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Death toll rises to 28 in Connecticut school shooting

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published December 14, 2012 at 9:36 a.m. Updated December 14, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.


Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School with their children following a shooting, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.

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— A man opened fire Friday inside two classrooms at the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked as a teacher, killing 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in corners and closets and trembled helplessly to the sound of gunfire reverberating through the building.

The killer, armed with two handguns, committed suicide at the school and another person was found dead at a second scene, bringing the toll to 28, authorities said.

Police shed no light on the motive for the attack.

The rampage, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead in 2007.

Panicked parents looking for their children raced to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Children at the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school were told to close their eyes by police as they were led from the building.

“Our hearts are broken today,” a tearful President Barack Obama, struggling to maintain composure, said at the White House. He called for “meaningful action” to prevent such shootings.

Youngsters and their parents described teachers locking doors and ordering the children to huddle in the corner or hide in closets when shots echoed through the building. Authorities didn’t say exactly how the shootings unfolded.

They also gave no details on the victim discovered at another scene, except to say that the person was an adult found dead by police while they were investigating the gunman.

A law enforcement official identified the gunman as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher. A second law enforcement official said his mother, Nancy Lanza, was presumed dead.

Adam Lanza’s older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, the first official said. Earlier, a law enforcement official mistakenly identified Ryan as the shooter.

Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the unfolding investigation.

The gunman drove to the school in his mother’s car, the second official said. Three guns were found — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a .223-caliber rifle in the back of a car.

Lanza’s girlfriend and another friend were missing in New Jersey, the official also said.

State police Lt. Paul Vance said 28 people in all were killed, including the gunman, and one person was injured.

Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.

“That’s when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door,” he said. “He was very brave. He waited for his friends.”

He said the shooter didn’t utter a word.

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter was in the school and heard two big bangs. Teachers told her to get in a corner, he said.

“It’s alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America,” he said. His daughter was fine.

Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and ran to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.

“Everyone was just traumatized,” he said.

Richard Wilford’s 7-year-old son, Richie, is in the second grade at the school. His son told him that he heard a noise that “sounded like what he described as cans falling.”

The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle up in the corner until police arrived.

“There’s no words,” Wilford said. “It’s sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him.”

On Friday afternoon, family members were led away from a firehouse that was being used as a staging area, some of them weeping. One man, wearing only a T-shirt without a jacket, put his arms around a woman as they walked down the middle of the street, oblivious to everything around them.

Another woman with tears rolling down her face walked by carrying a car seat with a young infant inside and a bag that appeared to have toys and stuffed animals.

The shootings instantly brought to mind episodes such as the Columbine High School massacre that killed 15 in 1999 and the July shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead.

“You go to a movie theater in Aurora and all of a sudden your life is taken,” Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis said. “You’re at a shopping mall in Portland, Ore., and your life is taken. This morning, when parents kissed their kids goodbye knowing that they are going to be home to celebrate the holiday season coming up, you don’t expect this to happen. I think as a society, we need to come together. It has to stop, these senseless deaths.”

Read more on this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


Comments on: Death toll rises to 28 in Connecticut school shooting

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wterris12141031 says... December 14, 2012 at 12:16 p.m.

If one of those teachers had a gun, they could have prevented some of those deaths.

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SRBROTHERINLAW says... December 14, 2012 at 12:27 p.m.

Once again the gun nuts will have a field day trying to ban weapons. It was not the guns people it was the nuts with the guns. They should be hung from the closest tree with public tv air time.

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djigoo says... December 14, 2012 at 12:28 p.m.

So guns in the classroom is the answer.

No wonder the world thinks we're crazy.

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LRLawyer says... December 14, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.

Dj, that's a pretty sick comment in my opinion. I'm a life member of the NRA and I don't see anything funny here. Some SOB just killed kids. Did you miss that part of the story? This is a tragedy. Most of these people and their families will be scarred for life and you make jokes about champagne? No sense trying to talk sense here.

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MATYCHY says... December 14, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.

Do any of you really think that a teacher with a loaded gun on his/her desk would have saved lives. Think this through. I do not want a ban on guns. But I probably want the 2nd amendment to go back to the beginning. These guys were not protecting themselves from harm and not looking for their next meat. This was not a war zone, even though it feels like it. I am so sorry this happened, I wish with everything in me, this would be a safe place to live. People in Syria expect this kind of tragedy. As often as we have experienced these kind of tragedies. We don't expect it.

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coneal30 says... December 14, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.

this is tragic
and now all the anti-gun people will use it for their agenda. if the psycho that did this didnt have a gun, it would have been a bomb... or anything else he could get his hands on. a ban on guns is not the answer. "guns in the classroom" no, but thank for that melodramatic answer. how about an armed security guard? when i went to school we had security guards, and they had mace.

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plowboy says... December 14, 2012 at 12:57 p.m.

its clear every knew the answer to the problem they needed to call someone with a gun

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NoodleOne says... December 14, 2012 at 1:01 p.m.

I agree with LRLawyer. DJ, your an idiot.

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RaylanGivens says... December 14, 2012 at 1:24 p.m.

I would say djigoo is a despicable scumbag with a very low IQ; there is never a good time to joke about something like this.

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plowboy says... December 14, 2012 at 1:27 p.m.

yep DJ needs turned loose where there is some action so he can see what the hell it takes,

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