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. Richard H

    Banning guns does not work. A number of countries have restricted guns in recent years but there is not a single instance in which the murder rate went down afterwards. Good examples are the UK and Australia where murders went up after gun bans.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Patrick in Wisconsin

      Except 8 people were killed in all of UK this year. Nearly 3 times that number were killed in my city alone this year. The nation as a whole shed more than 10,000. Guns are part of the problem dude.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • tilopa88

      You shameless lier! The UK increased their gun ban and their gun violence went to virtually zero.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

      December 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • MT

      The changes are being implemented slowly. Murders by _firearms_ have remained relatively flat, in spite of increasing population, which means the per capita rate is declining. Go peddle your knee-jerk gun fondling wet dreams somewhere else.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • smalls

      England had 58 gun murders last year. America 12000. Gun control doesn't work?? Your an idiot!

      December 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sing A Dong

      We need to let kids carry their own guns to school !!

      December 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. empresstrudy

    You've got to love that sprong tool Piers Morgan going on and on and about whether it's time to debate gun control while he's debating gun control.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      Yes, he is a jerk.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gk

    Heartbreaking.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jeb

    In one year guns killed

    Canada 200
    Germany 125
    England 39
    U.S.A. 9,490

    God Bless America!

    December 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • EVIL IN AMERICA

      Wait, you mean to tell me that the total death of children in is:

      Mexico: 0???
      :)

      December 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cris

      Don't forget 10,000 dead in drunk driving fatalities..... So alcohol should be made illegal too.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alice

    I am blown away with the amazing people of Newtown – they are bright articulate and so compassionate. Quite a wonderful representation of America. The knowledge that is available about the school staff...principal and teachers is also most impressive. So tragic.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. trev

    167 children killed by CIA drones in the last seven years says you're wrong

    December 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. SaChief

    I wonder if the 6 yr old kids that got shot tried to run or did they just stand in place?

    December 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sabrina Bolton

    I am truly heart broken over this unthinkable measure that this person of pure evil did. I, being a mother of four with ages ranging from 2-14, can not begin to imagine the grief and pain the parents and families are facing... I just look at my children and cry, this really could happen anywhere and to anyone.
    Everyone keeps asking, "where's God in all of this?" And ,"if God is such a good God, why did he let this happen to these sweet, innocent children?" When he is taken away from schools, banned and barred from them, it invites the gates of hell to swing wide open unleashing the unthinkable... This is a prime example of what can happen if our nation isn't under God anymore... He can't help where he isn't allowed. The sad thing is, he is banned from so many places because we might hurt someone's feelings. I would rather hurt one person's feelings over having many innocent killed, ANY DAY.
    So, I ask..... Where was God in all of this??? He was right outside of that school weeping and begging to be let in. That's EXACTLY where God was in all of this.
    THE NEXT TIME WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT HURTING SOMEONE'S FEELINGS AND WE TAKE HIM AWAY, BAN AND BAR HIM... THINK ABOUT THIS VERY DAY AND HOW IT COULD'VE BEEN SO DIFFERENT IF HE'D BEEN ALLOWED IN THAT SCHOOL.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jeff

    I Hope he burns in Hell forever!!

    December 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. AB

    Do you believe in the right of a woman to have an abortion?

    December 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JACKEROFF

    AN EYE FOR AN EYE A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH

    WHAT WERE THE PARENTS DOING OF THE CHILDEN WHEN THE ISRAELI CHILDREN WERE
    BEING ROCKETED BY ROCKETS FROM GAZA INTO ISRAEL?

    THIS IS ISN'T A COINCIDENCE AND IT WILL GET WORSE. WHERE IS GOD. DON'T DENY THE TRUTH. LOOK TO IS REAL

    December 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Akr

    The NRA is a terrorist organization and those who pay their NRA dues and receive financial backing from them are terrorist sympathizers. These children were shot multiple times by this nut, who took his mother's legally purchased guns. I do not want to live in a country where this is legal.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BRi

      this is and what happens in blue states....

      December 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Radeckd

      who said it was legal to kill kids???

      December 15, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • L Adams

      See you later. Do not forget to write. So where are you headed to.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRi

      Please move out of this country one less liberal vote

      December 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • SANTA

      Bye bye whoever you were. You won't be missed.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • CHUCK

      Move

      December 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      what an incredibly stupid statement.Bye bye

      December 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ace

    Think about this.... there are thousands of kids and adults in cities across the country that have unregistered illegal guns... if u wanna talk about gun control we should start there.. and until that is undercontrol I don't think any one should have the right to defend themselves and there families taken away from them... also this tragic event is an issue of mental health care in this country or should I say the lack of... all who disagree should really take a few minutes and process this reality of a comment...

    December 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • L Adams

      I agree. Until the country get a handle on the reality of violence and there is no reset on reality. I do believe that movies and video games lead to some violence. We also have to look at the medications people are putting down kids throats. Just a few years back it was unheard of when a child took prescription medication. Now lots of kids are on it. I think good parenting could fix lots of these issues we are having now.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BRi

    This is
    what happens in liberal states...vote republican and this dont happen! liberals desrve this!

    December 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert

      Last I looked Arizona was a red state. Anyone remember Congresswoman Gabby Gifford?

      December 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Radeckd

    How about instead of focusing on stricter gun laws, we blame all liberal Hollywood for making so many violent movies and cashing out on it. Movies and games are much more to blame than gun laws. Of course Hollywood would never admit it. They are all about love, help etc.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • pajamaglam

      Hollywood gets to glorify, profit from, and spread simulated violence but they are the first to gasp in shock when that violence plays out in reality. They're also the first in line to support killing unborn babies under the guise of "choice," but gunning down six year olds is unacceptable. Misguided hypocrites.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      I think blaming the person who committed the crimes is in order. Stop blaming guns, hollywood, violent music and the lack of religion in schools. The guy who pulled the trigger is to blame. NOTHING ELSE.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • pajamaglam

      I'm libertarian, so I don't need a lecture on the importance of individual responsibility, thanks. Did I place blame on Hollywood? No, I pointed out the hypocrisy of their argument.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
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