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. mprater43

    I cannot agree more with previous comments about Soladad's reporting of this tragedy this morning. She is on a soapbox about gun control that is inappropriate to discuss until all the facts about this shooting are disclosed to the public by the investigators. Soladad need to remember to check her facts and report using the upmost intregrity and CNN need to hold he accountable. The 5 W's of jounrnalism have not been followed and assumptions are being reported. Please put a muzzle on her until she can remember this is not a time for personal agenda on gun control and learns to report facts and not assumptions.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Janis brush

    I absolutely agree. This is a mental health issue, a lack of funding for mental health, and the absolute failure or disinterest by those around this monster to get him the assistance necessary to prevent this madness.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • LibertarianLibrarian

      I agree with you, we ve become a nation w a phenomenal mental health crisis .

      December 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bawm67

      I agree with you 100% on the mental health aspect and the responsibility of those around this disturbed man, but do feel that automatic or semi automatic and assault rifles should be collected and banned from the public.

      December 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mddong

    Hitler had a "form of personality disorder."
    Let Hitler off the hook then for killing 20 million Jews...
    Its the guns people...the guns....

    December 15, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Kraig Nelson

      I don't think a gun can pick itself up and pull it's own trigger. That would be amazing. It takes a hand ordered by a mind to pick it up and shoot. Are we that dumb to think a gun, all by itself, can get up on its own and shoot someone? The human race is destined for destruction because we really are stupid.

      December 15, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. oneinabillion

    Time to move mental health initiatives to the FRONT BURNER.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. cleareye1

    Your response is even worse. It is indicative of the irrational emotional needs of gun enthusiasts. You are so well trained to be frightened at any threat to your unlimited access to firepower that you completely forget that 20 children are dead and death was dealt to them by an unbalanced person with access to guns and ammunition. A Glock is very efficient at killing children trapped in a room. Be proud of your hobby!

    December 15, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • whataboutkids

      So is your abortion clinic. 3500 children died yesterday due to abortion. More kids have died but a "choice" than guns have ever killed.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven Johnson

      ...unbalanced person....that says it all right there

      December 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mddong

    This Lanzo kid was a drone, you mook!

    December 15, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. mddong

    Thats what all the gun lovers say to skirt around the topic...

    December 15, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. Revellia Rasmussen

    The story is the tragedy not gun control or her personal opinion. Mental health is the issued that needs to be discussed once the facts have been investigated and determined, that is what is behind these killings! Right now is a time for grieving only 24 hours since this began!

    December 15, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. liss

    A large number of people here feel the need to say that this is an innapropriate time to push for gun control. With all due respect to their personal opinions, how is this not the perfect time to make efforts to keep this from happening again?

    December 15, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Calvin Spotted Elk

    I agree with the broken home = broken kids and feel we have a lack of support in our communities for parents who are not single by choice. I don't blame guns. I blame a violent culture and one of disrespect but I also think there is a physical component to mental illness that should be investigated. I don't think it is merely a dysfunctional family, but think this kind of madness may have an infectious cause. Schizophrenia, for example, has been linked to a parasite. This same parasite, which is reported to be in approximately 1/3 of the world's population, has been found in a surprisingly high amount of suicide victims. Here are some links to journals and popular magazines on the subject. I think people really need to consider the causation of mental illness in cases like this possibly being from environmental causes.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mr B

    People suffering from severe Schizophrenia who report/ admit to having visions of extreme violence. Most of these people, live in halfway homes in our communities. When they skip their meds, you will have 3-5 police cars at the home trying to take the subject into custody and transported to a hospital. Where he will be release in a couple of days and reminded to take his meds.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. petena

    WE NEED GUN CONTROL – PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION. No one is saying you can not own a gun.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      The media and press are reporting that Americans are searching for answers to this heinous tragedy. Well, at least the CIA has all the answers. For example, the CIA has a list of all the names of the defiant, stubborn coward gun advocates in congress and in the NRA, their place of residence, where their kids go to school and where their wives go shopping. All the CIA has to do is equip Bradley Manning with the hard drive and a computer and see how fast the right wing MF's come to their senses and get serious about gun control in this country.

      December 15, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Blind Agenda Ignorance

      Hey gun-control freaks – Lanza was 20. He couldn't legally own a weapon. He obviously illegally obtained the weapons he used. If you want to grieve the loss of innocent lives, don't just read CNN, observe the global picture and see how many tens of thousands of innocent children die by religious intolerance, AIDS and starvation EVERY WEEK! We need religious intolerance, AIDS and starvation control. Gun control – yeah, right. Do you think criminals give a damn about gun control? Do you think gun violence will disappear when you regulate guns? Better check gun-friendly states and see how much gun violence happens there, versus the gun-unfriendly states. I'm so tired of the lib agenda. You're liberal until someone disagrees with you.

      December 15, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • 111Dave111

      If the gun nuts want to avoid sensible gun control,
      they need to start using self control.

      Lock up your Weapons,
      Destroy your greater than 9 round clips.

      It might even save your children.

      December 15, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • GreenPhotog

      I'm willing to drive to Washington to protest against gun laws as they stand. Anybody going from the Boston area?

      December 15, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Revellia Rasmussen

    modding I do not love guns and I don't own one but I certainly is he'd my son had one when robbers broke in on him and his baby and wife and cleaned them out. They did not get their guns the legal way and will always find a way to obtain a gun illegally.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Stan19047

    According to these comments the fault lies everywhere else except how easy it is to obtain guns and ammo. The time has come to stand up to the gun Lobby.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Stan YOU ARE SO RIGHT!

      Now, if we just outlaw cocaine and heroin it will prevent...oh, wait...


      December 15, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |

      Put a $100+ tax on all bullets.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. TJT

    It is gross foolishness to toss the label 'autistic' or the condition 'autism' around with macabre abandon in a public forum such as this. Unless we knew the individual personally, have some professional training, knowledge and insight into the realities of these matters, out of our ignorance all we do is ramp-up fear, anger, misinterpretation, anguish, frustration and a whole host of other feelings and responses born of this incredibly sad and distressing event.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
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