[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.’”
GOD comfort the Parents,Hope those BABIES didn't suffer, The Nation is PRAYING for Newtown,Connecticut.
More gun control is not the solution to end this type of domestic terrorism. Shootings like this and others have one thing in common and that is that the law prohibits the possession of firearms on these properties. These terrorist choose these specific places because they are easy targets that will not have an equal amount of resistance to stop them. School, movie theaters, and most parks. Just imagine if there were a law abiding citizen with a firearm in this places at that exact moment some or all lives could have been saved.
your reaction is repulsive and your point of view is the very reason this happens in this country.
Why does a stay-at-home housewife in suburban Connecticut need an assault rifle, in additiob to 2 handguns? How long ago did she purchase these guns?
That was my question...especially when apparently she was caring for her son. Why have guns around if you have an unstable person in the house?????
Who says she "needed" it? Maybe she only "wanted" it. Not everyone who has that type of firearm is expecting to fight off an invasion. Many people have them simply because they're fun to shoot.
I really wish CNN would stop broadcasting the shooter's name. He does not deserve the recognition. For him to carry out such a heinous, cowardly act, he should NOT be named. He is an insignificant person who now no longer exists in this world. My heart goes out to the families trying to come to terms and deal with their horrendous losses.
I agree, the name of the killer should not be continually mentioned.
I would like to know why wolf blitzer has to keep repeating the psycho;s name, instead of just saying the suspect. Everyone knows these people want to
be recognized. We sbould not be giving him this opportunity o the air. The other cnn reporters are very respectful And i think wolf should also or be taken off the
I totally agree with you, if you have a debate , let your guests talk and don't insult them if their views are not the same as your.
In the wrath of the tragedy that befell upon the innocent children in Connecticut, I feel is the blame
on our own country.
This person was clearly mentally ill to do such a horrible crime, and continue to kill after the first
shot was fired. It is not the blame of the gun(s) he was carrying. That was just the tool to carry out
the deed. This person's mind was saying kill, and would've used anything to carry out the deed.
This country closed thousands of mental hospitals, and treatment facilities And what hospitals are open, because
many of these people do not have adequate insurance coverage, they are unable to receive treatment.
I feel, and as we have seen over and over, that the conditions of mental illness (schizophrenia, etc) is a
dangerous serious illness, that needs to be under the treatment of trained professionals. Many need to be
monitored for their own and the safety of others.
Outpatient mental health should only be used as a stepping stone to get these people the help they need,
with referral to higher trained facilites, and as a follow-up after a person has been deemed stable, for monitoring.
Many families are anguished because they try to get help for loved ones, and are unable to receive the help that
is needed, due to cost, and lack of room at what little facilities there are.
But...if a crime is comitted, (such as what happened in Connecticut), then they are sent to a treatment facility
immediately. This is wrong!! Treatment should be started before a crime is committed, and thus insures the
safety of others.
Mental health needs to be easily accessable, assessments need to be complete, and/or treatment started immediately.
Our country needs more facilites. Our country needs to fund these facilites. Our country needs to take care of our
people. Mental health conditions is a disease, that if treated, many can go on to live productive lives.
For the sake of our children, Mr. President, please consider and take action for this issue. Do not allow the
criminally mentally ill to walk our streets.
You're making a lot of assumptions; both about the mentally ill and this monster parading as a human being. There's no current evidence that he was either mentally ill or if so, that he did not have access to mental health services. Could he have killed someone without a gun? Undoubtedly. Could he have massacred 27 innocents in a matter of minutes without a gun. Highly unlikely.
you need to look at evidence!!! Guns kill people. Simple as that. Look at countries where guns are banned and compare their gun-caused death cases with those in the U.S. You will be shocked. I am from Europe so for me there is no discussion about gun control. It is a must to keep the society civil.
My brother is bipolar. After 8 years of threatening suicide or harm to my parents, they finally succeeded in having him "put away." But the state would only do this AFTER he committed several misdemeanors. It's sad they have to commit some type of crime before the courts will finally listen.
In this day and age, with all these mobile devices. Where there no camera's watching us? A gun dialogue without saying the word truth, is a dead issue. Why are people so proud of their own heroics. This is a humbling experience, for too many to witness. Lean not on your own understanding, neither praise men. When bad happens glorify God and the devil will flee. Watch the little children are known to save the lives of others by their home training like dailing 911. Not asking questions, is like hoping to be brainwashed by ignorance. Little children this the last time, God is not the author of confusion, mankind is. Be strong, be brave.
Today I am thankful for my life and morn for the lifes that were taken
Yours is truly the only meaningful post here.
Thank you for braving the muddy etherworld to acknowledge the babies that were lost.
Also, the adults lost in yesterday's tragedy,
Should you folks disarm before the rest of the world starts thinking you’d rather have your guns than your children?
When people say this is not the time for talk of stricter gun control, I can only think "when is the time". How many more innocent lives need to be lost because of the delusional people who think having a deadly weapon is in some way going to protect them. Far more legal guns are involved in crimes, in accidental shootings and terrible events such as the one yesterday than are successfully used to protect the owner. The argument that controlling the sale of guns will not prevent their use makes no more sense than saying we should not have speed limits because so many people drive over the limit. We need to change the way we think about weapons and the "right" to facilitate these horrendous and sickening events by putting the illogical arguments of gun advocates above the rights of everyone to live in a society where deadly weapons for sport are not tolerated.
Tell that to the young mother who saved herself and her newborn child when an intruder broke in with a deadly weapon. She shot and killed him before he could assault and possibly murder her and her children.
I think Piers Morgan was bang on last night and should be applauded for standing up for the vicitms and all of the future victims of the US mass shooting phenomena. I was sick to my stomach to hear the answer is to arm more people so someone can shoot the perpetrator before they kill. It is an obscene argument. I am not a US citizen but the rest of the world is looking at your Country with pity, and shaking our heads at you. You are not fighting the British any longer. You have become your own worst enemy. You live in a make believe world with little league and tailgate parties and parades and patriotism. While admirable, you are killing each other with your ridculous right to bear arms. Why don't you focus on the right to love and respect one another and live the life you all try so hard to portray. Very sad. You need to change your behavioours which is a very difficult thing to do. Change your beliefs, or you may be the next parent burying your child. Put some of that energy you have for sports into rallies for gun control and make a difference. Please! May God welcome thos epoor children with open arms and watch over their families.
by your logic, we should also ban baseball bats, fireplace pokers, any object of any substantial weight, cars, planes and trains....the list is endless.
People are killed by those items as well. Assault of and murder of children is hardly a peculiarity of America...try reading your international news.
Gee, thanks so much for your lovely expressions of sympathy and kindness, Kevin, you remind me very much of your fellow Brits who also shreiked that we were responsible for bringing 9/11 on ourselves. Yes, let's please blame the victim. It's just so helpful, and makes us feel so much better about ourselves, doesn't it? For me, the worst thing about that day wasn't enduring the attack itself, but having to endure the stupid, hateful comments from people like you afterward. Can you imagine how you would have felt about an American spouting your type of nonsense after the attacks in London? Or Dunblane, for that matter?
Also, it would be prudent for you to pay more attention to the news, before you go spouting your noxious little theories on comment threads – the same day that this happened here, a knife-wielding psycho killed 22 people at a school in China. Never mind what happens on a daily basis in the Sudan, the Congo Republic, Zimbabwe,, etc etc etc etc.....
As a american, I certainly don't care what you think. Stay home.
WHY?WHY?WHY you ask this happens here... lets all aggree to stop murdering and killing children across the world since we all have a hand in it by supporting our governments lies then what goes around comes around will not happen to us! but untill we dont accept the fact that WE HAVE A TERRORIST PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY HOME GROWN WHITE TRASH then we can be in equal terms with other TERRORISTs which eventually can help us focus in fightin and eleminating home grown terrorism by installing an eye for eye law which pre dates to HAMMARABI times in BAGDAD then you will see how all this will come to an end. Lets FACE IT WE LIVE in a sick mentality white trash hillbelly country that acts like a civilized nation hahah civilized my ass... Never the less my prayers go out to those families that lost their kids and loved ones they never deserved this, like the rest of the helpless kids and adults all over the world. God bless the world.
Its time to employ the same Biometric Access Control Technologies for our schools that is being used on our Ports...TWIC
The argument about guns is a joke.
Assault vs hunting vs hand gun????
Why worry about assault rifles when hand guns hold 15 plus rounds and fire as fast as you pull the trigger???
The numbers don't lie.
Every year the USA looses thousands of lives to guns.
Take a look around the next gun show and count eight thousand people and imagine them gone.
That is a lot of people.
My heart goes out to the families involved.
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