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. Jude

    invest in kevlar and get used to seeing our flag at half mast all the time. the day one human used a club for attack and the other for defense was the day we began our continued battle amongst ourselves.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. april

    I think this was a horrific act! All those beautiful young precious children died and loving staff. It affects the whole nation as a parent its very concerning. Schools really need to concider hiring gunned security or cops at each school to protect children it shouldnt come to 20 children and 6 staff to die SOMETHING NEED S TO BE DONE nation wide at every school. Also my prayers go out to all the families may god be with you during this time and im so sorry it truly broke my heart and the nations hearts.
    Love April Zamarripa

    December 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kaba

    that bad why security was doing

    December 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    People say what about the video games and movies? and talk about the guns being sold? I believe the reason this keeps happening and I can be wrong Is that in other countries if you murder someone your killed. Here people get away with it or they are Glamorized by all the publicity. I don't own a gun nor do I want to , but I don't think getting rid of guns is the right thing to do. If people want guns so bad I think keep the back ground checks plus you need to pass some sort of psychological exam. If your gun is found on someone else or you buy a gun with someone else. You should also be in some sort of trouble. The answer isnt getting rid of what is already in so many homes. It is to make a discpline that is more aggresive I feel.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. settino

    America can"t figure out why there is a problem? Unbelievable!!

    December 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • are122

      We aren't alone...neither can China.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. neoconned

    now we know how afghani and pakistai families feel after our troops blowing them away for our peace prez.. end the 11 year war .

    December 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. llatpoh

    It is clear that we are not adequately dealing with mental illness in this country. In the 70s the Fed govt shut down the state run mental hospitals by removing funding. It is time to admit the experiment failed.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • are122

      Very true. Unfortunately there are little if any resources for the average person that cannot afford a $200/hr psychiatrist and even then no one can tell for sure. Ban guns they will use knives or bombs or acid or cars or gasoline or baseball bats, etc, etc. It is unfortunately an evil that cannot be predicted. Very sad.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. C4N4D14N

    Picture this. Lets say we 100% ban guns all together in the US. Really ask yourself what does that accomplish. I mean really think about that. Just like the alcohol prohibition, a black market in gun sales will arise where anyone of any age or any mental health status can buy a gun. Banning guns does not make all the guns that already exist disappear. Also, lets assume there have been 100 mass shooting in the US history. If you use simple math, that is only 0.000033333333333333335% out of the 300 million US population losing their mind. No matter how many laws you put in place, that small 0.000033333333333333335% of crazy people will find a weapon one way or another. Sorry to say this, but the reality is there is no solution to this problem. It is what it is. Tired of hearing people on the news say "We need to come together as a community, work together, and put a stop to this". Seriously, what does that even mean.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      As a fellow Canadian, you are heartless. Not the time for your comments on math and your ridiculous message.
      You obviously don't have children. Get off of this site, you're an embarrassment.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • C4N4D14N

      Take it easy Peter. Events like this creates 'discussion'. What part of my comments was heartless? My main point is that this is a problem that cannot be solved. Saying it is a problem that cannot be solved makes me heartless? I found yesterday's event disgusting.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • gdgdg

      there 300 mM guns in this country and the rate of death by gunfire is just unbelievable -- either they ban guns or they put a cop everywhere.....

      December 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • CAN

      I believe a combination of gun control and social programs would help. In Canada there are an average of 175 gun related murders a year compared with 9000 in the states. Its not hard to figure out what works.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      You are quite wrong. If only law enforcement have guns, they will be A LOT harder to obtain. You say that anyone can still get them on the black market. Be honest, do you think YOU could locate a gun on the black market? I would have no idea where to even start and I think it would be a bit more difficult than you think. Also, that stops crazy people from going into their parents stash and shooting up a bunch of innocent kids, does it not? This kid probably wouldn't have taken the time and effort to locate a gun in the black market. He also probably wouldn't know how to locate a gun on the black market. Taking guns out of the publics hands will help minimize street violence and basically eliminate random acts such as the one that happened yesterday.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • vintageouswood

      You are a soulless individual, please seek some help. As a fellow Canadian, you are also an embarrassment to other Canadians and just decent human beings in general. Why are you even on here with such idiotic remarks and logic? Go troll somewhere else loser.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • C4N4D14N

      vintageouswood – learn to control your emotions. Read my post properly and rationally, and you will notice that my point is that this problem cannot be solved – period. Instead of crying on a forum, give me a 'specific' example from my post that upset you? I find it annoying how you think my point of view on gun laws makes you think I have 0 emotions about what happened yesterday.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. eu70

    American culture is completely broken, these kind of killings keep happening every few months.These are the consequences of being able obtaining guns so easily, also the very high divorce rate the highest in the world, Hollywood and the media for showing so much violence on TV, stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,selfishness and greed of Americans,low level of education, so many different races and ethnic groups, completely incompetent government, what a shame

    December 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Crandall

      You forgot to mention 'deathrock' music. We just found out that Lanza was a 'goth'.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. maddawg

    Obviously whenever someone exhibits murderous rage their are other issues going on and there isn't a simply fix, however, guns DO KILL PEOPLE and in the hands of an unstable person make one capable of much bloodshed as we have seen. Gun control laws do need to be reformed in a major way. Here we have 20 kids dead, this would not have happened with a knife.

    20 children dead but people still want their "rights." I see gun ownership as a privilege and if that privilege is abused the right should be revoked. Social responsibility folks.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. john doe

    i have an evil NYC landlord – Laurence Gluck – who is a predator and is evicting tenants left and right so that he can fill their apartments with rich high paying tenants and make money, on top of his already net worth of 200 million, while he makes people homeless and the state and city of NY is turning a blind eye to it. nothing happens to him. he walks around like a big man. but 20 poor innocent children, who have probably never hurt a fly, are brutally murdered. there is no god.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jared

      your landlord has every right to kick out who he / she wants and replace them with someone else. That's life. Don't like it? Go learn new skills... Or move to an apartment that has cheaper rent. Or you can go psycho like this guy did – just don't hurt anyone besides yourself.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. llatpoh

    Big problem is that our govt does not want to acknowledge is that in this country we are not adequately dealing with/treating mental illness. When the government stopped funding mental hospitals run by States ( in the 70s), we stopped responsibly addressing this issue... it is now time to revisit the failed experiment and admit that we made a big mistake... and then fix the problem

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

    Why did the mother own all those guns?!

    December 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • littleblonddiva

      that's the question i would like to know as well.... why did she feel it necessary to own a semi-automatic that shoots off up to 1,000 rounds a min?

      December 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      Why did the mother have these guns? I am really amazed how the media is coming off as so shocked that the mother had these guns registered (owned). What if, for example, she had a father or uncle who passed or someone had left her these guns, by law, she would need to posses a FOID card and register each and every gun left to her. This is just one posssible explanation why she had them. A recent report just announced that she collected guns. Apparently she has followed the law to the T. The media may want to define the law to their viewers, instead of portraying such shock.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • ed

      diva – you can't shoot 1,000 rounds a minute with a semi-auto (or any gun, for that matter) – you'd melt the barrel.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kevin

    For the people who say knives can kill people easier than guns. Is that why people in wars fight with knives instead of guns?

    December 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin

    For the people who say knives can kill people easier than guns. Are you people saying a person with a knife can kill someone 1000ft away?

    December 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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