked everyone who was offering condolences, and he offered his own to others who are suffering - including the family of the suspected shooter, Adam Lanza.

"I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be to you," Parker said, referring to the Lanza family.

He said his 6-year-old daughter was the "best friend" to her two younger sisters, and was teaching one of them to read.

"They looked to her when they needed comfort," Parker said. "Usually that's saved for a mom and a dad, but it was sweet to see ... how they would run to (her) for support and hugs and kisses.”

[Updated at 5:08 p.m. ET] "There will be time soon for a discussion of public policy issues surrounding yesterday’s events," Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a televised address, "but what’s important right now is love, courage, and compassion."

"Love," he said, "as it has poured in from around the world.

"Courage, as it was demonstrated by the teachers and other adults in the school building, whose actions no doubt saved lives.

"Courage on display, as it always is, by all our first responders.

"Compassion, as shown by people around Connecticut who’ve arrived in Newtown wanting only to help."

[Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET] All of the slain children were either 6 or 7 years old, according to information released by state police. There were 12 girl victims; eight boys. All of the adults killed were women.

[Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET] The victims at the school ranged in age from 6 to 56, according to information released by state police.

Eighteen of the victims at the school were described as female; eight were male. Twenty-six people died at the school, excluding the gunman. Twenty were children; six were adults.

[Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET] More on what the state's chief medical examiner told reporters minutes ago in Newtown: He said the "long weapon" was used in the shooting, and that the weapon caused all of the wounds that he knew of.

He didn't say what that weapon was, but a law enforcement source has previously said that the gunman was found dead with next to three guns: a semi-automatic .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle and two pistols made by Glock and Sig Sauer.

The medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver II, said he personally did postmortem examinations of seven victims' bodies.

“All the wounds that I know of at this point were caused by the one weapon,” Carver said.

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] State police have released a list of those killed. More on that to come.

[Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET] The state's chief medical examiner says he believes all of the victims were shot more than once.

The medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver II, speaking at a news conference in Newtown, said that all of the victims died of gunshot wounds, and the manner of death was homicide. The seven bodies he examined personally had three to 11 wounds each, he said.

“I believe everyone was hit more than once,” Carver said.

Postmortem examinations have been performed on all of the children; examinations of most of the adult bodies will be finished by this evening, Carver said.

Examinations of the bodies of Adam Lanza and his mother will be performed Sunday, Carver said. Lanza died at the school; his mother was killed at her home in Newtown, authorities have said.

Police said a list of the victims' names would soon be published.

[Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET] Victoria Soto and Lauren Rousseau, both teachers at the school, are among the dead, according to friends and family members.

Earlier, CNN reported that princial Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach were among the killed.

Although authorities have identified all of those killed, they have yet to release a formal list of names.

[Updated at 3:06 p.m. ET] Investigators say they believe Adam Lanza tried to buy a gun at Dick's Sporting Goods in Danbury on Tuesday, but was unsuccessful, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN's Susan Candiotti.

Employees at the store some 12 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary have been interviewed and have searched the store's surveillance cameras for evidence that Lanza had been there.

Also, a second law enforcement source has said that Lanza was involved in some kind of trouble at the school earlier this week. The source said the altercation was between Lanza and four adults, and occurred Thursday, the day before the shooting.

Three of those adults, the source added, were killed during Friday's shooting.

The source was unable to say whether the disagreement took place inside or outside the school, but said that it apparently had something to do with him trying to enter the school.

(Update, 6:22 p.m. ET Reports that Adam Lanza, had an altercation with four adults at the school on Thursday have been investigated and are not accurate, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation. Also, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police noted in a news conference Saturday that he knew of no reports about Vance being involved in any altercations at the school.)

[Updated at 1:36 p.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is expected to make a live, televised statement about the shooting, addressed to Connecticut residents, at 5 p.m.

[Updated at 1:12 p.m. ET] Investigators have been told that Adam Lanza had some sort of altercation with some people at the school a few days before the shooting, a law enforcement official told CNN's Carol Cratty. The official did not know the nature of the altercation or who was involved in it with Lanza.

[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET] Adam Lanza tried to buy a gun in the area Tuesday before the shooting, a law enforcement source said, according to CNN's Susan Candiotti.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it is contacting shooting ranges and gun stores in the area to try to establish whether Lanza sought to purchase guns or practice using them.

[Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET] The gunman had access to more guns than the three found at the elementary school, a law enforcement source told CNN's Susan Candiotti.

Police recovered three additional guns elsewhere. They are a .45-caliber Henry repeating rifle, a .22-caliber Marlin rifle, and a .30-caliber Enfield rifle, the source said.

[Updated at 10:28 a.m. ET] The victims have been positively identified by the chief state medical examiner, state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said in a press conference Saturday morning. The medical examiner is expected to release their names and birth dates in the next few hours.

It appears that the assailant "forced his way into the school," Vance said. Detectives continue to investigate the crime scene and will remain there for at least another day or two, Vance said. So far, investigators looking for a motive have found "some very good evidence," that will help them paint a complete picture of how and why this happened, he said.

The home of a woman believed to be the gunman's mother is also being investigated. After killing his mother, investigators believe the gunman took her guns and made his way to the elementary school.

Help for victims of Sandy Hook shooting

[Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET] The victims' bodies have been transported to the Office of the Chief State's Medical Examiner, where a post mortem examination will be conducted to determine manner and cause of death, the Connecticut State Police said in press release.

[Updated at 10 a.m. ET] Friday's shooting has sparked passionate nation conversation on a variety of issues, from school safety and gun control to mental health treatment. In a heated discussion, CNN's Piers Morgan and guests debate the need for stricter gun control laws in America.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET] The suspect in the shooting may have had access to at least five guns, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation said Saturday.

Three weapons were recovered from the school on Friday: a semi-automatic .223 caliber rifle made by Bushmaster found in a car in the school parking lot, and two pistols made by Glock and a Sig Sauer found with suspected gunman Adam Lanza's body, a law enforcement source said previously.

[Updated at 8:26 a.m. ET] Pope Benedict XVI expressed "his heartfelt grief and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the victims and their families and all to affected" by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, in a letter to the Diocese of Bridgeport Administrator Monsignor Jerald A. Doyle.

[Updated at 4:50 a.m. ET] Father William Hamilton, a volunteer chaplain for 30 years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in New England said the Connecticut school shootings is the worse thing he's seen in his years counseling responders and victims’ families. “It’s beyond the scope of imagination. Parents are not supposed to have to bury their children," Hamilton told CNN. "This is the Christmas season. This season will never ever be the same for these families. It will over time perhaps get better, but it will always be a part of their history.”

[Updated at 1:30 a.m. ET]  A  family member of suspected shooter Adam Lanza told investigators that he had a form of autism, according to a law enforcement official, who spoke under condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.

[Updated at 12:30 a.m. ET]  Despite earlier reports that said she was a teacher, Nancy Lanza, the suspect's mother, was not a teacher at the school where the killings took place, said Janet Vollmer, a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Not much is known about the suspect's mother or the suspect Adam Lanza.  In September 2009 - when Adam Lanza was 17 - his mother and father divorced, court documents show. What happened after that for him, what caused the shootings that has shocked the nation, isn't clear.

[Updated at 11:18 p.m. ET] Aimee Seaver, the mother of a first-grade girl at Sandy Hook and a fifth-grader who attends a different school, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that her children are having trouble dealing with what happened.

"It's a very rough night here," she said. "When your first-grader goes to bed and says, 'Mommy, is anyone from my class last year are they all OK?' and you look at them and say, 'I'm not really sure,' it's a rough night to tell that to your 7-year-old."

Her younger daughter has asked a lot of questions about Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, who was killed.

“She got wind very quickly that something was wrong with our principal, which we didn’t tell her till just now that yes, she was definitely hurt and it wasn’t good," Seaver said. "It’s taking her a while. I think tomorrow will probably be harder for her.

“I also have a fifth-grader who came off the bus crying because she … had a sister who she was worried about, and … just basically left that school a few months ago. I think for a lot of those kids, they kind of are a little older and can get it a little bit faster, even though they weren’t in it.

“So the questions, I think, are coming. They’re not here, yet, especially for the littler ones. It started as I put them to bed tonight, the questions.”

[Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET] Janet Vollmer, a kindergarten teacher at the school, says she locked her classroom doors and to keep her students calm read them a story until the police came.

Vollmer, her 19 students and the adult helpers in her classroom were not injured.

"You could hear what sounded like pops, gunshots. Of course, I’m not going to tell that to 5-year-olds, so I said to them, ‘We’re going over in a safe area,'" Vollmer told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "And we read a story and we kept them calm, did a lockdown drill, closed the doors, locked (them), covered the windows, and kept the children with us.”

She said the children knew something unusual was going on.

“It didn’t seem a natural thing (to the children), although we do practice drills," Vollmer said. "We said, ‘We’re not really sure, but we’re going to be safe, because we’re sitting over here and we’re all together.’”

FULL STORY
soundoff (1,249 Responses)
  1. Constantine17642489;)

    What horrible event:.( my heart is flooded with tears for the families who lost their children in this mass murder:...(

    December 15, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. AS

    There should not be any gun law or gun control but "GUN-BAN". How may people saved their life by keeping gun as self
    protection? More people are killed by issuing a gun license. If you want gun for hunting, Goverment should keep service stations in hunting area and rent a gun, when you return after hunting, return your rented gun. There shound not be any store in USA selling guns.

    December 15, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. saywhat

    Authorities now say that the terrorist had access to at least 5 guns.
    He wore battle fatigues & military vest, had hundreds of rounds.
    An act of terrorism but non one acknowledges this. Why?

    December 15, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill B. Connecticut

      Because based on its legal definition this is not an act of terrorism. This is murder. 27 counts of first degree, premeditation capital murder.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. chendricks

    I doesnt make any since to take our guns away all the while Our goverment keeps giving guns to people in other nations. besides these schools in General can afford these miliion dollar football stadiums but they cant afford better security for our kids. the school districts need to get their priorities straight .

    December 15, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. auntruby45

    I dont believe we need gun control what would happen to me if someone like this came to shoot me and i couldnt protect myself i'd be dead

    December 15, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daedalus

      I think I speak for most people when I say, that sounds like an improvement.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Ory

      Such a typical response. But there seems be no good guy with a gun to shoot the killer before he shoots innocent people. So what you're say does not apply in a public setting. It may apply more in your home.

      December 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      I think we need control of assault guns. Nobody needs a rifle to protect him/her house. You can have a revolver. Other countries allow small guns for personal protection I you would need to pass a psychological test and have your arm registered. It is ridiculous how you can buy arms here even at a flea market.

      December 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • SG

      American laws and the powerful lobby groups which control its definition is the key issue. The idea that any one can walk into a store and buy a ~machine gun is not about a right, its utter non-sense. Why does any one not in public safety operations needs to have a gun ? Why do you ever need a gun at home ? You deny that, you will see 90% reduction in these mass killings. But, I realize American society is fascinated by these tools and will continue to elect representatives who will defeat gun control legislations. Its sad.

      December 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dee

    Agreed. The media shouldn't blurt things out without finding out first what is fact.

    December 15, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Alicia

    I want to know why, and how this Elementary School teacher had these 3 weapons, isnt our right as parents to know the of the teachers teaching our children??? To me she holds just as much blame, could this horrific tradgedy have been prevented, if he did have the amunition his mother provided. My heart, tears, and prayers go out to these families..

    December 15, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ridiculous

      How and why she had these weapons and she (a victim) is just as much to blame? How absurd.

      It is reported that she was NOT, in fact, a teacher at the school first of all. We do NOT have a right to know every detail of a teacher's life- especially not things they do which are legal (and they are saying the guns were legally purchased).

      December 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I agree!

      December 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ami

    my heart and prayers goes to the parents and siblings. I know there is nothing anyone can say or do to mend your broken hearts, but i pray you find a way to cope with this. Life would never be the same again and i pray to God to give you comfort. America, please let us stop debating right now, these people need us to be there and pray for them. May God be with all of you, in these moment of trials.

    December 15, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. amanda gee

    This is a tragedy. It takes an extremely evil person to commit a crime as vicious as this. People are calling him a kid. He is an adult and know the difference between right and wrong. yes he is autistic supposedly but really there is more to this story and the truth will come out. Gun are not the problem. You need the trigger pulled for the gun to kill. In recent events all suspects were the age of early 20. Lets get down to there backgrounds. Lightly said peel the onion for each layer. Another point look what other violence. bullying, killings, the video games, social media, and internet. So where does it start and where did it start. There are a lot of unanswered questions. let the police do their jobs. The media needs to give the victims and the suspects family their privacy.

    December 15, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. anthrogirl

    Since the shooter was dead and there would be no defendant to build a case against, why did they leave the bodies of the slain children and adults in the buidling over night? Could they have expediated the measurements, photos etc of the bodies on the scene, getting the bodies to the morgue for identification as soon as possible? Why prolong the trauma of the families/parents when they are not going to use the evidence for anyhting other than learning what happened, not for prosecution?

    December 15, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • They DID...

      , in fact, both identify and remove the bodies overnight.

      December 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David Patel

    It is very sad that there is no value for young kids in USA. My deep condolences to all those parents who has lost there loved ones. I think government will wait until thousand more kids are killed before they can bring stricter gun control law.

    December 15, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. mike bertram

    I was appaled at the way Peirs Morgan handled the interview during a major emotional event for all last evening. He was rude raising his voice interupting his guest. It became a sceaming match. So unproffesional for a news reportere. He stepped beyond his responsibility as a objective reporter. Wolf blitzer, anderson cooper, solidad and the rest have been very proffesional. In case i wouold of stopped airing this and switching to another reporter. IK hope he is not allowed to discuss this incident in the near future

    December 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Tom1940

    Politicians in their "need to create solutions", will advocate, propose, and even legislate gun law. In my view, that approach overlooks the root cause of this horrific and terrible event. Individuals, troubled, impaired in some fashion/manner in their ability to vent frustration, anger, etc., in a positive way, as "normal" folks do, instead commit unspeakable acts of violence.
    That, to me, should be the real goal of everyone. Identifying before hand, those individuals prone to doing these things and either getting them help, or neutralizing them. Society will be better served in this way, than in enacting more gun control laws.

    December 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. pl

    gun control isnt an issue, no matter what if we take away guns, they will find knives, or make bombs. they will find another way to kill. maybe they should give the schools more money to have security gaurds with weapons and that know how to use them. the mother is not to blame, im sure he grew up in a loving family. obviously this loser found it enjoyable, we all see it differently than he did. yes the mother should have kept her guns locked in a safe with the ammunition. but really can you see what would happen if we had gun control or took them away compeltely. i have guns, and live in a small little town. guns help me keep my freezer full of deer all winter, and will help me protect my family if anyone tried to harm us. So lets take the guns away so people know that the "good guys" cant do anything to defend themselves when the "bad guys" get their hands on what will be "illegal guns"..

    December 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. tbone

    Piers Morgan go back to where you came from.

    December 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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