Killer 'fought' with four teachers at school the day before massacre - three are now dead, the fourth wasn't there yesterday
Reports have emerged that Adam Lanza had visited Sandy Hook Elementary the day before Friday's massacre during which he was involved in an altercation with four members of staff at the school - three of whom are now dead.
The fourth teacher - and only survivor of the altercation - wasn't at school yesterday and is currently being interviewed by investigators. It hasn't been revealed what the argument was over or if it was reported to authorities.
The staff member’s testimony might be an 'important piece of information' for discerning motive in this case, reports NBC.
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Adam Lanza, circled in red, in a photograph of his high school science club taken five years ago when the murder was 15 years old
A young woman places flowers at a memorial near the Sandy Hook Elementary School following Friday's shooting that has left at least 28 people dead, 20 of them young children. While initial reports had suggested school principal Mrs Hochsprung buzzed Lanza into the building - bypassing the newly-installed security system - police have confirmed that the shooter forced his way in.
Adam Lanza opened fire on Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which teaches children aged 5 to 10. He murdered 26 people at the school before turning the gun on himself, as well as killing one other person - his mother - at another nearby site.
Investigators said they have found 'some very good evidence' to explain what drove gunman Adam Lanza, 20, to slaughter 20 children, including Ana Marquez-Greene and Jesse Lewis, and six adults at the Connecticut elementary school.
Four teachers, who all died heroes trying to save their students, have been named as Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, first grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, and Lauren Rousseau, 30.
'Our investigators at the crime scene ... did produce some very good evidence in this investigation that our investigators will be able to use in, hopefully, painting the complete picture as to how - and more importantly why - this occurred,' Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance told a news conference Saturday morning.
'We're hopeful it will paint a complete picture,' he said.
Lanza reportedly got into an altercation with members of staff including Principal Dawn Hochsprung, left, and teacher Victoria Soto
School psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, and teacher Lauren Rousseau, 30, were shot dead by Adam Lanza while trying to save their students. All the bodies were removed from the school overnight and a medical examiner is expected to release the names of the victims on Saturday. Police have assigned a trooper to support each victim's family in the days ahead. Vance asked reporters to respect the families' grief and privacy.
'This is an extremely heartbreaking thing for them to endure,' said Vance.
It is expected that investigators will take another two days to process the school crime scene where it is believed Lanza fired as many as 100 rounds from his guns.
'It's going to be a slow, painstaking process,' said Vance.
The adult woman found at the secondary crime scene was the shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza.
Nancy Lanza legally owned a Sig Sauer and a Glock, both handguns of models commonly used by police, and a military-style Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine, according to law enforcement officials who also believe Adam Lanza used at least some of those weapons.
Nancy Lanza was an avid gun collector who once showed him a 'really nice, high-end rifle' that she had purchased, said Dan Holmes, owner of a landscaping business who recently decorated her yard with Christmas garlands and lights. 'She said she would often go target shooting with her kids.'
Grief-stricken members of the community tied white balloons to the sign for Sandy Hook school today in honor of all those who lost their lives.
Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance said all the bodies were removed from the school overnight and the names of the victims are expected to be released Saturday
Lanza murdered 20 school children including Ana Marquez-Green, left, and Jesse Lewis, right. Outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Connecticut, mourners left teddy bears, flowers and lit candles for victims. Newtown was ranked the fifth safest city in America by the website NeighborhoodScout.com based on 2011 crime statistics.
'This wonderful town that we all love for its peace, beauty, the great schools - all of that - has become Columbine,' said Julie Maxwell Shull, a sixth-grade teacher at Reed Intermediate School, referring to the high school that was site of a 1999 shooting in Colorado. Many people who live in the wealthy, wooded town commute to New York City, about 80 miles away.
'We came here because it was going to be a good, safe community for our kids,' said Catherine Hunyadi, as she and her husband wiped tears from their eyes. 'You don't send your kids to school thinking something like this might happen.'
Ana Marquez-Greene, seven, was killed when the shooter opened fire on children and teachers at 9.30am on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The little girl and her older brother had attended Linden Christian School nearby, before moving with their parents to Newtown in July and enrolling at Sandy Hook. Both children were inside the school when the shooting began.
Crime scene: Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning
Distraught: Jazz musician Jimmy Greene could not put into words the loss of his daughter Ana at the school shooting in Connecticut on Friday
Isabella Jimenez, 12, who has done volunteer work with small children, reacts while talking to reporters about Friday's shooting rampage
Ana Marquez-Greene's father is Canadian jazz musician Jimmy Greene. The distraught father told MailOnline today that he couldn't find the words to express the loss of his daughter Ana.
Neighbors said that the family had only arrived in the affluent neighborhood two months ago and they hadn't had the chance to get to know them.
The number of cars outside the family residence suggested that the grieving family had been joined by loved ones since yesterday's tragic shooting.
Another victim has been named as six-year-old Jesse Lewis. His father Neil Heslin told the New York Post that he dropped his son off at school that morning and planned to return in the afternoon to join parents in the holiday tradition of making gingerbread houses.
Grace McDonnell, six, who was also killed, has been described as 'utterly adorable' and 'full of life'. She had blue eyes and hair that was so blonde that friends thought she looked like a 'little doll'.
Her parents are going through 'indescribable' pain, MailOnline has learned.
In a chilling twist, Lynn McDonnell, 45, a housewife, and Christopher, 49, a business executive, live in a $500,000 detached home in Sandy Hook, Connecticut that is just one street away from where alleged shooter Adam Lanza lived.
A sign and a U.S. national flag are seen near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook
President Barack Obama urged Americans on Saturday to join in solidarity as they mourned the victims, saying the hearts of parents across the country were 'heavy with hurt.'
Obama, in his weekly radio and Internet address, called for 'meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this,' but stopped short of specifically calling for tighter gun-control laws.
The president wiped away tears in a television address on Friday, telling the nation, 'Our hearts are broken.'
The holiday season tragedy was the second shooting rampage in the United States this week and the latest in a series of mass killings this year.
It revived a debate about gun-control in a country with a flourishing firearms culture and a strong lobby that has discouraged most politicians from any major efforts to address the easy availability of guns and ammunition.
People in Newtown mourned the dead in community vigils on Friday night, including one at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, which was packed with an overflow crowd outside.
'We opened the windows (of the church) so people could just hear and feel they could be part of it,' Monsignor Robert Weiss told MSNBC on Saturday, adding, 'the worst days are ahead.'
A minutes silence: Utah Jazz players, including point guard Jamaal Tinsley, take a moment of silence before Friday night's NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns
'I'm sure this morning when they woke up and realized there was an empty bed in their house, it's becoming more and more real to them,' Weiss said of the parents of the young victims.
The chaos struck as children gathered in their classrooms for morning events. The shootings took place in two rooms, police said. Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots; some said as many as 100 rounds.
Former classmates of the shooter remembered him as a quiet loner - someone who dressed more formally than other students, often wearing khaki pants, button-down shirts and at times, a pocket protector.
'(His mother) pushed him really hard to be smarter and work harder in school,' said Tim Arnone, 20, who first met Lanza at Sandy Hook.
The death toll exceeded that of one of the most notorious U.S. school shootings, the 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, where two teenagers murdered 13 students and staff before killing themselves.
A young teacher displayed astonishing bravery and sacrificed her life saving as many children in her first grade class as she could after she came face-to-face with gunman Adam Lanza.
Victoria Soto, 27, had worked at Sandy Hook Elementary for five years. Her final moments were spent ushering her students into a closet when Lanza entered her classroom and she tried her best to shield the children from the evil gunman.
Soto was a highly regarded young teacher who was popular with her pupils. One young student, Jacob Riley, told Mailonline that Soto was known for chewing gum in class - something not usually allowed for teachers. He said he had often teased her about her habit and she had playfully teased him back.
Passion: Victoria Soto had a passion for education and always knew she wanted to teach
Selfless: Victoria Soto threw herself in front of her first grade students and was killed protecting them. 'She took her kids, put them in the closet and by doing so she lost her life protecting those little ones,' Soto's cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News. 'She was found huddled over her children, her students, doing instinctively what she knew was the right thing. I'm just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm,' he continued. 'It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children and in our eyes she's a hero,' he added. A deeply distraught 10-year-old boy who is a former student of Miss Soto described her as 'really nice and funny.'Four teachers were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School trying to save their students from gunman Lanza, the son of a woman who worked at the school.
The other three teachers have been identified as principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, and Lauren Rousseau, 30. Devastated friends of Rousseau said she was having 'the best year of her life' after landing her first full-time teaching job only months ago.
Twenty-eight people died in the shooting rampage, including 20 young children between the ages of five and ten, alleged gunman Adam Lanza, who took his own life, and his mother, who was shot before the school massacre.
When Lanza started firing at the school in suburban Newtown, Connecticut, some teachers dove under tables - but Mrs Hochsprung and Mrs Sherlach didn't hesitate.
Hero: Vicki Soto, 27, was trying to shield her first grade students from the gunman when she was shot
VIDEO: Vicki Soto's cousin, Jim Wiltsie, tells ABC News about her courage...
Murderer: Adam Lanza, killed himself after murdering more than two dozen others, including 20 school children
They ran into the hallway to confront the danger and were murdered execution-style as a result.
Little did she know that Adam had already killed his mother at the home they shared nearby. He took three of her guns and used her car to drive to the school.
Diane Day, a school therapist, told the Wall Street Journal that she and several other teachers were in a meeting with Mrs Hochsprung and Mrs Sherlach when the shooting began.
'We were there for about five minutes chatting and we heard, "pop pop pop,"' she said. 'I went under the table.'
The principal and the school psychologist had other ideas. They jumped out of their seats and ran toward the sound of the gunfire.
'They didn’t think twice about confronting or seeing what was going on,' Ms Day said.
Rabbi Shaul Praver told MSNBC that Mrs Hochsprung and Mrs Sherlach were killed execution-style.
Tributes for all educators poured in on Friday night. Former school superintendent John Reed told the Connecticut Post that Mrs Sherlach was warm and cared deeply for her students.
'If there ever was a person, by qualifications and personality, to work with children, to be a school psychologist, it was Mary,' he said. She was married with two grown daughters in their 20s and enjoyed gardening, reading and the theater, according to her school biography.
Murdered: Principal Dawn Hochsprung, left, and school psychologist March Sherlach, right, were killed after confronting the Connecticut school gunman
Murdered teacher Lauren Rousseau and Nancy Lanza, the mother and first victim of killer Adam Lanza.
Devastation: Sandy Hook Elementary School, home to 700 students, was attacked by a crazed gunman on Friday
Friends and neighbors said it was immediately clear to everyone she knew that she loved her students and her school.
'I don’t think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day,' she had recently told a local newspaper.
Another tale of heroism came from an eight-year-old student who said a teacher pulled him from the hallway as bullets rang out.
'I saw some of the bullets going down the hall that I was right next to and then a teacher pulled me into her classroom,' the boy told CBS News.
'It sounded like someone was kicking a door,' he said of the piercing sound of the gunfire.
His relieved mother agreed, saying that the teacher saved her son's life.
Mourning: Newtown residents turned out for memorial ceremonies on Friday night across the city - including at Lima Roman Catholic Church
Saved: This eight-year-old student said a teacher pulled him from the hallway into her classroom as bullets rang out
Parents in Newtown, Connecticut, are reportedly being called in one by one to positively identify the bodies of children following Friday's tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys tweeted the news on Friday around 11.30pm saying he heard it on WNBC.
The bodies of the dead students are still being held inside the school, sources at the scene of the shooting told MailOnline.
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Tragic day: Connecticut State Police Officers stand outside the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company near Sandy Hook Elementary School
In mourning: Shocked mourners stand outside a vigil at the Saint Rose of Lima church in Newtown, Connecticut Friday night after a heavily-armed gunman opened fire on school children and staff
Grief: A young woman hugs another person outside of the vigil; 26 people, including 20 young schoolchildren, were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary
Prayers: Mourners pray and stand outside the overflow area of the vigil; the shooting happened only two weeks before Christmas. Residents of the small town Newtown came together this evening to express their grief this evening at a memorial service for the 20 children and six staff members gunned down today at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Approximately 1,000 mothers, fathers, children, and grandparents flocked to St Rose of Lima Catholic church, whose congregation lost six children at the hands of shooter Adam Lanza, 20.
Parents held their children close, poignantly carrying them past a candlelit nativity scene as the church was filled to the rafters, with hundreds having to stand in the freezing cold to pay their respects to the tragic dead.
Lighting candles: People pray at a makeshift shrine outside of the church. Craig Hoekenen arrived at St Rose of Lima church with his wife Tracy and their nine-year old boy C.J. and seven-year old Matthew who was at Sandy Hook School as the massacre unfolded. Speaking to MailOnline in front of the bright lights and flashing cameras of the world's media, little Matthew described how he had to walk over 'smashed glass and blood' as he was led to safety by policemen who told him to 'close his eyes'. 'We were doing our morning stretches, when we heard guns going off' said second grade student Matthew, who his mother described as 'scared out of his mind' by the traumatic experience. The schoolboy’s mother Tracy said that when she received the phone call informing her that her son's school had gone into lockdown she felt 'unable to breathe.'
Those who knew families affected by the tragedy chose not to identify anyone involved, but it is thought that the children killed by Adam Lanza were from kindergarten and first grade. One entire kindergarten class remains unaccounted for.
Looking in: As hundreds stand outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which was filled to capacity, a couple embrace during a healing service held in for victims
Paying respects: Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, left, speaks to mourners at the service this evening
Unspeakable: Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said that 'evil visited this community today'
Serious: Mourners listen to the service with grim, saddened faces
Looking in: A man who did not fit inside the packed church looks in through an open stained-glass window
'I was working at home when a police officer friend phoned me,' said Billy Alvares, who attended the service with his daughter Cynthia, a third grader at the school.
'Evil visited this community today... each parent, each sibling, each member of the family has to understand that Connecticut - we're all in this together. We'll do whatever we can to overcome this event.'
-Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy
‘He told me that a shooting had occurred at the school and then my phone rang with the automatic lock-down call that parents receive. I can't tell you or describe to you the feeling of knowing that my daughter was in danger and when I was reunited with her I was so shaken up.
'I am fortunate but others are not. Who would ever do such a thing as this?'
St Rose of Lima has space for 500 people but the church overfilled as Monsenior Weiss led a congregation including Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy in mourning.
'Evil visited this community today and it's too early to speak of recovery, but each parent, each sibling, each member of the family has to understand that Connecticut,' Malloy said.
'We're all in this together. We'll do whatever we can to overcome this event.
‘We lit 26-candles today to remember the victims of the shooting,' Serif Weiss said after the service.
VIDEO: Shocked residents attend a vigil and memorial for the victims
Remembering: Twenty white balloons have been tied to the sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Grim: Mourners gather inside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church
In prayer: Mourners join hands after entering the church
Paul Wishneski, 41, and his wife Mary Kay said that they thanked God that their daughter Emma
The eight year-old is in the third grade at sandy hook school and her parents were alerted to the horrific attack unfolding as they received the automated call from the school authorities.
"We went to code red,' we just looked at each other and said 'oh my God' said Paul.
'We assumed it was the high school that had been attacked but we live down the road from the school and realized it was the kids who were at risk.'
'This is such a close community, I got married at this church, my sister and brother got married at this church.
Father Petrucci was the chaplain at the Danbury Hospital when three victims of the shooting, one woman and two children arrived.
'The two children sadly died, but I was not involved with them at any point,' said the 65-year-old priest.
Lingering: After the vigil, many remained in the church to pray or meditate . 'The woman, who I will not name is doing well, but was shot but not seriously.' As the service ended, the congregation slowly filed out to pray at the feet of a statue of the Virgin Mary outside the church.' Hours after the prayer vigil at St Rose of Lima Church and as midnight approached, dozens of mourners lingered, bowing their heads in silent prayer or staring straight ahead, their eyes welling up with tears. There was complete silence except for the opening and closing of the church doors, as more people found their way in. Some were alone. Others took solace with a spouse, child or parent.
An open intercom broadcast the murder of school principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, to terrified students at Sandy Hook Elementary School providing teachers and students with vital time to run and hide. It's not clear whether the intercom had been turned on deliberately to alert the school's staff to the shooter or if it had been left on for morning announcements. Either way, it caught the chilling moments when Adam Lanza gunned down the school's principal and provided teachers with valuable moments to lock their doors and try to hide their children in closets and under desks.
School principal Dawn Hochsprung: Students at Sandy Hook Elementary School heard her being killed over the intercom system
A condolence sign sits in downtown Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
A seasoned member of the medical community who has spent 30 years performing autopsies said that the damage done to the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre are ‘probably the worst I’ve seen.’ Connecticut Chief state medical examiner H. Wayne Carver II said in a press conference Saturday afternoon in Newtown that in his three decades in practice, the shooting is the ‘worst I know of any of my colleagues having seen.’
Dr Carver said that each of the 26 victims was shot between there and 11 times, with two of the victims being shot at incredibly close range. The bullets had pierced everywhere, he said – heads, extremities, and torsos.
Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II said that this shooting was the 'worst I've seen'
Lt. J. Paul Vance, left, of the Connecticut State Police listens as Dr Carver speaks to reporters Saturday afternoon
Kathy Murdy, left, and her husband Rich Murdy react as they look at the list of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. ‘This is a devastating set of injuries,’ he told reporters in the emotionally-charged news conference. Dr Carver’s 10 technicians and four doctors in his office worked tirelessly throughout Friday night and on into Saturday to identify and perform autopsies on the 26 dead. They expect to be done by tomorrow morning, the Hartford Courant reports. He said that 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza was able to reload extremely quickly during the Friday morning blitz because he taped two magazines together.
Adam Lanza, a troubled 20-year-old loner with a history of autistic behavior, is the monster behind a horrific shooting at a Connecticut elementary school
Nancy Lanza took her son, Adam, to a shooting range and taught him how to use a firearm before he turned a gun on her and shot her dead, then executed more than two dozen terrified children and teachers at an elementary school.
Fifty-two-year-old Nancy Lanza was an avid gun collector who had legally purchased five firearms, all registered in Connecticut, according to police records.
'She said she would often go target shooting with her kids,' Dan Holmes, owner of the lanscaping firm Holmes Fine Gardens, told Reuters.
'She was very proud of it,' he told the New York Daily News. 'She loved her guns.'
Adam killed his mother in the home they shared on Friday morning by shooting her in the face using one of her own guns.
Adam then allegedly took his mother's car keys and several guns belonging to her - including a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223 caliber rifle - and drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he massacred 20 children and six adults, before shooting himself.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, it was widely reported that Nancy Lanza was a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school. But Newtown Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson said Saturday that she had 'never met' Miss Lanza and that she was not in the school database as a staff member.
Fifty-two-year-old Nancy Lanza, pictured, was shot dead by her son, Adam Lanza on Friday. She was an avid gun collector
Adam Lanza shot his mother, Nancy, before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 26 people including 20 children
Nancy Lanza's home in Newtown, Connecticut, was raided after 2 p.m. Friday and she was found shot dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the face
Adam Lanza allegedly stole his mother's car keys after shooting her dead and drove her car, pictured, to the school to carry out the massacre
Adam's 24-year-old brother, Ryan Lanza, is seen being led away from his Hoboken home in New Jersey to be questioned by police over the shooting
Ryan Lanza is escorted to a car outside his home in Hoboken by law enforcement. Police said he has been very cooperative during the investigation
Traumatized students were seen being led out of the school crying and holding hands
The families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School
Mourners gather inside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church at a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut
Map of area surrounding Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed at least 26 people, 20 of them small children
Some reports alleged that Nancy had retired from working as an educator many years ago to take care of her son, Adam, who allegedly had behavioral and personality issues.
Nancy and Adam lived in a well-to-do part of Newtown, a prosperous community of 27,000 people about 60 miles northeast of New York City. Neighbors said that the mother always took great pride in her Colonial-style house, and always kept her home tidy.
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom house is estimated to be worth around $537,000, and is situated on 2.19 acres of land. Lanza's aunt, Marsha Lanza, said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.
The Crystal Lake, Illinois resident told the Associated Press she was close with Adam Lanza's mother and sent her a Facebook message Friday morning asking how she was doing. Nancy Lanza never responded.
Marsha Lanza described Nancy Lanza as a good mother and kind-hearted. If her son had needed counseling, 'Nancy wasn't one to deny reality,' she said.
Marsha Lanza said her husband saw Adam as recently as June and recalled nothing out of the ordinary about him.
Beth Israel tweeted that shooter Adam Lanza was troubled for a long time
Jacob Wycoff also tweeted that Adam was autistic
Adam Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, had divorced Nancy in 2008 because of ‘irreconcilable differences,’ and now lives in Stamford, Connecticut with a new wife. A reporter for the Stamford Advocate broke the news to him that his son had allegedly shot and killed 26 people, including his ex-wife.
Nancy Lanza was divorced from Peter Lanza who lives in Stamford, Connecticut
He works as the vice president of taxes for GE Energy Financial Services, and lives on a sprawling street glittered with multimillion-dollar homes. The couple apparently married in 2011.
A man several houses down, who said he was friends with the couple, declined to give his name, saying only that they are 'great people' and 'my heart bleeds for them.'
Friends and neighbors said the divorce, as far as they knew, was amicable.
Holmes said he had just last week decorated Nancy Lanza's yard with Christmas garlands and lights.
She was 'very nice, very pleasant and always very appreciative of our work,' Holmes said.
Former classmates of Adam Lanza recall him as a shy and extremely intelligent student.
In Newtown High School, he dressed more formally than other students and carried a black briefcase to his classes, which stuck out to some as most other students wore backpacks.
Classmate Tim Arnone, 20, who graduated with Lanza in 2010, told Reuters.
He said Lanza was 'driven hard' to succeed academically by his parents, particularly his mother. 'She pushed him really hard to be smarter and work harder in school,' Arnone said.
NBC Connecticut also reported that Adam Lanza tried to buy a rifle at a Dick's Sporting Goods in Danbury, Connecticut, on Tuesday but was rebuffed because the state has a waiting period for gun sales.
Quoting a 'family insider,' the New York Daily News reported that Adam was a 'deeply disturbed kid' who 'certainly had major issues' and was 'subject to outbursts.'
President Obama openly wept as he spoke of the mindless shooting, saying, 'Our hearts are broken today'
Ryan Lanza, brother of Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting suspect Adam Lanza, is seen being led away by cops, left, and in photos pulled from his Facebook page, right
A couple comfort each other after the mass shooting, left, and Principal Dawn Hochsprung, right, is one of the 26 who were shot dead at the school
Music teacher Maryrose Kristopik, circled, has been hailed a hero after taking 15 children and putting them in a closet, undoubtedly saving their lives
A woman walks past a fire truck in disbelief outside a fire house near the Sandy Hook Elementary School where children were gathered after the shooting
Adam Lanza shot his mother at her home before driving in her car to the elementary school and shooting dead 26 people before turning the gun on himself
Sandy Hook Elementary School is in Newtown, Connecticut, where Nancy Lanza lived. Son Ryan lives in Hoboken, New Jersey
A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following the tragic shooting this morning which has shocked the quiet suburban community
Chaotic scenes at the school as police work to secure the area and bodies are carried out of the school
Young children wait outside Sandy Hook Elementary School immediately after the shooting
Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School
A member of the Connecticut State police leaves the scene outside the Sandy Hook Elementary School, left, as parents comfort each other, right
'IT'S TIME FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION' SAYS MAYOR BLOOMBERG
'We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again.
For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year-olds.
President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem.
Calling for "meaningful action" is not enough. We need immediate action.'
A former classmate said Adam has been 'a weird kid since we were five years old.' Tim Dalton wrote on Twitter: 'As horrible as this was, I can't say I am surprised.... Burn in hell, Adam.'
Catherine Urso, who was attending a vigil Friday evening in Newtown said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style.
'He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths,' she said.
Adam Lanza belonged to a technology club at Newtown High School that held 'LAN parties' - short for local area network - in which students would gather at a member's home, hook up their computers into a small network and play games.
Gloria Milas, whose son Joshua was in the club with Lanza, hosted one of the parties once.
She recalled a school meeting in 2008 organized by the gunman's mother to try to save the job of the club's adviser. At the meeting, Milas said, Adam Lanza's brother Ryan said a few words in support of the adviser, who he said had taken his brother under his wing.
'My brother has always been a nerd,' Ryan Lanza said then, according to Milas. 'He still wears a pocket protector.'
Joshua Milas, who graduated from Newtown High School in 2009, said Adam Lanza was generally a happy person but that he hadn't seen him in a few years.
'We would hang out, and he was a good kid. He was smart,' Joshua Milas told the AP. 'He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius.'
He graduated high school in 2010, but was not pictured in the school yearbook. Rather, a block reading ‘camera shy’ is the entire imprint he left.
A boy weeps as he is told what happened after being picked up at Reed Intermediate School following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
A woman talks to a state police officer for news about the 29 people believed to have been shot dead at the school
A visibly shocked Governor Dan Molloy joins armed law enforcement officers as they respond to the scene of multiple deaths reported after a shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School
A neighbor in Newtown, Rhonda Cullens, said she knew Nancy Lanza from monthly get-togethers the neighborhood women had a few years back for games of bunco, a dice game.
'She was a very nice lady,' Ms Cullens told the AP. 'She was just like all the rest of us in the neighborhood, just a regular person.' Ms Cullens recalled that Mrs Lanza liked to garden and to make her house look nice for the holidays. Lanza joked, though, that no one noticed because the house was out of view, up a hill, she said. Sandeep Kapur, who lives two doors down from the Lanza family in Newtown, said he did not know them and was unaware of any disturbances at the Lanza house in the three years that he and his family have been in the neighborhood. He described the area as a subdivision of well-tended, 15-year-old homes on lots of an acre or more, where many people work at companies like General Electric, Pepsi and IBM. Some are doctors, and his next-door neighbor is a bank CEO, said Kapur, a project manager at an information technology firm. 'The neighborhood's great. We have young kids, and they have lots of friends,' he said. 'If you drive past this neighborhood, it gives you a really warm feeling.'
A PRESIDENT BREAKS DOWN AS 'HEARTS ARE BROKEN': OBAMA'S SPEECH IN FULL
This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families. We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would -- as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
The majority of those who died today were children -- beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old.
They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers -- men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today -- for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.
Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago -- these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children.
And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another.
But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans. And I will do everything in my power as President to help. Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need -- to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.
May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.
A mother runs with her children, left, as police canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and another comforts her traumatized child, right
Parents pick-up children outside Sandy Hook Elementary School after 18 students and two adults were shot dead this morning
Hundreds of officers, sniffer dogs, and firefighters patrol the streets outside Sandy Hook Elementary School to secure the area
The shooting is the latest in a series of high-profile gun crimes in American schools and colleges, that is especially shocking given the age of the students involved.
Mayor Bloomberg said Friday that immediate action must be taken over gun laws in the U.S.
He said: 'We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again.
'For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown.
'But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough. We need immediate action.'
VIDEO: Aerial view of scene of school shooting at Newtown, Conneticut
Paramedics push stretchers toward Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, after the mass shooting this morning
A woman comforts a young girl during a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown
Families grieve, left, and a man carries a child away from the area of a shooting at the elementary school, right.
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: AMERICA'S WORST SCHOOL MASSACRES
1. Virginia Tech - 32 dead plus the shooter, 16 April 2007, Blacksburg, Virginia
Student Seung Hui Cho, 23, killed two stuidents in a dorm and then went through building of classrooms armed with two handguns, shooting at random before killing himself.
2. University of Texas - 16 dead plus shooter, 1 August 1966, Austin, Texas
Former Marine sniper Charles Whitman, 25, armed with an arsenal of weapons shot victims from the observation deck of the campus tower.
3. Columbine High School - 13 dead plus two shooters, 20 April 1999, Littleton, Colorado
Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire outside the school killing students and one teacher before shooting themselves in the library.
4. Red Lake High School - 9 dead plus shooter, 21 March 2005, Red Lake, Minnesota
Jeffrey Weise, 17, goes on a shooting spree at Red Lake High School killing nine people, including his grandfather, before shooting himself.
5. University of Iowa - five dead plus shooter, 1 November 1991, University of Iowa
Gang Lu, 27, a graduate student from China killed five with a .38-caliber revolver. He was apparently angry because his doctoral dissertation had not been nominated for an academic award.
6. Amish schoolhouse massacre - six dead plus shooter, 2 October 2, 2006, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania
Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, executes five girls aged 7 to 13 before killing himself in a small Amish schoolhouse
7. Jonesboro, Arkansas - five dead, 24 March 1998, Jonesboro, Arkansas
Mitchell Johnson, 10, and Andrew Golden, 8, took seven guns to school and pulled the fire alarm and shot students as they headed for the exits. Four died plus a teacher. The pair were sent to a juvenile detention center and released in 2005.
8. Cleveland Elementary School - five dead plus shooter, 17 January 1989, in Stockton, California
Patrick Edward Purdy entered a schoolyard and opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at Cleveland Elementary School. Five children died and 30 others were wounded including one teacher. He then shot himself.
9. University of Arizona – three dead plus shooter, 28 October 2002, University of Arizona
Robert Flores, 40, a nursing student shot an instructor in her office before entering a classroom and killing two more teachers before committing suicide.
10. Kent State University – four dead, 4 May 1970, Kent State University in Ohio
National Guard troops killed four students who took part in anti-war protests on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio. 'If we get more information and as we get more information, we'll certainly provide it to you. The president as a father and I as a father certainly ... feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected and to do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement, to support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event.'
First Selectman Pat Llodra told Patch that there is no information being released about the victims — only confirming that there was a shooting.
'I'm horrified, saddened and shocked that this happened in Newtown,' Llodra said. 'Our priorities right now are making sure everyone safe and reuniting parents with their children.'
One mother of an eight-year-old girl at the school, Brenda Lebinski, told Patch that her daughter is safe thanks to one teacher's decision to move all kids into a closet when a gunman had entered the building.
Mrs Lebinski said that she had spoken to her daughter's teacher who was in the school at the time of the shooting, and that a masked gunman had shot adults in the school.
'My daughter's teacher is my hero,' Lebinski said. 'She locked all the kids in a closet and that saved their lives.'
There were reports of frantic parents rushing to the school though officials are telling them to stay at home by the phone
SECURITY MEASURES CAN'T PREVENT ANOTHER U.S. SCHOOL SHOOTING
American public schools use a variety of security measures to protect students and staff. Almost 94 per cent of U.S. elementary schools lock their doors during the school day to restrict access to campuses. Some 84 per cent of high schools, 73 per cent of middle schools, and 51 per cent of elementary schools use security cameras to monitor their schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Increasing numbers of security guards are in place at U.S. public schools as a result of gun crime with metal detectors also in use across the country. Yet despite security measures school shootings in America are still common place. On February 10 2012 a 14-year-old from New Hampshire called Hunter Mack shot himself in the face at Walpole Elementary School cafeteria.
Two weeks later student T.J. Lane, 17, allegedly opened fire at Chardon High School, Ohio, killing two and injuring three.
Seven were killed and 10 injured at a shooting at Oikos University, in Oakland, California on 2 April. One L. Goh, 43, a Korean national surrendered to police.
Police arrested 15-year-old Robert Gladden and charged him as an adult after a student opened fire on the first day of school, at Perry Hall High School, Baltimore, in August. The 15-year-old allegedly opened fire before being rushed by teachers.
Teachers again stopped a shooter on September 7 when a 14-year-old was tackled to the floor after shooting at the ceiling at Normal Community High School, Illinois. On September 26 eight grader Cade Poulos killed himself at Stillwater Junior High School in Oklahoma.
Victims: Top row- (L-R) Ana Marquez-Greene, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Emilie Parker, Noah Pozner. Second row: (L-R) Jesse Lewis, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Charlotte Bacon, Chase Kowalski. Third row: (L-R) Daniel Barden, Jack Pinto, Catherine Hubbard, Dylan Hockley, Benjamin Wheeler. Fourth row: (L-R) Grace McDonnell, James Mattioli, Avielle Richman, Rachel Davino, Anne Marie Murphy. Fifth row: (L-R) Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Dawn Hochsprung, Nancy Lanza
THERE IS ALSO A CONCERN AMONG A SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION THAT EVENTS LIKE THIS ….When you terrorize the people, you open the door for fascist, authoritarian politicians. So whenever an event like today’s Connecticut massacre screams out at you from your screen: BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID.
The tiny victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary have been identified, with all 20 students shot aged six and seven (pictured top row left to right: Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Ana Marquez-Greene, James Mattioli, Emilie Parker, Noah Pozner and Josephine Gay. Bottom row left to right: Grace McDonnell, Charlotte Bacon, Dylan Hockley, Olivia Engel, Jesse Lewis, Jessica Rekos and Caroline Previdi). Child victims not pictured: Daniel Barden, Madeleine Hsu, Jack Pinto, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison N. Wyatt. The community of Newtown, Connecticut is in shock as they recover from the terrifying rampage on Friday when Lanza forced his way into the school and murdered 26 people before turning the gun on himself. The family of the gunman, Adam Lanza, spoke out on Saturday, expressing their shock at the tragedy and extending their condolences to the victims.
'I'll never forget her blowing me kisses from the bus that day as she left for school': Mother's heartbreaking tribute to daughter Grace McDonnell who was killed in Sandy Hook massacre
Lynn McDonnell, center right, said in an emotionally-charged interview with her husband Chris McDonnell, center left, on Tuesday that her last memory of her daughter Grace, far left, was as she was waving and blowing kisses from the bus, on her way to Sandy Hook Elementary School. The seven-year-old was killed along with 19 of her classmates by gunman Adam Lanza on Friday. A picture, right, of the McDonnells after the shooting was shown around the world and became an image of the grief felt across the nation.
Today is Monday, the first school day since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed so many young lives last week. Like millions of other American parents, I sent my kids off to school today knowing that the difficult family discussions we had over the weekend will continue in the classroom, as educators and students address yet another tragic outburst of violence in our schools. Today, the first of many funerals will take place in Newtown, after a weekend of vigils and mourning. President Obama visited Newtown on Sunday, speaking before an auditorium of grieving parents. "We can't accept events like this as routine," he said, "These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change."
A boy holds on to a man's coat while they hug at a makeshift memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a mass shooting took place, in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 16, 2012. Worshipers filled Sunday services to mourn the victims of a gunman's rampage at the school that killed 20 children and six adults. (Reuters/Eric Thayer)
A U.S. flag flies at half-staff honoring the victims that were killed a day earlier, on December 15, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez) #
David Freedman, right, kneels with his son Zachary, 9, both of Newtown, Connecticut, as they visit a sidewalk memorial for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, on December 16, 2012, in Newtown. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Newtown Police Officer Maryhelen McCarthy carries flowers near a memorial for shooting victims, on December 16, 2012. The flowers and other memorial items were taken to nearby Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) #
A memorial for the victims, near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, on December 16, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
A couple and their daughter grieve after paying tribute to shooting victims in Newtown, on December 15, 2012.(Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images) #
Two men pray at Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church near Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 14, 2012.(Reuters/Joshua Lott) #
Robbie Parker, the father of six-year-old Emilie, one of twenty children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, speaks during a press conference, on December 15, 2012, in Newtown. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
A National Park Service employee lowers flags to half-staff at the base of the Washington Monument, after President Barack Obama ordered the action while speaking on the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 14, 2012.(Win McNamee/Getty Images) #
People embrace at a memorial for the victims of the shooting near Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 16, 2012.(Reuters/ Michelle McLoughlin) #
A man plays a violin along Church Hill Road in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 16, 2012. The sign reads: "Our tears are on your shoulders, and our hands are in yours." (Reuters/Joshua Lott) #
People arrive on a school bus at Newtown High School for a memorial vigil attended by President Barack Obama in Connecticut, on December 16, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
People walk towards a memorial for victims near the school on the first Sunday following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 16, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
Connecticut State Troopers bow their heads during an interfaith vigil for the shooting victims from Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 16, 2012 at Newtown High School. (Olivier Douliery/Getty Images) #
Residents pray during a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at Newtown High School, on December 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) #
Mourners comfort one another before President Barack Obama speaks at a vigil for the shooting victims at Newtown High School, on December 16, 2012. (Olivier Douliery/Getty Images) #
President Barack Obama, after speaking at a vigil held at Newtown High School, on December 16, 2012. Obama consoled the Connecticut town shattered by the massacre of 20 young schoolchildren, lauding residents' courage in the face of tragedy and saying the United States was not doing enough to protect its children. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #
A woman holds a class photo on her lap, as President Barack Obama speaks at an interfaith vigil for the shooting victims from Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 16, 2012. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images) #
People hold hands in a bar near Sandy Hook Elementary School as President Barack Obama speaks in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 16, 2012. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Children hold stuffed animals during a vigil held at Newtown High School, on December 16, 2012. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #
President Barack Obama prays during a vigil held at Newtown High School, on December 16, 2012. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #
A U.S. flag flies at half-staff outside the Newtown High School, on Sunday, December 16, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Mourners listen to a memorial service over a loudspeaker outside Newtown High School, on December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut.(AP Photo/David Goldman) #
A mourner sits against the wall while listening to a memorial service outside Newtown High School, on December 16, 2012.(AP Photo/David Goldman) #
From left, Newtown residents Claire Swanson, Kate Suba, Jaden Albrecht, Simran Chand and New London, Connecticut residents Rachel Pullen and her son Landon DeCecco, hold candles at a memorial for victims on the first Sunday following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
Surjit Kaur Gill, of Worcester, Massachusetts, joins a group of Sikhs from around the Northeastern US, in a moment of prayer as a memorial service is broadcast outside Newtown High School, on December 16, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
A woman cries near a makeshift memorial close to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, on December 16, 2012.(Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a member of the Brazilian association Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace), adjusts the US flag during a tribute paid to the victims of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, on Copacabana beach, on December 15, 2012.(Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images) #
In Moscow, Russia, a woman places a toy near the US Embassy, on December 16, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) #
Indians carry placards and photographs of Connecticut shooting victims as they participate in a candlelight vigil outside a Catholic church in Bangalore, India, on December 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi) #
Hundreds gather on the New Haven Green during a candlelight vigil to support the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in New Haven, Connecticut, on December 15, 2012. (Reuters/ Michelle McLoughlin) #
A man embraces a young boy as they look at a memorial in front of the St. Rose of Lima Catholic church in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 16, 2012. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson) #