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. Cierra

    Why keep talking about Afghanistan that is not the topic the topic is these poor babies and innocent adults whose lives got taken and the question everyone should be wondering is if he was mentally ill

    December 15, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Selmers

    *you're

    December 15, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. shilohshepherdmom

    Already, a friend of mine who has a child with autism was told in a mall last night that her son has no right to be alive, no place to be in this world. I'm a Repub and it is time to do something about our mental health system, guns, and violent video games. Don't start blaming autism and begin a massive witch hunt against many more innocent children.

    December 15, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • mikeyd

      Violent video games are not a part of the problem I own plenty and would never even think of harming anyone. Did he steal guns and and commit this tragic crime with video games no he didn't. Again movies are more violent than most video games why aren't they blamed? They show murders and video of war on our national tv channels accessible even to our youth.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Pataka

    What a shame for our country.

    Messing with NRA is political suicide.

    But i do believe, before obama's second term is over, there will be significant controls in place. I only hope it is before another tragedy.

    December 15, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. k.g

    Am praying for all involved this is sad and words cannot express the hurt i feel for these individuals. And as for the children deceased they never had a chance to really live yet and that makes it even sadder. Also its not the guns that kill its the people behind them.
    God Bless

    December 15, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rob

    OK Wolf stop making the .223 an issue. It was in the car so he DID NOT USE IT!

    December 15, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Grannieliz

    Some think we have always had violence like this, that it is just reported on more today. No. Today we have more, and newer levels of evil!

    December 15, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. lostincanyon

    As a parent, I just can't shake off of the horror. Lot of these comments are right on!

    Parents and family know if their children are troubled, or if something is brewing – if it's too expensive to get them mental health – get them a job, labor helps keep sanity! Also, there's been a cult-like fascination to militia with a dosage of violent games and a pull to dark-fame of Columbine syndrome – add a little selfish victimization problem of a sulking child – you've got a problem!

    December 15, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Slaytion

    If guns kill people, does Motor-vehicle kill people? More people are killed by Motor-vehicle and Poisoning every year than guns.

    People who kill people with DUI we blame the driver not the car. People who kill people with guns we blame the guns. Does this make since to anyone?

    December 15, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • red

      What is the purpose of cars? What do we primarily use them for in day to day lives? Now, what is the SOLE purpose of a gun?

      December 15, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Name*sherry hensley

    Psychotropics should be banned!

    December 15, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rob

    Maybe it's a good thing he had access to firearms. What if he had followed Timothy McVeigh's lead?

    December 15, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kathy

    Such sadness....we should be praying for the families of the slain and TALK ABOUT THEM...not the killer or the guns...a person could have used a knife or a ball bat or a bomb made from every day items....ITS ABOUT THE FAMILIES THAT HAVE LOST A LOVED ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill B. Connecticut

      Uh, sorry, at times like this I think its wildly irresponsible not to talk about guns. You want to ignore the maniac who did this, I'm with you.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. xenoc

    Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85). The NRA by this definition is a prime supporter and enabler of terrorists and should be held accountable as shoud the policitians who further their agenda and the members who pay dues to support directly and indirectly the activity of domestic terrorists. We as a society have spent trillions on pursuing international terrorists while allowing these enablers of domestic terrorists to run our government and bully our society without check. Would this horrible tragedy have happened if even a fraction of the money spent on thw war on terror were spent on mental health and the NRA and their supporters confronted with any vigor to develop rational gun control laws?

    December 15, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • SG

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

      December 15, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill B. Connecticut

      This is the kind of stuff that will not lead to a meaningful conversation.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill B. Connecticut

      SG I agree. The notion of some romantic inherent right to own guns is looney, imo. In the wake of 20 dead children its flat out nonsense.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Slaytion

    Put a ban on all cars
    In 2010, 32,885 people died in traffic crashes in the United States
    In 2011, 32,367 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States

    December 15, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill B. Connecticut

      That's complete nonsense. Guns serve no purposeful utility. If you banned all cars, the nation's economy would screech to a halt. Its not the same thing.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      The NRA does not support or encourage such acts. They do not encourage people to buy guns to attack others. It is for protecting yourself and your family, for hunting purposes (that some people need to do to survive), but definitely not to attack other Americans, especially little children.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Zenna

      I am so tired of this absurd argument.

      Cars are not only extremely useful, and they are crucial to our economy. Guns? They have only one purpose – to kill. To inflict pain.

      There's a reason you can't buy a vial of small pox. Or some plutonium. We spend millions to prevent unstable countries like Iran and North Korea from getting weapons of mass destruction. Why? Think about it.

      Oh, and the argument that "playing with guns is fun" doesn't work, either. You're a subsistence hunter? Fine, prove you're worthy of a hunting rifle or learn to trap.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kackerfeldt

    What has happened is terrible. We are all trying to find reasonings for it. The only conclusion is the people that knew Lanza should have noticed a change in his behavior leading up to the event. People don't just leave the house and pull off a disgusting mess like this. They plan it! They will usually threaten or talk about it weeks leading to the event. We need to start taking a better look at the people around us and if someone has made threatening remarks don't just say oh it wasn't a big deal, we need to take things seriously and talk to the person to find out what's going on in their head. If someone wants to do something they are going to find a way to do it. Even if his mother didn't have guns he would of found a way to get them somewhere else. His mother just made it easier for him. Excuse bad punctuation typing from phone.

    December 15, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Constantine17642489;)

      Good point, in otherwords your saying stop the problem at its source, before it begins and gets too far out of control?

      December 15, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • BHOELLER

      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.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Theresa Brown

      I agree with Kackerfeldt – we need to look closer at the ones around us that are frankly not well adjusted and way to alone. If they say something – report it – put them on the radar. Personally as a child of the 1950's when this did not happen EVER – we had guns. That isn't the essence of the problem – what we didn't have was exposure to violence everyday on the tv, in music, in video games. We played outside – not in front of a tv or game where we learned to be a loner – got immune to violence or saw it as a means to an end. Gansters weren't glorified in movies and music like they are today – and allowed to polute the enviroment with their hate. PARENTS need to stop paying for games, music, movies, Tv and all the other crap out there that says these things are OK. Demand better TV, better movies, by not buying them. Watch your children, learn their friends, spend time with them – know your sitters, stop tolerating the polution. Clean up the enviroment!

      December 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
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