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. 2bornot2b

    Gods and the NRA doing their best to bring us the next Dark Age.

    December 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    People have been asking "why" and "how could this happen". People have been asking these things since Cain killed Abel. Wake up people, it's called "sin" and the world is only going to get worse. The world is passing away. Believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us from ourselves and this world. John 3:16

    December 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • achepter

      Exibit A in "how this keeps happening".

      December 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      No David, it is called mental illness. And the sooner we stop blathering about god and guns and address access to mental healthcare, the safer we will all be.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mums

      David, that advice isn't exactly constructive nor consolatory. Furthermore, deferring to God to make it all better really is no different than doing nothing when tragedy strikes. It is empty, lacks use, and invalidates every single person out there who holds a different view than you. Instead, we should be offering real-world solutions such as promoting compassion, love, and an inclusive society. Each one of us needs to ask, "what can I do to help alleviate the pain and suffering in this world?" Maybe this means making yourself available to others as a mentor, coach, or teacher. Maybe this means donating time/energy/money to humanitarian causes. Or maybe it simply means listening the plight of others, hearing what they are saying, and understanding their view – not just waiting for your turn to speak to tell them about Jesus. I'm not against faith or religion, but too often I hear the same old thing coming from the faithful – just accept God in your heart and all will be well. Well, it's not all well. At best that's a crap shoot, and at worst it's an empty promise that justifies inaction. We need action. Love is a verb, right? Show love by acting, not spouting off some nonsense about iron-age mystics and prophets.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • hmm yep

      Today is worse like WW2? Worse than the christian crusades? Worse than the plague? Yep you are right, the world is getting sooooo much worse with all the record population and less people dying. You are the one that needs to wake up.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mom

    God bless the hearts of those who lost their lives in this horrible tragedy. Does anybody think of banning violent video games?

    December 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Paul

    To the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" sayers: Try doubting a bit. Good mental exercise. Try asking yourselves whether the mere presence or availability of a gun might make somebody already angry more likely to imagine or engage in bloody violence. Then realize that something doesn't have to be physically present to be available in your imagination. Then think of all the media images of gun violence, including the increasingly realistic and popular videogames now available. (Re those images, the late Mr. Adam Lanza wasn't wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, was he?) Now add to this the increasing separation of people and the ease and safety of using abusive language online. How many of you would talk to someone else as you write here if that person were large, healthy, and three feet away?
    So I have two things to say about that wornout stupidism that I put at the beginning of this:
    1. It's not even always true – want to look up the stats on accidental deaths from guns that weren't empty or waved around by little kids?
    2. The people that kill people are more primed for their actions than they used to be, by their own imaginations, lack of the common human empathy from the regular presence of close others in their lives, and, yes, the easy availability of guns.

    Rational discussion eagerly awaited.

    December 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Heywood Jabloveme

    I predict that someday soon the Sarah Palin family trailer will become as big a vacation destination as Graceland. It will be called Sarahland. Teabaggers, birthers and evangelicals from the four corners of the bible belt will make the pilgrimage, gladly paying $25, $35, or more for the chance to tour Sarah Palin's trailer and to go out back and see the actual outhouse where she took her morning dump

    December 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kerry Neal

    We can no longert attempt to accommodate those who defend the right to own and operate automatic assault weapons under the guise of needing them for personal defence. It is not difficult to argue intellectually the merits of any issue, good or evil – ask any lawyer – and how many times are we told that the perpetrators of brutality are quite normal people. In this age of frequent displays of extreme violence and disrespect under the banner of entertainment,we must not be surprised when young, insecure males, obviously deeply bitter and arguably influenced by what is now, under a veneer of social conscience, a very selfish society. This is not to say that the people of Sandy Hook are anywhere near selfish. From what we have seen and read, Sandy Hook is the embodiment of all that is good in the world – responsible people doing responsible things in a balanced way, but as is often the case, they become the target of resentment and envy.
    To reduce the chance of this dreadful day happening again, the gun lobby must be told to back off. Their influence over politicians has helped lead us to this day of disaster. Wisdom must now overpower selfish intellectual trickery. Wisdom is a state of mind based on the respect for allo that is good and valued in the process of creating good communities like Newtown. This day, 14 December 2012, must now be used to overpower the extreme lobbyist and ensure that the children and others who died did not do so for nothing.
    If we don't act to attempt to correct the wrongs of society, we cannot expect to escape the results of inaction.

    December 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      "automatic assault weapons" ? (by definition and assault weapon HAS automatic capability) .. that being said, how does an assault weapon relate to this tragedy? For that matter, can you find ONE incidence where a legally owned, registered, automatic weapon, has been used in a crime in this country?

      December 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bass

    I don't understand.. He killed his mom at home..then went to the school and killed his mom and her class?

    December 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      Yes, you are correct.You do not understand.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Heywood Jabloveme

    I guess some people have a hard time to detect sarcassm

    December 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Roto

    Not God, not gun control, and not greater security procedures could prevent this. Violence and greed are infused within the fabric of our entire society. I doubt we have the will to change our social fabric. The best practical thing we could do is to re-emphasize and fund mental health (which we have de-emphasized and under funded for 30 years). But that would cost money. We'll see what happens but the current state of our society is very sad indeed.

    December 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. we need security fences and metal detectors

    we need security fences and metal detectors at all schools just like we have at airports and courthouses. We protect lawyers and airplanes better than we protect our kids. Until we sort out all the BS politics of gun control and mental health issues and violence on TV and video games all of which are contributing factors in these horrors, we need to safeguard all of our schools with security fences , an armed policemen and metal detectors. It wouldn't cost as much as we think and it's the only way right now to stop these terrifying acts. Lets do it now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. supkrazyguy

    Obviously many of you people have not watched Zeitgeist, I won't waste my time here.

    December 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jlen

    In some states in order get a marraige license you may have a waiting period before they issue it. but to purchase a gun you can buy one with just a drivers license in about 20 minutes-INSANE!

    December 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hg

    So sad. There are no words. Time to start arming teachers, with mace guns at least.

    December 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • donna

      Humm I dunno about that, guys mother was armed with two handguns and it didnt do her any good

      December 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lbol

    Lets not elect officials who support these loose gun laws

    December 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nancy Fincher

    If all windows had a sign that read " THIS BUILDING IS ARMED" The deranged would think before entering, because they want to be the one in control.Guns make them feel big and powerful, but I bet you could not make them enter a building if they knew they would be facing guns . We could use the guys coming home from Afg. to help us protect. I think they come home and can't find jobs. This would be great if they could PROTECT AMERICA , HERE IN AMERICA .

    December 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Britta Taylor

      With every new tragedy these days, it always seems to be followed by the same commentary voicing the question: "Who can we blame for this?." To me, a small town elementary school, or any elementary school for that matter is not going to be able to expect a gunman barging in and going on a killing spree. Cracking down on gun laws is probably the best avenue to learn from the tragedy–however, the guns belonged to the shooter's mother, and he killed her too. It is agonizing when there is no clear recourse for horrible wrongdoings. The best thing we can do is respect and offer understanding to the plight of others.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • LoveGod

      Unfortunately many of the guys home from war bring rage and violence and disrespect for life with them! Do you know how many children lost lives and limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan? The number would shock you.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Totally agree.but the mentally ill will always find a way. Cars actually kill more people than guns do, then we have stabbing victims too. The problem is not the item used it is the Mental Problems.There are no answers to a tragedy such as thing except to mourn with the parents and families.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • rex

      Are we Americans, so inept that we need an AK 47 for personal safety and or for hunting down a deer!!!
      there are about 20 per cent of americans with some sort of mental illness, anyone when angry can buy a guy and kill you and your you want to put up with this............guns are going to be the opium of USA

      December 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • canuck

      protect americans here in america against american guns wow!

      December 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      There is no argument here, guns are the reason behind this tragedy. YES, it is true there is always a person behind the bullets. YES, guns cannot act by themselves without someone pulling the trigger. But are we really supposed to believe that had this mad man had only a knife that the same amount of children would have died? Not a chance. Anyone who tries to argue otherwise should probably be checked out the same way this deranged, coward, freak should have been.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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