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. Kevin

    For the people who say knives can kill people easier than guns. Are you people saying a person with a knife can kill 20 people in a minute?

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

    we need it all. video game, guns, knives controlled. use data to profile potential problemed people, get them help and make people around them aware of the potential. we also need to look at our society and have an honest and educated talk on the root causes of our major problems

    December 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tinmar

    America's love of guns is killing her.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ohiomom

    This is the best point I have seen in this discussion. These crimes are perpetrated by younger white men, and that is largely the population who is rabid about no gun control, you won't take my guns, etc. There is something there for sure.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. robertnevin1

    Housecat, get your facts straight. The 22 children in China attacked with a knife were injured but NONE were killed. Check
    This proves the point that guns are the problem. There will always be occasional assaults, humans having the capacity for anger and violence that we do. If it is done with knives, baseball bats etc. there won't be nearly the death rate as with guns. Surprising that the gun advocates can't get this point.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pl

    Analysis? Nobody knows when or if another seemingly straight person is going to go berserk.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rascal minihan

    I wonder what caused Adam to stop shooting and then take his own life? Did the police arrive? Did he run out of bullets? Was there a hero that caused Adam to take his own life? I think we can give thanks that Adam didn't kill many more. I hope we can figure out how to prevent this in the future. I agree with many that the video games, movies and TV that glorify killings are partially to blame. This is so senseless. My condolences to those who lost their loved ones.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patricia Fedorshak

    We have fire drills constantly. In the light of this tragedy maybe it's time to have "shooter drills" for lack of better words. WEEKLY!! I am a grandmother to a kindigardenerx this will be beneficial and ultimately life saving. To weekly practice escape procedures in this kind of event. Unfortunately times have changed OUR CHILDREN ARE NO LONGER SAFE!!! Please consider this.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparky

      Schools, apparently including this one, already have "lock down" drills regularly.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. a mother

    I don't get it. If you had a child who is autism or has some kind of mental illnessor disorder, a bit socially isolated, or acted strange, why would you continue to keep guns at home? His mother must have known that Alan wasn't normal child, 20 yrs old and still lived with her. He had got to show some kind of violent sign in the past and why did his mother have loads of guns within his reach at home?

    December 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Living at home at 20 years old is abnormal?

      December 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • RPats

      20 years old and still lived with her? As a 21 year old I can definitely tell you that an extremely large amount of 20 year olds live with their parents still. It's around the time of graduation and many choose to stay home to cut costs. Since when is that criteria for having something wrong with you?

      December 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Liberty4all

    Rumor has it the White House is ready to blame this on a YouTube video...

    December 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • texcal68

      Not very funny!

      December 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark C

      Rumor has it that you are one very stupid mofo.

      This just in: the rumor is confirmed.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • smartguy42

      Another tea bagger looking to be on the wrong side of history.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mona

      Too bad the others here do not have the same compassion for the young fathers that died in Libya protecting others. Typical American now days... It would be nice to see a crying out for them too! Instead, since Obama has plenty to do with it just call anyone that brings it up a moron, crazy, loser or whatever. my heart goes out to those boys families too that no one seems to give to care about. Why would you not cry out in the same manner to bring their murderers to justice?? I wish it were you and not them but.. you are not as brave as they were are you??

      December 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. a mother

    I don't get it. If you had a child who is autism or has some kind of mental illnessor disorder, a bit socially isolated, or acted strange, why would you continue to keep guns at home? His mother must have known that Adamwasn't normal child, 20 yrs old and still lived with her. He had got to show some kind of violent sign in the past and why did his mother have loads of guns within his reach at home?

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

      No he did not hAVE to have shown any violent signs and lots of normal kids are living at home at 20 still.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      I was wondering the same well as why the father and mother didn't get this kid some help knowing he wasn't right.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernard07

      FYI it is "has autism"

      December 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    For the people who do not like gun control or ban, does that mean you guys are happy this incident happened? I do not see you guys doing anything about this.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      If one or more person(teacher,janitor, medic)would have had a gun and the training that i took to acquire my CW permit.There would have been a far less loss of life.Outlaw guns and only the wicked will have them.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • wizard

      Note that this event occurred in a zone which has VERY strict gun control laws...namely a school. Note also that, more than likely, the only person on school grounds who had a gun was the person shooting all the innocent people. If the principal or the psychologist or any other adult had had a gun and the correct training, then this guy would not have been able to kill 20 children.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      Your question does not make sense. No one in their right mind is "happy" about this tragic and horrible incident. So why would you infer that those who understand outlawing law abiding citizens right to have a gun is actually happy about such a thing? Senseless stupid question. Hardly an argument for what realistic people understand.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mama of two

      The guns are not the problem. Killers will always find guns – even if they are banned. The problem is in the mental state of people and our glorifying of violent games, movies and even tv ads.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. J C K

    Tell the truth ! ! ! It is time to eliminate ALL guns in America. Not any amount of security, camaras, police or gun control will end the killing by guns. Only eliminating all guns will stop the killing. There is not any freedom in America with gun violance. No one needs a gun. If I owned a gun, I would take a sledge hammer to it and throw it in the ocean. . .

    December 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • JWT

      Guns are useful tools for some people. But there are far too many people that have them and also do not store them properly.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary M

      If yoy get rid of all the guns you will have a dicktatorship. You need to move out of the country.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      I do not agree at all! If someone breaks into my house in the middle of the night and is going to harm my child or me I am going to shoot to kill! If you had it your way and nobody had guns that wouldnt stop killing a LOT of people are killed with knives so what would you want to be done about that??? Then how would your cut your steak? People are strangled and killed with rope cords and panty hose you want them banned also? Please be real.... Its very sad what happened at the school yesterday I cried all day watching the news. Maybe schools could lock down each room have thicker walls with small bullet proof windows in the door. But no matter what safety messures are taken there will always be danger because there is SICK people in the world. I pray for all the victims I do not know what they are feeling nor do I ever want to know! My heart goes out to all.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Let's Get Real

      It will never make sense to me how people only react when it's an isolated incident regarding a legal firearm and especially one which was used by someone other than the owner, but the countless children murdered in a war funded by our own tax dollars go unnoticed. Take Brooklyn New York for instance. How many little African American or Hispanic children are struck and killed by stray bullets from ILLEGAL guns a year? Where is their sympathy, their prayers, and the outrage for their situation? This country picks and chooses what to be outraged about according to numbers and skin color. I refuse to take most of your drastic, uneven comments seriously. Banning guns will put us all at a disadvantage in regards to police, military, and criminals who will always find a way to get their hands on guns, period.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liberty4all

      I'm with you JCK, as long as the same goes for the government and the police. If you love freedom so much, you might want to compare your situation with the 40,000 dead Syrians where there's a 100% weapons ban for the people, but not for the people in the government. Those who turn over their guns to the government to make plow shares, will soon be pulling the plow shares for the government.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hariprem

    He was on MEDS . this is the big untold story. most mass murders are committed by people on or coming of psych meds. No one wants to know or ask about it.. look it up

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

      Because crazy people do tend to take meds, half-wit.

      December 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • chicadow

      Just curious where your “most" statistic came from. Are you sure it's not most.5? So is your recommendation that most people diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses not be given meds, Mr Cruise?

      December 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cheryl Pickering

    get the coroneroff the tv, OMG he is so embarrassing and full of himself, These families are dying inside, he is terrible people person!!!

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