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 (1,251 Responses)
  1. abmri60

    We are becoming a heartless nation.
    Sad, very sad.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. brenda

    The one that pulled the trigger is to blame, this sick mess about Obama is to blame, maybe you need to have your head checked. We all need to be praying for these families and be Thanking God for our children and families. None of us knew what this cold blooded killer was thinking.
    If his mind were set to carry this sinful crime out, it was going to happen, gun or not. Come on now, get your bibles out and not the blame game started. This fool killed his own MOTHER, with her own weapons. May God have mercy on these families.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. drinker75

    Very well said. A handgun or rifle is one thing. NO ONE should own assault rifles. It's stupid.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mark Jackson

    Ban guns immidietly... Founding fathers were wrong in second amendment.. Correct it now

    December 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carla from Kansas

      No, ban the divorce judge who obviously awarded these high end weapons to the wife who was caring for an emotionally challenged son. There were legally registered but to whom? Does anyone believe she purchased / registered these and had the wherewithal to secure them?

      December 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Will never happen. Just keep on dreaming...The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ellekay

      That's the most ludacris thing I've ever heard.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lauren

    Sadly this is just going to spark 'wannabes' and 'followers' and people are going to follow this guy and go to the nearest school (well let's not forget you shoot your mom first THEN you go to the nearest school) then you start shooting the place up including innocent little kids and teachers. Take that movie theatre tragedy for example. What did people do after? Do the same thing. Unfortuntaly that's gonna happen with this incident, because that's the country we have; filled with lunatics that enjoy killing children!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mark Jackson

    Second Amendment is outdates and not intended for mordern times.. Change it immedietly

    December 15, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • xsys

      Go ahead – make my day. They second amendment is the "solution" to people like you.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      xsys has just shown the world the problem. His immediate response is to basically shoot you. Nice.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chris

    I am sorry but guns are not the problem; mentally ill people are the problem.
    4 of the past 5 shootings have been perpetrated by mentally ill individuals; Virginia Tech and Columbine also involved decaying mental health.
    In the early 1970s the United States Supreme Court made caselaw that makes it very difficult to involuntarily commit danagerously mentally ill individuals until it is too late.
    we need to revisit this ruling; psychiatry has come along way since then. But we should not trample on the Second Amendment rights of normal Americans because of the misbehavior of mentally ill individuals.
    I also point out that Connecticutt has restrictive gun laws; these weapons were legally purchased and still the carnage happened.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • rick

      Chris - you're wrong because you'll never be able to detect with 100% certainty all mentally ill (or not) people who will commit violent gun crimes. However, if there are no guns, then there will be no gun crimes. It's pretty simple.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • fraserj1

      I notice you said the last few shootings were perpetrated by mentally ill people. Seems to me that the two factors are equivalent and that the mental illness doesn't trump the fact that these are all shootings, not stabbings, not poisonings, not beatings. Shootings.

      Both mental illness AND access to guns need to be addressed.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann M. Marini, Ph.D., M.D.

      Chris,
      Would you care to explain how you define "decaying mental health."

      December 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      That's a trick question. However the Virginia tech Shooter and the Aurora Movie Theater shooter and the Giffords shooter had all presented to psychiatric professionals such as yourself shortly before they acted out. I would presume that you and your colleagues would know "decaying mental health" when you saw it. Just sayin'

      December 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariah

      mentally ill people are still people. why is it so easy for mentally ill people – and people in general – to get high powered weaponry? i don't care if they're completely sane, i don't want my next door neighbor owning a glock.

      December 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Rick - we also have plenty of stabbings and beatings perpetrated by mentally ill individuals as well. Just not on the large scale necessary to get media coverage. In addition to shootings, EDPs (emotionally disturbed persons) commit all variety of violent and property crimes. We need to address the problem of mentally ill unstable individuals roaming free about in the community.

      December 15, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • fraserj1

      And that's exactly my point. This incident, and the other recent incidents, prove that it is all too easy for a single person to mow down scores of people easily with a gun. That same amount of carnage in the same amount of time would be very difficult if not impossible with any of the other methods I mentioned.

      More guns is not the answer. Less guns and more mental health services is.

      December 16, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jimbo

    how does an semi auto assault rifle that was found in the car , now blamed for the killings not the two pistols he died with in his possession. Secondly these guns legally purchased by the mother ??? Why would she purchase them for this nut job son with Asperger's who cannot function socially ? Those are questions that need to be answered.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. shekta

    what is the conversation switched to bouncey balls in gym class?

    THE CHILDEN WERE NOT IN GYM CLASS WHEN THIS HAPPENED?

    YOURS TRULY
    HAIRY

    December 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Wakeupnow

    More gun laws and turning America into a "police state" is NOT the answer. Cars kill people every year, should we ban cars? We can all ride horses around, wouldn't that be fun. I can kill you with my pencil. Lets ban pencils. These cries for gun bans is just ridiculous. I can hook wires up to your neck and electrocute you. Lets ban electricity. See how stupid that sounds. Stop demonizing "objects" and start looking at the ROOT of the problem. The problem is: TOO MANY WACKOS in our world! Mental illness, sin, people who are disenfranchised, hopelessness, anger, these are all the real issues.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Hit the nail on the head. The answer is so obvious that many of the wackos have already overlooked it and may never find it. Bring morality back into the school!

      December 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      This type of ignorance is so uncalled for. You're making a fool of yourself with these ridiculous comments.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    There are alot of different degrees of learning disabilities. The ability to reload and fire a rifle and to take life is not autistic IMO. Possibly learning impaired, but not autistic.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Corinna Davies

    Trying to keep the focus on the ones that lost their lives and the families and friends who are left behind...RIP...

    December 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Cheerios

    Violence in the media = violence in society. The founding father never meant for out-of-control medias and trash tv either, time to reassess the 1st amendment to fit a modern and civil society.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Ariel Perez

    Dont be fools Do not speak if you dont know his word. God doesnt allow. He keeps his word when he gave us free will. People like adam allows it. People with no jesus in their life just doesnt have that love. I hate religous people. But love Jesus. And how can u insault the parents n say no God? Those kids in Heaven!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. xsys

    Please stay in Canada where you belong. The only reason you don't need a second amendment in your country is because America is your neighbor.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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