[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.’”
WOLF BLITZER are you a pice of excrement?!
you saw the rockets in syria and thoght it was gas and you thoght this was a very hard story
but the US-schooting is much more woerse because all the parents you see in theyr grief?
what a piece of EXCREMENT are you WOLF?
do you thing in sysia there are no parents? no kids? no families?
because of people as you who get a hard on when sub-humans (as you would put it) this world did turn into sodom and gomorra!!!
do you think you are what superior?
do your self a favor and go to hell
this was very inappropriate!!! and it speaks not only for you but you speak (as i hope) also only for your self
Gun controlled Ottawa, Canada: Polulation 1 million. Murders in 2012: 7.
AMERICAN has failed to passed the TV law. They would bring back WWE Christmas Special and remove Charlie Brown Christmas Special on TV.
700 students suffer post traumatic stress disorder forced to see more violent content TV shows: Football, Wrestling, Guns, more violent sports and drama. post traumatic stress disorder can pressure kids to commit suicide in the future years like AMANDA TODD, etc.
The media is making this about gun control. But it should be about how the school district should have a full time armed policeman stationed at the school. Criminals will always have guns or other weapons and until schools are guarded we will – repeat, repeat, repeat !
This guy wasn't a criminal.....he didn't appear to have any criminal record.
Yes..guns don't kill by themselves. Yes, you have a 2nd amendment Right. BUT, you don't need military / police style guns to protect yourself & hunt.
I'll let YOU KEEP SOME GUNS. I'll trade you the best "Hunting" Rifle money can buy for your semi-automatic Bush Master . I'll trade you the BEST -SINGLE ACTION REVOLVER for your semi-automatic Glock.
Why won't the NRA PUSH THAT. It is the National Rifle Association...NOT the National Assault Weapons Association. GET OVER IT ! You don't NEED these style weapons to hunt & defend your family.
Yes, we need to find and treat the mentally unstable. Yes, we can't 100% prevent these type of tragedies. BUT, if this unstable person didn't have semi-automatic weapons he wouldn't have been able to kill so many children.
Now, what is your issue with that proposal? How does that limit your 2nd amendment rights? Come on a little common sense.
Because without a tricked out AR, you just can't be cool. That's what these are to most of these fools - toys. That, or pacifiers for their paranoia.
If there was no money to be made, there wouldn't be an NRA. Money is at the root of evil. It's the love of money. The NRA loves money. What they love more than money is more money and nothing else in the world. All they look at at the end of every month are spread sheet revenues and how they can do better. They don't care about people, they care about money. Money money money
Guns have been around the entire USA's existence, mass killing have only started about 20 years ago. As a law abiding person, why should I have to defend my right to own a firearm? If the USA entire history was riddled with mass killings by gun, you may have arguement.
A question for all u conservatives out there. Should Americans be allowed to own rocket launchers? If not, why not? It's just a gun with a big bullet. Where do u draw the line? We need to heavily regulate gun ownership and the types of guns available in the public domain. That's the bottom line.
Thats the difference between liberals, progressives, what the hell you call yourselves today, libs try to enforce what they think is right on everyone else, conservatives do not. When you find yourself in a life threatening position, I bet you wish you had a gun to protect yourself. If you do find yourself, dont call the police, they carry guns, stick to your principles.
As a Canadian who wants to know what kind of debate this is generating in the US I came to the CNN site to read some comments. I am honestly really shocked at the many flippant and some truly vile comments here. Also the ignorant discussion of Autism. For those who are against gun control, how do you propose to fix Americas gun violence problem? For those who deny it's a problem, how do you explain the 12,966 gun deaths in the US in 2010 vs 200 in Canada, 58 in Britain, etc? For those who claim people, not guns, kill people, how do you explain the other headline on Friday from China, in which another deranged man attacked a school in that country, only injuring 22 students (he only had a knife). Another mass murder, more media coverage, more hand wringing, more grief and words of resolve, more flowers, more monuments – when will anything be done?
When you elimnate the probelm in your own country, then preach to us. Guns have been around the ENTIRE US's existance, this mass killing only started about 20 years ago. USA has 315 million people, Crapanada only has 35 million Your stats are misleading, most likely intentional.
Per 100,000 ppl Canada is at about 0.5 gun homicides, Germany about 1.2, and the US is close to 3.0. So YOU figure it out. And do it quickly before the next one.
i don't appreciate what you said.
i do agree wth you and you are right. I believe the syrian children are not the same as americans.
we are a little more educated.
thanks for the comment. I appreciate them all. even when I don't agree
And this is why you have so many white male mass murderers in america. You are 'privledged', you are 'american', you are 'white', you can kill those who you feel are beneath you. Suffer little children.
people in syria have also kids and families!!!!!!!!
today you did show your real face!
you saw the rockets in syria and you thoght it was gas and you thoght this was a hard story
but now you see the parents in theyr gries and this is much more woerse
next time when you report about syria be honest and call them sub-humans you blody warmongering chew!
because of people as you this world is going down
do you get a hard one when you see muslim families. parents and kids die?
they are humans too nappriorityou know!
you are so inappropriate!!!!!! ... do the world a favor and quit at cnn! go to your friend nuttsyahoo and have some intercourse with him!
your a nothing WOLF!
Sadly, this incident will likely become a platform for the "assault" weapon ban. I feel terrible for those who have lost a loved one, but also feel this event will become a platform for political endeavors which will infringe upon the rights of those who own Bushmaster weapons. Any responsible gun owner knows that a Bushmaster poses little threat when compared to an AK-47 or comparable weapon. My prayers go out to the families and to the rest of America.
Wow, you really know nothing about AR's – or firearms in general I'd guess. AR's (Bushmaster is only one of many makers) and AK's are both capable of shooting hi-power rounds out of high capacity magazines. That would be why soldiers around the world use both, and why they shouldn't be in the hands of civilians.
Your prayers are hollow, Sean. Utterly, sickeningly hollow.
Hey Sean - political agendas and reigning in gun-freedom is now exactly what it needs to be about. Get over it.
Please read the article carefully. The ME is a moron. Hard to kill with a AR 15 that was left in the car. All the weapons were stolen by the shooter. A real shame one of the teachers wasn't carrying. Police officers canot be every where at once.
John – there are mounds and mounds of data and research which indicate that any teacher who possessed a gun would dramatically increase the likelihood that he, she, or someone she knew would be hurt or killed by a gun. Unlike the slim probability that they save the day in a "white knight" moment, that data is hard and well published. Come to think of it... weren't the guns used in this shameful episode registered to a teacher?
Michael – I am waiting to see your mounds of evidence. Unfortunately you will find that is why many schools have armed guards. For some reason they believe that a person with a gun is an answer to a lethal threat. Nice try. As for the weapons legally registered to a teacher I hope you will note she did not kill anyone. Please do not say she should have known he was going to kill her. I suspect you are very leary of your children killing you.
Seems if you cooment on reality, it is not published.
i don't know. the hairy ball guy got his comment posted.
Our deepest sympathy to the family, friends and all those affected due to this horrific tragedy.
The whole world mourns but NO COMMENT from the NRA...
They could comment–I would. Only 1 thing could have stopped the tragedy. And that is one of the teachers or school personnel having a gun. Gun control will never be the answer, because the bad guys will ALWAYS have guns. And he didn't use an assault weapon....
Hollow drivel, Spike. Every study worldwide – and state to state, here in the country – indicates that homicide rates are higher where gun ownership rates are higher. Gun violence isn't necessarily performed by "bad guys." Legally purchased guns in the hands of regular people kill, as well. Most who knew him probably considered Adam Lanza a "good guy" weeks ago.
Gun control doesn't curb homicidal behavior, but it does make it more difficult for a sociopath to wipe our thirty people in minutes.
And the guns used were handguns and they were stolen. It is clear what could have been accomplished if one of the teachers had a weapon.
Ironic, John – given that the weapons used were apparently owned by a teacher.
have you heard someone you know say they would make someone sorry? have you heard anyone say that someone will pay for what they`ve done? especially from someone that is liquidating personal belongings and saying they are going away... somewhere? call the police and let them know. you could very well be saving a life
We have no one to thank for what happened to these innocent children and adults but the ATHEISTS. Every since God has been removed from the schools, a CURSE has taken over these children's lives because of them. So, why are they waste their time in asking "Where was God" and they are at fault?
Yep, you figured it out. (Yikes.)
So God is so mad at that He sent someone in to slaughter a bunch of 6 and 7 year olds?
so, you're saying God makes people shoot children when they don't pray to him in school? sounds like a pretty crappy god if you ask me.
no, evilinamerica, you killed God by using "his word" as an instrument of your hatred.
What stupid logic! More people have died in mankind's history because of religious extremism than anything else. I narrowly escaped an attack on a crowded train station in Mumbai n 2008. India is not an atheist country by any means. Stop foisting your God on every one else.
So why doesn't God kill the Atheists, why take it out on the children?
So then since God was kicked out of schools, he hates kids now? As a great wise man once said...."God is an imaginary friend for adults!"
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