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. 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.’”

soundoff (1,251 Responses)
  1. kerala boy

    Mr.president ,
    I have a humble request for you .I don't want you to ban all the gun's or rewrite the law's ,all i'm asking will you be able to remove all the Automatic ,semi automatic and pistols any gun's which is compact and easy to hide off the store's ? people who really want gun's let them have the full-size barrel gun that should stay at their house for self protection like the law says . save our kids !!!

    December 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike H

    The NRA and their supporters are baby killers and the biggest mass murderers since Pol Pot. That's what people should tell these evil monsters whenever they see them. Don;t back down from these lying bullies.

    December 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Roberto Ordonez

    Too much about arms, but what about those horrific video-games were killing is all about, those games ???

    December 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Idi0ts

      Those are video games! Not reality.

      December 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shahid

      I 101% agreed you. US govt should take action agaiinst the killing games like call on duty etc. And must create law of Arms selling.....

      December 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. g

    it sounds like he should fit right in at foxnews then.
    enjoy your second ammendment america. i hope the nra can make it up to the parents of the dead children.

    December 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maureen

    Why on earth did the mother have all these guns. If her son had a mental problem she shouldn't have had all those guns available to him. Why did she need all those guns and why weren't they locked up. A gun safe is not that expensive and no amount of money to save a life. So sad and heartbreaking. Makes me sick to my stomach.

    December 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Emil Trillo

    American people should blamed all SCIENTIST that predicted "So called Mayan Prediction". People should STOP showing this IDIOCY prediction around the world. I think that this killer kid thinks that 12/21/2012 is coming and that if he wants to kill himself, might us well kill as much as he can. I am deeply sorry for all their family lost....

    December 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eric

    We can't even keep our borders secure. The only thing a ban on handguns would accomplish is to give us less personal protection. Don't you understand the only ones that would abide by any legislation would be people that wouldn't commit this act in the first place? I would agree that more regulation is needed, maybe requiring a licenses to purchase a weapon.

    December 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lee

    What a funny world we live in. The media and racists are always pushing their hate propaganda against black, hispanic, and middle eastern men. We should all be so very afraid of these men.
    Yet who has committed monstrous, unspeakable acts these past few decades? The mass shootings and other domestic terrorism is mostly perpetrated by white men in their 20s. They are who we should really watch out. But where's the hate propaganda?

    December 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Us soldier

    We will not bomb them because they are attempting to change how they trade oil they will trade using the dollar

    December 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Todd

    As will watch the news today, we here the same response “Gun Control”. While this may need to be address, what we don’t hear is a demand for regulations to secure our schools.

    December 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CH

    Could you please stop referring to the victims as carnage, it sounds so disrespectful.

    December 15, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JM


    December 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Maria

    Your nickname is just right for you. Your senseless rethoric about guns and defending the right to own an assault weapon. I don't get it, this terrible tragedy were 20 little children have died and people like you thinking in imaginary enemies.

    December 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. laurie

    If the Principal had a gun when she ran toward the gun shots, she might have saved many children!

    December 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nina

      NO. That's the whole point. More guns do not create peace.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jas18

      If the late Charlton Heston were still alive, I'd tell him: "Better YOUR dead, cold hands than a child's....!"

      December 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jas18

      What a load of bull chips! If "guns don't kill people" then NOBODY needs to own a gun for self-protection, because "guns don't kill people"....

      December 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • TimB

      Putting more guns in schools is your answer? Arming everyone in a elementary school is like arming everyone in a are just asking for more trouble.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |

      guns don't kill people but bullets sure as hell do.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • loverpoint

      Typical gun owner excuse for a solution. I'm surprised you didn't say something outrageous like; If everyone of those kids had been packing heat they would have been able to defend themselves.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stuart

      That might be the stupidest statement that I have ever read on the internet..

      December 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Or maybe he would have shot her, took her gun and ammo and ended up killing 32 kindergartners...

      December 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |

      We need to put a $100+ tax on each bullet purchased other than at a shooting range or for a lawfully permitted hunter

      December 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      At the Pearl ms. school shooting the principal went to his car and retrieved his 45 auto and stopped the shooter.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYKnows

      She would have been killed even faster – and she may have killed more kids with "friendly fire." The time for lies about guns is long gone, wise up!

      December 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eriberto Aguilar

      Or she might have shot wildly in her terror and missed. The mere fact that a citizen can own a gun hardly means that the chances of that citizen defusing the situation with it are much higher.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam Walworth

      That would be the perfect solution.

      Lets put fire arms to every kinder garden teacher, teacher's assistant, school nurse, janitor so that no gun man can ever dare come to a school with the intent of killing.


      Can you imagine if all the people had guns, and if they had heard the bullet sounds, most or some of them would have pulled out the gun and started shooting, not realizing who is the actual shooter and making it extremely difficult and dangerous for everyone involved to understand what on earth is going on.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      This is the bull crap that NRA folks have been spreading after each massacre.. Why don't you give guns to 5 year olds instead of toys!!!

      December 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      So why are we just talking about guns in this whole incident? How about schools safety?? How about locking schools entrances..The only people allowed in are the people working at school. Any visitor to the school should be buzzed in. And there should be a camera in that area. Same principle at at hospitals in pediatric department./nurseries, etc..A guy kidnaps a girl out of a bathroom a while back, comes in and out of school without any questions, unnoticed and brings her back 3 hrs later. Seriously?? This shooter had some altercations at that school few days before can he just come back that easily, goes in, and takes away so many innocent lives. Just makes me angry!!

      December 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • greg

      I agree with you. Let the leader of the schools be trained with a fire arm. At least they would have a chance to end the situation. Gun laws only effect law abiding citizens. Criminals will get the guns anyway. They are not going to follow the law, that's why they are called criminals.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • newazwriter

      I agree! My heart bleeds for these people...but in China where there are no guns,their kids are being slattered by men going into their schools with machetes. It seems to be almost weekly problem. Sad to say but if the teacher had a gun in her desk...alot less people would have died. I have been a skeet shooter for years and now carry a weapon 24/7 . Very sad as an feel the need,at almost 51yrs old

      December 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Name*vicki Allen

    My heart is broken for the entire community. I realize its too early, but for the sake of the kids, the school should be demolished and rebuilt. I could never go back there.

    December 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYKnows

      If this nation truly cared about intrastructure including schools, may be. But in fact, money flows to billionaires and billionaire's interests, that that does not include schools. They did not knock down Columbine, Virginia Tech, or the theater in Aurora. Practicality will win, and money will talk.

      December 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
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