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. Mike D

    If his mother had no guns, he won't be able to kill.
    Control Guns.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      If his mother hadn't had guns, this sociopath would have gone somewhere else. The only people who wouldn't obey gun control laws are the people we don't want to have guns.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom H

      Cocaine is banned and is used by over million people each day in the USA.
      How can those people use cocaine if it is banned???????????????????????

      December 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Guns massacres were near non-existent as of the year 2000. The year is 2012 and at this rate we will all be dead in less than 300 years.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenn

      You're an idiot if you believe that.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cambride Ray

    Baggers have their hand immersed in blood (not to mention hatred, which another topic).

    December 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      What an immensely ignorant and bigoted statement.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      What an incredibly stupid statement.Please go away nutjob.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      American now should learn how to control the gun issues....America is the only nation that have the most issue with gun control. they cannot get thing done and that is one of the reason thsee thing happen again and again. A Crying president is not helping and is not strong to help even he want so nothing will get done 😛

      December 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rev. Deb S.

    To call NRA members 'baby killers' is just flat out wrong. The NRA and most gun organizations promote responsible use of firearms, not wanton killings. Most NRA members I personally know would have stood in front of that gun and taken all the bullets they could to save just one child. Sure the guns he had made it easy for him to kill but he could have killed many more by walkinging in with a homemade bomb strapped to his chest. A deranged person who is intent on murder will do it by whatever means they have, even if it is a pocket knife. Don't blame the tool, blame the one wielding it.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • gregg

      Theres a bunch of idiots in this country,they even voted fro obama

      December 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      A gun is not a tool, except in the hands of a legitimate hunter, soldier or law-enforcement person. A gun is always a weapon of death and destruction and to call it something else is just to put your head in the sand.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • DickPerry

      So you don't understand that the easy access to guns make it very easy for anyone to abuse them. Guess there is no point in telling you this since you are not capable of processing the information.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stray_Doggy

      "Guns don't people – people kill people" – Yeah right!! – Keep telling yourselves that and be in the lala land

      December 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • NRAtoblame

      What an inane comment "guns don't kill people..." BLAH BLAH BLAH – truth is if they weren't so accessible, you wouldn't have as many shootings. NRA are just children that never grew up and pout about amendment rights that have NOTHING to do with a country over 200 years later. NRA is a club for gun crazy hillbillys, plain and simple

      December 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Idi0ts

      The crazy anti-gun crowd is making it a push for their agenda. Now the Right wing wackos in the GOP want to make the GOP religion their only one at the schools. NONE of these stupid ideas would have stopped that crazy kid from killing. Maybe if he would have gotten the mental health treatment he needed this tragedy would have not happened. Why were guns in that house with a crazy person? Why is the gov closing out all mental health programs? It started with Reagan and continues till today. Expect more killings by crazy people. Crazy and guns is a deadly combination.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Disagree. If we're going to silence the media we might as well move to Iraq. People this sick are beyond being influenced by TV anyway.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MsMaryE

    Why was the BBC news first to tell us about the assault rifle? Why did CNN say the rifle was in the car?

    December 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex Brown

    I have no issues with people keeping small handguns to protect themselves from burglars. But why on earth are civilians allowed to buy military style assault weapons with high capacity magazines?

    December 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      Hey stupid.An "assault rifle" is a tntermediate cartridge select fire MACHINEGUN.Already highly controlled by law.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • L

      They don't trust the gov't.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |

    The Tea party aka the new kkk is causing this...with all their hate..

    December 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • gregg

      what a idiot probably on welfare food stamps but saying i cant work insurance will double Atena ceo bet his job on it ours went up this month already 100.00 bcbs get the facts

      December 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    People silence yourselves with taking guns and keeping guns... all it does is kick start the survival instinct in the human mind. Lot's of people on this Earth are in survival mode.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike White

    It's so sad that this happened to so many innocent children. We, as a nation, aren't protecting our colonies from the Red Coats anymore. We are not blazing trails to the new western frontier either. Legislation must be passed to regulate the types of firearms citizens are allowed to own. Did a kindergarten teacher honestly own a bushmaster for hunting dear? C'mon America please get your act together. #newtown

    December 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TPF

    This is a horrible horrible tragedy that unfortunately can never be stopped. I am sure as more time passes and we learn more about this deranged individual, that he suffered from a mental illness, and there were red flags all over the place.
    These mentally ill people look as normal as anyone else and that is what is so scary. These individuals will kill at any place at any time and we are defenseless against them. I don't know what the answer is but all the so called experts that think they have the answer, really don't, nothing against them at all but no one, no matter how many degrees they have, or how smart they are,or how many years they have been working with the mentally ill, they don't have the answers. And to hash this out in the news media or on the talk shows is probably not the right thing to do either.
    I wish this would never ever happen again but as long as we have mental illness as wide spread as it is what can we do? But why does it take tragedy like this for people to show how much they care about one another. This also happened right after 911, but it didn't last any time at all, and people were back to being their normal selfish and negative ways once again. Maybe that's just human nature but it has to change. This feeling of hatred and the need to do harm and kill people has to stop. I am not a religious person at all, so I am not talking about ones belief but just asking why are we so self centered until a tragedy happens?

    December 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |

    People like ATHEISTS have kicked God out from public schools and you expect for God to intervene ONLY when chaos takes place??? When you decide to bring God back to these schools, then we can start asking questions about why God didn't intervene, until then, you UNBELIEVERS are stuck with reaping what you've sow and be blamed for putting your curse upon the children of this generation.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      That is all a bunch of sick hogwash.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • iiidarkknightiii

      First of all you nut case... God has never left the schools, You are allowed to pray and follow what ever god you wish to follow in said schools... They even have clubs and after school activities for faith based students... People like you need to stop using GOD as a scapegoat to get your agenda pushed.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Evil in America – you helped kill these children. With your right wing anti gun control nonsense. Their blood is on your hands.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. butterfly

    If there is a 9th level in Purgatory, I hope that monster is on the 10th!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bee

    Let's not hear anything about this being "God's will." These children were not "taken" by God, if s/he exists. They were taken by a deranged shooter who should not have had access to guns. Please don't blame God.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • gregg

      Godswill what a stupid saying your right Bee

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

    Now is not the time to discuss your political or religious beliefs. Please have respect for the families experiencing a great loss at this time and take your opinions elsewhere. RIP to the victims of this horrendous crime.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    It's not about race! I see a lot of blogging that people are now scared to send their kids to "white" schools or live in white neighborhoods. There are good and bad people of all races! Including mass murderers and serial killers. This should be time to unite, not divide.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. joe

    He was only 20,and he was eligible to buy a weapon!!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • gregg

      He also can go to fight muslims for no reason so whats your point

      December 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
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