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. momof3

    we don't only ban guns but also video games that promote killing and shooting!!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dadof4

      Guns are here to stay...Imagine the loss of life if you tried to ban guns...Please think before you speak...Guns owners are not just turn in their guns at the local Police station...

      December 15, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John B

    With all due respect to CNN and other news networks. I think it is time to establish a public policy on the amount and method of media coverage these types of tragedies get on television. The near non stop coverage for days could easlily fuel some other disturbed individuals to do the same thing and further disturbs children and familys.

    Detailed coverage could be done on the web or other media that could provide details but could at least be made less easily available.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      I totally agree about the media coverage.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      Fully agree.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      I Agree

      December 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Disagree. If we silence the media we might as well move to Iraq. People this sick are beyond the influence of TV anyway. Plus the overage is helping to open up thegun on troll debate.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grandmother

      Amen !!

      December 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Izzie

      Most intelligent statement on this blog. The media needs to respect the victims and let families have privacy to process what has occurred and heal. God bless these Families . The media needs to stop.
      Over coverage becomes about everyone becoming experts and getting 10 minutes of fame.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NRAtoblame

    Since Columbine, the USA has had 31 school shootings, while the rest of the WORLD combined had 14. Keep it up NRA, you're doing a smashing job!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      And the shooter's message, personal message, continues to fall on deaf ears. Our youth and early adults are tired of feeling unwanted, unneeded, rejected, and even incompetent in just living life. Some are "done, tired of trying." If you want our loved ones to be safe in the US, this is the dilemma that needs our utmost and immediate attention. Any other route will not resolve the issue. This IS the issue.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • xsys

      You're an idiot – the NRA is not to blame for this tragedy, the shooter is and is the only one to blame. I cannot understand why you just cannot see this. Especially in light of the fact that a crazy man in China just stabbed 20 children with a knife (not a gun).

      I get that they are mostly using guns here, but the problem is the people doing the killing. Focus on determining why they are doing this instead of infringing on my second amendment right!

      December 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • drinker75

      Give me a break Mike. Everyone can make themselves feel needed, worthy, etc. It is not up to others to make someone feel worthwhile. Pathetic. Maybe that is the real problem. A bunch of whiners who were used to everyone getting a prize without earning it and then they grow up and realize they actually have to work for something.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Oh please.....

      2,000 police with guns responded and as usual they couldn't save one person from this senseless act.

      So how do good people protect themselves from being victims????

      Maybe if one good person in that school had their own gun???

      You can't legislate crazy...

      December 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      If a sane person in that school had their own gun....

      Maybe we would be talking about live heroes instead if dead ones.

      The police usually get there too late

      In my .... house I am 911

      December 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. drusilla

    DO YOU PEOPLE IN THAT STATE KNOWS HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN GUNSHOOT WOUNDS? With your guns you should also own your own oxygen tank, anesthesia machines and defibrillator So you can take care of your own mistakes.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • onebro5

      What are you talkiing about and who are you talking about?

      December 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Martens

    Every politician, every government official, every lobbyist, need to ask themselves this questions: “How far you would go to protect your parents, protect your children, protect your grand kids, protect your family members from ever having this indescribable tragedy happen to you? This is all so close to home. The discussion and path to a solution needs to start NOW! We don’t need to wait until a month or so. Have an emergency session, go back to your state houses and sacrifice your time now, to find a solution.
    The families of the “Newtown Angels” will NEVER celebrate the holidays. There are also the surviving children & families that need our love’ …. so much.
    Stop the talk about the fiscal cliff and who is posturing for the 2016 election. We need to protect ourselves from this evil because our war is not abroad,… it’s at home.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Name*ed

    CNN on my radio keep on saying there not going to mention the name of the shooter but at everytime they come back from a commercial they say his name make up your mind

    December 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. maggie

    We had GUNS 20 YRS. Ago! We didn't have all these kids on all these mind numbing meds, playing soul numbing video games where they enjoy killing random (virtual people)!! Never mind Religion! I won't go into that debate! Religion is only used to comfort the victims, but when kids believe that they live in a GODLESS WORLD, so when commit mass murder they just rot in the ground instead of BURNING IN HELL FOR THEIR ATROCITIES. Well like I said, I won't debate religion with all of you intellectuals that believe that guns that have been around for a couple of hundred years are the cause of a phenomenon that only has been happening for the past 20 to 30 yrs. at the most!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. maytheyrestinpeace

    I wish for once people could just shut up about political things. The focus right now should be on these poor children and the adults who lost their lives. Let us all grieve and get off your damn soap boxes for once. Just once.

    This is whats wrong with society, all of you, moaning about gun control and laws. You are not being human right now. Stop it.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. No more crazy

    Time to eliminate all crazy people!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. goinmad2009

    I wonder how many parents of these dead kids are proud owners of guns.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • xsys

      what's wrong with you?

      December 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • goinmad2009

      Nothing wrong with me....its important that you think about the incident in totality. Actions and consequences. I'm sure many will never look at a gun the same way. They will remember the evil it is capable off. What troubles me is the paranoia Americans have. Don't trust they government...don't trust their neighbors....don't trust their families...don't trust themselves....and they all go out and buy guns. Question shouldn't be to me....question should be "What's wrong with you?" coz you aren't thinking.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. goinmad2009

    I wonder how many parents of these dead kids are proud guns owners.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Izzie

      The comment About parents of victims being gun owners is disgusting and ignorant. This is about mental illness not gun control. All of the gun purchase rules were followed when the mother purchased the guns. THe guns were registered to his mother
      This is about a mentally illness of a young man. It is really sad and senseless.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. drinker75

    There are many problems in this country. Our gun culture is part of it, it is insane in of itself. What is even worse is a parent owning these weapons with an unstable child in the home. You know when something isn't right with your kid and the last thing you need around is guns! If he had autism he shouldn't have had a way to access the guns anyway. I hope things change because of this. If my baby were one of the murdered I would not rest until I saw change!

    December 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. No more crazy

    Most sensible thing said all day

    December 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dee

    Please take Soledad O'Brien off this reporting. She has every right to her beliefs concerning gun control, but I fell this is not the time and I have listened to her reasoning today as to why this is the time. She seemed like she was cutting off other authorities, just to get her point across. Let's concentrate on the devasted familes.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |

    ... now how do i explain to my child what hairy
    he just asked me. thansk daniel

    December 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
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