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. Cheerios

    Ban trash tv and regulate the medias now, the founding fathers had it all wrong with the 1st Ad.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DC

    Americans are like alcohics and family members of alcohilcs with respect to guns.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jon H.

    For Christ's sake, let's stop speculating and reporting false information and get the story right. There has been so much misinformation perpetuated by CNN and other media outlets it is making me sick. Take the time to get it right. Check sources. Don't be in a rush to get the scoop. You look like idiots.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    not accurate dave. They kill innocwent people too but too uncomfortable for us to admit. They also raise up more people who feel the need for guns to protect themselves. Nice to see the world only as you wish to.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. john

    Please.. everyone read XSYS comment below my original post. Here we have another flag waver, amendment pusher. Excuses, excuses... have the balls and courage to at least try something. He is part of the problem.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. drinker75

    xsys is really special. Canada not needing guns has nothing to do with America. I have lived in both countries, it is a different culture and there are WAAAAY more rednecks down here in the US.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. the prophet

    Media is trying to nail this even minute by minute, the data is available from NASA and or digital globe where the GPS live data can be retreated and examined showing the perpetrator path of entry also school has videos. I like to make a comment looking at the roof conditions of her house from media pic which shows a degraded roof... looks like she was having financial problems maybe even facing foreclosure, adding to the stress on her son maybe even blaming him out of frustration.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. eastsidedude

    So how would "stricter gun control laws" fix this? He didn't buy the guns. His mother did. He stole the guns from her and used them. He tried to buy one and couldn't. The laws as they are WORKED. Taking away guns from responsible owners won't bring back even one of those people. Like everybody else I am sorry to see things like this happen, but I didn't do it. Don't punish me for it.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AS

      If a gun control law had been in place, his mother would not have had these guns, especially the semi automatic one, for him to steel. Is this right? By the way, I am curious to know what do normal people buy semi automatic guns for? Do you have one? If yes, please control yourself.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • emory gayle

      Because today's "responsible gun owner" may be tomorrow's mass murderer. How many times do you have to hear the following: "He was such a nice boy. When I heard what he had done, I couldn't believe it."?

      December 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • St Andre

      As to AS statement, what normal people think the cops will always arrive in time to save the day. It's my right to be safe, I've carried a gun 22 years, never shot anyone, having it certainly saved me from harm & possibly saved my life. Hang a sign on your house saying "I'm normal, I don't believe in self protection from evil doers'

      December 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rick

    John - I'm American. Good post. xsys is hard to take seriously. He seems a bit nuts.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Thanks Rick.

      I am not an expert on any of this. I think it is a time to act. The perfect time in fact while the pain is real and current. In a few months everyone will forget this tragedy and carry on.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gurgyl

    Defense–person of non compose menti–ignore?? Pass GUN-CONTROL LAWS IMMEDEATELY. Ignore NRA LOBBY. Congress idiots need to stop bickering. Nation needs GUN-BAN ALTOGETHER. God bless.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • St Andre

      Keep in mind, guns have been around the entire USA existance, this mass killing with guns only started about 20 years ago. Maybe ban ignorant peoples right to free speach. I'v carried a revolver since 1991, never had to shoot anyone, but it has saved my life & safety often. Its not the law abiding folks doing this, its the criminals & ill minded doing this. The right to have arms is a right, not only from criminals, also in case the government fails us.

      December 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carter

      St. Andre A+ to you. I've been around guns my whole life. I know people of all ages who have owned guns for thier whole lives. No problems what so ever. If they issue a gun ban the only ones who are going to fallow it are the responsible, no ill willed, law abiding people. Let's face it there are millions of guns already in the hands of people. Good or bad people. So the only way is to force people to turn them in. That won't happen and if it does do you think everybody will just give them up? What about criminals with unregistered guns? I'm sure after a ban the only thing that will happen is that crime will go up against defenseless people and the price on illegally sold unregistered guns will go up. If somebody wishes ill will they will find a way to do it unfortunately.

      December 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Karen

    Gun control? really? What about mental illness? Why can't people with mentally ill in their families get help for them?
    Gun control? What about our juveniles who can do almost anything they want and it is removed from their records at 18. I work in juvenile probation and our kids are out of control and raised by parents who are out of control. I have a nephew who is bi-polar and makes his family miserable. They cannot afford to put this man in a private facility and there is no help from the government for these people anymore. We need to work on these issues too. We seem to helping the wrong people.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      My guess would be that the majority of families that have a mentally ill family member seek help for them. There have been cuts after cuts after cuts to the mental health care system, (ever since the Reagan days). The laws have changed and mental health is no longer a government priority which means it's hard a heck for families that need the help to get it. Things like being a threat to other people's lives no longer are reasons for commitment – the person has to kill someone first – then they will be committed.

      December 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. the prophet

    Live gps data is available to examine what happened at ground 0

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

    CNN will you ask the real questions......or will you shrink in most of the MEDIA these days......Instead of looking at the tools this troubled young soul about looking at what caused him to behave in this way. How about asking why our children in AMERICA with more wealth than third world nations are in serious about the fact that this boy was from a BROKEN FAMILY......marriage now encouraged by our president is no longer SACRED...we have removed GOD from our country....a country that became GREAT due to Christian foundation and formation....YES CNN unless you ask the real questions you will LIE to us and in history go down as part of the problem .....Not part of the solution.....when we as a SOCIETY have allowed to destroy the lives of children .......OBAMA how about shedding a tear for all those UNBORN you and your IMMORAL AGENDA has signed to destroy their INNOCENT LIVES....WAKE UP CNN.....hide from the TRUTH will lead you to HELL

    December 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. john

    Thanks Drinker75. Come and have a beer anytime.

    The last thing I want to do is turn this into a blah blah US vs Canada debate. It is irrelevant what country I live in. I was trying to illustrate that we have a system that at least for guns, seems to work. It may not eliminate gun violence but is it worth trying ? To save lives? of course it is. Better to try it than see 20 little coffins full of children.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tony

    Well said John. Agree 100%.

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