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R & R

                        Newtown Massacre: Teacher Kept Kids Calm

                               By LAUREN EFFRON and NIKKI BATTISTE | Good Morning America 


                                 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

Newtown gunman kills 20 children in elementary school shooting

Newtown gunman kills 20 children in elementary school shooting

Connecticut police say unidentified gunman killed 26 people and himself in one of America's worst ever mass shootings

Newtown gunman kills 20 children in elementary school shooting

28 dead including 20 children, gunman in Newtown shooting

Staff reports Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown Massacre: Teacher Kept Kids Calm

By LAUREN EFFRON and NIKKI BATTISTE | Good Morning America 

Good Morning America - Newtown Massacre: Teacher Kept Kids Calm (ABC News)

There was so much gunfire rocking the Sandy Hook Elementary school that one teacher doubted that she and her young students, locked in a bathroom, were going to survive.

A third grade student said the kids were so scared she thought she was going to throw up. Another said he hid in a closet.

The gunfire erupted during first grade teacher Kaitlin Roig's morning meeting with her 14 students, what she called "a happy, amazing part of the day."

That day quickly turned into a nightmare.

"Suddenly, I heard rapid fire... like an assault weapon. I knew something was wrong," Roig, 29, told "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer.

"It was horrific," she said. "I didn't think we were going to live."

LIVE UPDATES: Newtown, Conn., School Shooting

Alexis Wasik, an 8-year-old third grader, was startled when she heard someone rapidly firing off rounds inside another classroom. At first, she didn't know what was going on, but then she began to hear the sirens wail.

"We heard an ambulance and police officer come and everyone was a little scared crying and I felt actually a little sick and like I was going to throw up," she said. "Kids were crying, not really like screaming, but they were all huddling together. They felt so sick."

It was 9:41 a.m. when the first 911 call came into Connecticut State Police that multiple students at Sandy Hook Elementary School were locked in a classroom with a gunman. Adam Lanza killed 20 students and six adults at the school.

CLICK HERE for more photos from the scene.

When the shooting began, Roig said she quickly got up and closed her classroom door and ushered the children, all aged 6 and 7, into the class bathroom. She helped some climb onto the toilet so they could all fit. Roig said she then pushed a wheeled storage 

unit in front of the door.

"We all got in there. I locked us in," she said. "I don't know if [the gunman] came in the room... I just told them we have to be absolutely quiet."

"If they started crying, I would take their face and tell them, 'It's going to be OK,'" Roig continued. "I wanted that to be the last thing they heard, not the gunfire in the hall."

Roig said she just tried to stay strong for her students, but she didn't think they would make it out of the classroom alive.

"I thought we were all going to die," she said through tears. "I told the kids I love them and I was so happy they were my students... I said anyone who believed in the power of the prayer, we need to pray and those who don't believe in prayer" think happy thoughts.

Throughout the ordeal, Roig said her students were being very good and she tried to remain positive for them.

"They asked, 'Can we go see if anyone is out there... I just want Christmas... I don't want to die, I just want to have Christmas," she said.

READ: Connecticut School Shooting: What to Tell Your Kids

The gunfire didn't last very long, Roig said, but even when it stopped, she refused to take the kids out of the bathroom. When she heard knocking on the door a little while later, she said heard voices saying they were police officers, but she refused to open the door. Scared it was the gunman trying to lure them out, Roig told them to slide their badges under the bathroom door to prove their identities.

"I didn't believe them," she said. "I told them if they were cops, they could get the key... They did and then unlocked the bathroom."

Students who spoke to ABC News Radio told more stories of teachers who protected them during the shooting rampage. One 9-year-old boy said his class heard "a lot of bangs" and at first they thought a custodian had "knocked stuff down." Then they heard screaming.

"Police came in, said like 'Is he in here?' Then he ran out and then our teacher, somebody, yelled, 'get to a safe place.' So we went to the closet in the gym," the boy said. "The police were like knocking on the door and they're like 'we're evacuating people, we're evacuating people,' so we ran out."

After the police got Roig and her class out of their room, she said she and the children were taken to the nearby fire station, which had been set up as a staging area for parents to come pick up their kids.

That fire house, where Christmas wreaths and poinsettias are for sale, has been turned into a place of grief where frantic parents were either reuniting with their children or learning that their children are dead, or were still waiting for word.

Children stared wide-eyed as they watched state police troopers in body armor, holding raised rifles, quickly rush to secure the scene at their school. Parents said they had never been so panicked. One father, hoping to preserve a semblance of innocence, shielded his son's eyes with his forearm.

Wasik's mother said she found out about a shooting through the school's alert system, which sent her a message about a lockdown, and is still in disbelief.

"It just doesn't seem real," she said. "It feels like a nightmare. You drop your kids at school, hugs and kisses, have a good day, I'll see you later and see you at the end of the day and you never know.. in 20 minutes from now what's going to happen. And you count your blessing everyday for what you have"

          Who really runs the UK?

David Cameron or Rothschild's private security firms: MI5, MI6, Mossad, CIA and FSB (former KGB)

Exerts of John Wares News Review in the Sunday Telegraph Sunday 16th December 2012...

John Ware helped put the killer of solicitor Pat Finucane behind bars. The Report into his death raised troubling questions that go to the heart of the UK government....he says..John Ware is also a BBC 'Panorama' reporter whose 2002 documentary "A License to Murder' disclosed the collusion of the UK security services in the murder of Patrick Finucane and other....

"....According to a note-taker at the meeting with UK's prime minister David Cameron...when pressed by the family...Mr Cameron appeared to drop his guard when he said there were "people in buildings all around here (10 Downing Street) who won't let it happen"..

If it is not clear who runs the country ( The UK)...the de Silva Review suggests it was not entirely clear then..."

".....given the fact that the governments went to great length to suppress the truth ...with the De Silva Review falling short of showing that the prime minister of the day authorised the killing of begs and important question about who runs the country ( The UK) :

The "securocrats" - a Republican sobriquet for the British security and intelligence establishment - or elected the elected ministers and the Prime Minister?..."

The Finucanes have been pushing  for a public inquiry for 23 year into the murder of lawyer Patrick Finucane at 7.30pm on Sunday February 12 1989, i the kitchen of Finucane's home, and watched by his wife and three young children, bullet after bullet was fired into his head and neck at a distance of eighteen inches. "It's not a place I care to go" says his eldest son Michael when asked to relive the moment...

Seven weeks before Finucane was shot, MI5 received intelligence that UFF "military commanders" had discussed plans to kill the "shoot-to-kill solicitor in Armagh, and two other Belfast lawyers. Having painted Finucane s as IRA figure, MI5 should ensured he was warned. Yet there is no record of this being done... Not only had members of the RUC proposed the murder and passed information to his killers, the Special Branch had been informed that a "hit on a top IRA man" was imminent and did nothing to stop it. When the CID tried to identify the killers, there were obstructed by the Special Branch, who went on to recruit Barrett as an informant. Brian Nelson, a salaried agent for Military Intelligence, tasked by the Army to target "Provisional IRA activists", a job he relished, passed Finucane's photograph and address to Barrett. MI5, who had overarching responsibility for intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland, apparently felt the need for "republican players" to feel "as exposed as members of the security forces" to the "daily...threat of the assassin's bomb or bullet." .....given the fact that the governments went to great length to suppress the truth ...with the De Silva Review falling short of showing that the prime minister of the day authorised the killing of begs and important question about who runs the country ( The UK) :

The "securocrats" - a Republican sobriquet for the British security and intelligence establishment - or elected the elected ministers and the Prime Minister?

In 2001 Blair had promised a public inquiry into state collusion into the murder, should an independent review by the retired Canadian Judge, Peter Cory merit one.... In 2004, Mr Justice Cory so recommend... then the Blair government moved the goal posts by scrapping the 1921 Tribunals of Inquiry ( Evidence) Act and replacing it with the 2005 Inquiries Act, which allows ministers some control over the conduct of a public inquiry...

In October 2011 the Finucanes were invited to Downing Street, thinking that the new Bristish Prime Minister might honour his predecessor's promise....

According to a note-taker at the meeting with UK's prime minister David Cameron...when pressed by the family...Mr Cameron appeared to drop his guard when he said there were "people in buildings all around here (10 Downing Street) who won't let it happen"..

If it is not clear who runs the country ( The UK)...the de Silva Review suggests it was not entirely clear then...

Finucane was shot on February 12 1989. Five days later, a Northern Ireland Intelligence Report (NIIR) was complied, a regular form of briefing sent to ministers. At the time, ministers were being asked by the Irish Government about protection for other Republican lawyers.

However ministers were left off the distribution list for the NIIR of February 17. Had they been included, they would have discovered that MI5 had known for seven weeks that Finucane was being targeted.

Likewise, de Silva reveals that the defence secretary, Tom King, was never told that Military's Intelligence's key agent, Brian Nelson, who helped target Finucane, was engaged in conspiracies to murder Republicans. When King discovered that Nelson's intelligence was not being used to prevent UFF attacks, his request for an investigation as to why was ignored.

This is real reason why de Silva finds "no over arching state conspiracy" to murder Pat Finicane. The problem was not that ministers were directing agents like Nelson, but that ministers had very little awareness of, or influence over, their actions.

Ministers displayed a staggering lack of curiosity. In what I take to be a searing rebuke, de Silva says there was a "wilful and abject failure by successive governments" to run agents lawfully.

For de Silva reveals that, while unsighted on the details of criminality that agents were engaged in, ministers did know that agents were generally operating without a legal framework and that there was a "chronic need for new guidelines"...

Agent-running seems to have wallowed in this grey area until 2000, when the 1998 Human Rights Act came in. Why wasn't anything done until then?

Perhaps it suited governments to maintain this grey area or, as de Silva puts it, "to facilitate political deniability rather than creating mechanisms for an appropriate level of political oversight"

A British prime minister has now issued two public apologies in as many years for the conduct of the British securities services during the Trouble. Mr Cameron said he was "deeply sorry" to the Finucanes, just as, on publication of the Saville Report in 2010, he was "deeply sorry" for 13 innocent marches shot dead in Bloody Sunday in 1972....

This 2012 photo provided by the family shows Emilie Alice Parker. Parker was killed Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 children and adults at the school. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Parker Family)

This 2012 photo provided by the family shows Emilie Alice Parker. Parker was killed Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 children and adults at the school. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Parker Family)
This 2012 photo provided by the family shows Emilie Alice Parker. Parker was killed Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 children and …

'Always smiling': Portraits of Conn. victims

By By MATT SEDENSKY | Associated Press
Most died at the very start of their young lives, tiny victims taken in a way not fit for anyone regardless of age. Others found their life's work in sheltering little ones, teaching them, caring for them, treating them as their own. After the gunfire ended Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the trail of loss was more than many could bear: 20 students and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself.
A glimpse of some of those who died:
They were supposed to be for the holidays, but finally on Friday, after hearing much begging, Charlotte Bacon's mother relented and let her wear the new pink dress and boots to school.
It was the last outfit the outgoing redhead would ever pick out. Charlotte's older brother, Guy, was also in the school but was not shot.
Her parents, JoAnn and Joel, had lived in Newtown for four or five years, JoAnn's brother John Hagen, of Nisswa, Minn., told Newsday.
"She was going to go some places in this world," Hagen told the newspaper. "This little girl could light up the room for anyone."
The images of Olivia Engel will live far beyond her short lifetime. There she is, visiting with Santa Claus, or feasting on a slice of birthday cake. There's the one of her swinging a pink baseball bat, and another posing on a boat. In some, she models a pretty white dress; in others, she makes a silly face.
Dan Merton, a longtime friend of the girl's family, says he could never forget the child, and he has much to say when he thinks of her.
"She loved attention," he said. "She had perfect manners, perfect table manners. She was the teacher's pet, the line leader."
On Friday, Merton said, she was simply excited to go to school and then return home and make a gingerbread house.
"Her only crime," he said, "is being a wiggly, smiley 6-year-old."
DAWN HOCHSPRUNG, 47, principal
Dawn Hochsprung's pride in Sandy Hook Elementary was clear. She regularly tweeted photos from her time as principal there, giving indelible glimpses of life at a place now known for tragedy. Just this week, it was an image of fourth-graders rehearsing for their winter concert; days before that, the tiny hands of kindergartners exchanging play money at their makeshift grocery store.
She viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee in 2010 that "I don't think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day." She had worked to make Sandy Hook a place of safety, too, and in October, the 47-year-old Hochsprung shared a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message "safety first." When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend.
Officials said she died while lunging at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him.
"She had an extremely likable style about her," said Gerald Stomski, first selectman of Woodbury, where Hochsprung lived and had taught. "She was an extremely charismatic principal while she was here."
Dr. Matthew Velsmid was at Madeleine's house on Saturday, tending to her stricken family. He said the family did not want to comment.
Velsmid said that after hearing of the shooting, he went to the triage area to provide medical assistance but there were no injuries to treat.
"We were waiting for casualties to come out, and there was nothing. There was no need, unfortunately," he said. "This is the darkest thing I've ever walked into, by far."
Velsmid's daughter, who attends another school, lost three of her friends.
A family friend turned reporters away from the house, but Catherine's parents released a statement expressing gratitude to emergency responders and for the support of the community.
"We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Catherine Violet and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy," Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard said. "We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy."
Chase Kowalski was always outside, playing in the backyard, riding his bicycle. Just last week, he was visiting neighbor Kevin Grimes, telling him about completing — and winning — his first mini-triathlon.
"You couldn't think of a better child," Grimes said.
Grimes' own five children all attended Sandy Hook, too. Cars lined up outside the Kowalskis' ranch home Saturday, and a state trooper's car idled in the driveway. Grimes spoke of the boy only in the present tense.
NANCY LANZA, 52, gunman's mother
She once was known simply for the game nights she hosted and the holiday decorations she put up at her house. Now Nancy Lanza is known as her son's first victim.
Authorities say her 20-year-old son Adam gunned her down before killing 26 others at Sandy Hook. The two shared a home in a well-to-do Newtown neighborhood, but details were slow to emerge of who she was and what might have led her son to carry out such horror.
Kingston, N.H., Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said Nancy Lanza once lived in the community and was a kind, considerate and loving person. The former stockbroker at John Hancock in Boston was well-
respected, Briggs said.
Court records show Lanza and her ex-husband, Peter Lanza, filed for divorce in 2008. He lives in Stamford and is a tax director at General Electric. A neighbor, Rhonda Cullens, said she knew Nancy Lanza from get-togethers she had hosted to play Bunco, a dice game. She said her neighbor had enjoyed gardening.
"She was a very nice lady," Cullens said. "She was just like all the rest of us in the neighborhood, just a regular person."
Six-year-old Jesse Lewis had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich — sausage, egg and cheese — at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning.
Jesse and his parents were regulars at the Misty Vale Deli in Sandy Hook, Conn., owner Angel Salazar told The Wall Street Journal.
"He was always friendly; he always liked to talk," Salazar said.
Jesse's family has a collection of animals he enjoyed playing with, and he was learning to ride horseback.
Family friend Barbara McSperrin told the Journal that Jesse was "a typical 6-year-old little boy, full of life."
A year ago, 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene was reveling in holiday celebrations with her extended family on her first trip to Puerto Rico. This year will be heartbreakingly different.
The girl's grandmother, Elba Marquez, said the family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook's sterling reputation. The grandmother's brother, Jorge Marquez, is mayor of a Puerto Rican town and said the child's 9-year-old brother also was at the school but escaped safely.
Elba Marquez had just visited the new home over Thanksgiving and is perplexed by what happened. "What happened does not match up with the place where they live," she said.
A video spreading across the Internet shows a confident Ana hitting every note as she sings "Come, Thou Almighty King." She flashes a big grin and waves to the camera when she's done.
Jorge Marquez confirmed the girl's father is saxophonist Jimmy Greene, who wrote on Facebook that he was trying to "work through this nightmare."
"As much as she's needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to 
paradise," he wrote. "I love you sweetie girl."
The upstate New York town of Sherrill is thinking of Cindy Mattioli, who grew up there and lost her son James in the school shooting in Connecticut.
"It's a terrible tragedy, and we're a tight community," Mayor William Vineall told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "Everybody will be there for them, and our thoughts and prayers are there for them."
James' grandparents, Jack and Kathy Radley, still live in the city, the newspaper reported.
ANNE MARIE MURPHY, 52, teacher
A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking.
Remembering their daughter, Anne Marie Murphy, her parents had no shortage of adjectives to offer Newsday. When news of the shooting broke, Hugh and Alice McGowan waited for word of their daughter as hours ticked by. And then it came.
Authorities told the couple their daughter was a hero who helped shield some of her students from the 
rain of bullets. As the grim news arrived, the victim's mother reached for her rosary.
"You don't expect your daughter to be murdered," her father told the newspaper. "It happens on TV. It happens elsewhere."
Quick to cheer up those in need of a smile, Emilie Parker never missed a chance to draw a picture or make a card.
Her father, Robbie Parker, fought back tears as he described the beautiful, blond, always-smiling girl who loved to try new things, except foods.
Parker, one of the first parents to publicly talk about his loss, expressed no animosity for the gunman, even as he struggled to explain the death to his other two children, ages 3 and 4. He's sustained by the fact that the world is better for having had Emilie in it.
"I'm so blessed to be her dad," he said.
Noah was "smart as a whip," gentle but with a rambunctious streak, said his uncle, Alexis Haller of Woodinville, Wash. Noah's twin sister Arielle, assigned to a different classroom, survived the shooting. He called her his best friend, and with their 8-year-old sister, Sophia, they were inseparable.
"They were always playing together, they loved to do things together," Haller said. When his mother, a nurse, would tell him she loved him, he would answer, "Not as much as I love you, Mom."
Haller said Noah loved to read and liked to figure out how things worked mechanically. For his birthday two weeks ago, he got a new Wii.
"He was just a really lively, smart kid," Haller said. "He would have become a great man, I think. He would have grown up to be a great dad."
Lauren Rousseau had spent years working as a substitute teacher and doing other jobs. So she was thrilled when she finally realized her goal this fall to become a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook.
Her mother, Teresa Rousseau, a copy editor at the Danbury News-Times, released a statement Saturday that said state police told them just after midnight that she was among the victims.
"Lauren wanted to be a teacher from before she even went to kindergarten," she said. "We will miss 
her terribly and will take comfort knowing that she had achieved that dream."
Her mother said she was thrilled to get the job.
"It was the best year of her life," she told the newspaper.
Rousseau has been called gentle, spirited and active. She had planned to see "The Hobbit" with her boyfriend Friday and had baked cupcakes for a party they were to attend afterward. She was born in Danbury, and attended Danbury High, college at the University of Connecticut and graduate school at the University of Bridgeport.
She was a lover of music, dance and theater.
"I'm used to having people die who are older," her mother said, "not the person whose room is up over the kitchen."
MARY SHERLACH, 56, school psychologist
When the shots rang out, Mary Sherlach threw herself into the danger.
Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school's principal ran toward the shooter. They lost their own lives, rushing toward him.
Even as Sherlach neared retirement, her job at Sandy Hook was one she loved. Those who knew her called her a wonderful neighbor, a beautiful person, a dedicated educator.
Her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Sherlach rooted on the Miami Dolphins, enjoyed visiting the Finger Lakes, relished helping children overcome their problems. She had planned to leave work early on Friday, he said, but never had the chance. In a news conference Saturday, he told reporters the loss was devastating, but that Sherlach was doing what she loved.
"Mary felt like she was doing God's work," he said, "working with the children."
VICTORIA SOTO, 27, teacher
She beams in snapshots. Her enthusiasm and cheer was evident. She was doing, those who knew her say, what she loved.
And now, Victoria Soto is being called a hero.
Though details of the 27-year-old teacher's death remained fuzzy, her name has been invoked again and again as a portrait of selflessness and humanity among unfathomable evil. Those who knew her said they weren't surprised by reports she shielded her first-graders from danger.
"She put those children first. That's all she ever talked about," said a friend, Andrea Crowell. "She 
wanted to do her best for them, to teach them something new every day."
Photos of Soto show her always with a wide smile, in pictures of her at her college graduation and in mundane daily life. She looks so young, barely an adult herself. Her goal was simply to be a teacher.
"You have a teacher who cared more about her students than herself," said Mayor John Harkins of Stratford, the town Soto hailed from and where more than 300 people gathered for a memorial service Saturday night. "That speaks volumes to her character, and her commitment and dedication."
Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie, Mark Scolforo, Allen Breed and Danica Coto contributed to this report.


Remembering Sandy Hook massacre victimsPlay Video
CBSTV Videos
This July 2010 photo provided by the Newtown Bee shows Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Eliza Hallabeck) MANDATORY CREDIT: NEWTOWN BEE,

Most died at the very start of their young lives, tiny victims taken in a way not fit for anyone regardless …Full Story »Portraits of Conn. shooting victims show lives at their very start, ended in hail of gunfire
Associated Press
Parent of Sandy Hook student reacts to tragedyPlay Video
FOX News VideosParent of Sandy Hook student reacts to tragedy

A glimpse of victims of the Conn. school shooting
Associated PressPlay Video

Vigil held in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary school victims

CBSTV Videos
This satellite image provided by Google shows the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded. (AP Photo/Google)

Sandy Hook shooting: What happened?

Twenty-six people -- 20 students and six adults -- were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14. Details continue to emerge about what precisely happened. Below is a timeline of events that compiles the latest reporting.

Before events at the school
At some point before he went to the school, investigators believe Adam Lanza, 20 (right) killed his mother, Nancy Lanza. He then took her guns and made his way to the elementary school wearing black fatigues and a military vest, according to a law enforcement official.
After 9:00 a.m.
Classes were under way at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Approximately 700 students were present at the school.
Earlier this year, the school principal, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, ordered a new security system installed that requires visitors to be visibly identified and buzzed in. As part of the security system, the school locked its doors each day at 9:30 a.m.
It is not clear whether the suspect, Adam Lanza, 20, entered the school before or after 9:30 a.m.
Lanza forced his way into the school, law enforcement officials said. It is unclear how or whether Lanza used weapons to do it.
A graphic depicting the site of the shooting. (CNN)
About 9:30 a.m.
At about 9:30 a.m., as announcements were read over the loudspeaker to the students, shots rang out.
Students described being ushered into bathrooms and closets by teachers after hearing the first shots.
One parent who was at the school in a meeting with Hochsprung, the school's psychologist, Mary Sherlach, and the vice principal said she heard a "pop, pop, pop."
All three left the room and went into the hall to see what was happening. The parent ducked under the table and called 911. "I cowered," the parent told CNN. The gunman "must have shot a hundred rounds."
All three -- the principal, vice principal and the school psychologist -- were shot by the gunman. Hochsprung and Sherlach died at the scene. The vice principal was wounded.
Next, Lanza shot up two classrooms of kindergartners and first-graders, police said. Twenty students ages 6 and 7 were killed. Four other adults were also killed.
At the police station, dispatchers began to take calls from inside the school. Authorities say the first emergency call about the shooting came in at "approximately" 9:30 a.m.
"Sandy Hook school. Caller is indicating she thinks someone is shooting in the building," a dispatcher told fire and medical personnel, according to 911 tapes.
9:50 a.m.
Police and other first responders arrived on scene. By this time, police say the gunman was dead, though the exact timing is unclear.
Police report that no law enforcement officers discharged their weapons at any point. The gunman likely took his own life, police said.
Authorities found three guns next to Lanza's body in one of the classrooms, a law enforcement source told CNN. All three -- a semi-automatic .223-caliber rifle made by Bushmaster and two pistols made by Glock and Sig Sauer -- were owned by Lanza's mother, a source told CNN.

The above weapons are similar to the ones found with the suspect: A Bushmaster rifle, a Glock handgun, and a Sig-Sauer handgun.
Investigators know which one Lanza used to kill himself but are not yet revealing that information.
Police secured the building, ensuring no other shooters were on site. Police then escorted students and faculty out of the building to a nearby firehouse. As reports of the shooting made their way around town, frantic parents descended on the firehouse where the children had been taken.
By nightfall, the firehouse became a gathering point for parents and family members whose loved ones would never walk out of the school.


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Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

28 dead including 20 children, gunman in Newtown shooting

Staff reports
Updated 9:34 pm, Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown Massacre: Teacher Kept Kids Calm

By LAUREN EFFRON and NIKKI BATTISTE | Good Morning America 

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  • In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. MANDATORY CREDIT Photo: Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks / AP

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The families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. A heavily armed gunman opened fire on school children and staff at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, killing at least 26 people, including 20 children, in the latest in a series of shooting rampages that have tormented the United States this year. REUTERS/Adrees Latif .

Across the street from the elementary school in Sandy Hook, Conn. neighbors hoisted an American flag and created a make-shift prayer for the deceased inside the school late Friday Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)

Associated Press/Robert Ray - Across the street from the elementary school in Sandy Hook, Conn. neighbors hoisted an American flag and created a make-shift prayer for the deceased inside the school late Friday Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Robert Ray) 

US School Shooting: Gunman Kills 27

Sky News 15th December 2012
The United States is in shock after a man murdered his mother at home before gunning down 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut school.

The heavily armed gunman, named as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, shot the children - aged between five and 10 years old - at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Dawn Hochsprung, the head teacher at the school in Newtown, was among those killed in the shooting, which began at around 9:30am - just after school day started.

After storming through several classrooms, Lanza, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying two handguns, turned one of the guns he was carrying on himself.

An emotional US President Barack Obama wiped tears from his eyes as he told a stunned country : "Our hearts are broken today."

Mr Obama hinted at possible gun law reform , declaring that the latest atrocity signals that the country should come together to take meaningful action, "regardless of the politics".

The President also used his weekly address to express his sadness in the wake of the shooting.

"We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child's innocence has been torn away far too early," Mr Obama said.

Children told their parents they had heard bangs and, at one point, a scream over the intercom. Teachers ordered them to hide in closets or corners.

"I was going back to my classroom and I heard like a person kicking on the door and I turned around I smelled smoke," an eight-year-old boy told NBC.

Reports said Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, and then drove to the school in her car.

Some reports said Lanza's mother was a substitute teacher at the school. But her name did not appear on a staff list. 

At least three guns were found - a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a high-powered rifle in the back of the car, authorities said.

A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of the guns used in the attack may have belonged to Lanza's mother, who had legally purchased five weapons.

The attack, just two weeks before Christmas, was America's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech university massacre in 2007 that left 32 dead.

Authorities offered little clue as to the motive for the shootings in the picturesque small town northeast of New York City.

The gunman was believed to suffer from a personality disorder and lived with his mother in an affluent part of Newtown, a picturesque community of 27,000 people.

State police Lt Paul Vance said just one person suffered an injury and survived, indicating that the gunman was unusually accurate or methodical in his fire.

Lanza's older brother Ryan, 24, of Hoboken, New Jersey, has been questioned by police but a law enforcement official said he was not believed to have had any role in the shooting and was "extremely cooperative".

Ryan Lanza told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.

Hours after the shooting, hundreds of people gathered for a vigil, the crowd filling the church to capacity and spilling outside its doors.

Some lit candles while others joined hands to sing Christmas songs.

"Evil visited this community today," State Governor Dan Malloy said earlier.

David Connors, whose triplets were at the school during the shooting but were unharmed, said he was still horrified.

"It's hard. I've never imagined a thing like that could happen here."

Police said they expected to be able to make public the identities of the victims later on Saturday.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "It is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them."

The Queen sent a message to Mr Obama in which she said she was "deeply shocked and saddened".

Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter of condolence to the community, which was read aloud at a vigil in Newtown on Friday evening.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon wrote to Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy to give his "deepest condolences at the shocking murders," a statement said.

"The targeting of children is heinous and unthinkable," he added in condemning the "horrendous" crime.

Police, world wonder about Conn. shooting motive


NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The massacre of 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, a 20-year-old described as brilliant but remote, was driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.

Investigators were trying to learn more about Adam Lanza and questioned his older brother, who was not believed to have been involved in the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary. Police shed no light on the motive for the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

In tight-knit Newtown on Friday night, hundreds of people packed St. Rose of Lima Church and stood outside in a vigil for the 28 dead — 20 children and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself, who committed suicide. People held hands, lit candles and sang "Silent Night."

"These 20 children were just beautiful, beautiful children," Monsignor Robert Weiss said. "These 20 children lit up this community better than all these Christmas lights we have. ... There are a lot brighter stars up there tonight because of these kids."

Lanza is believed to have suffered from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation.

Lanza shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, drove to the school in her car with at least three of her guns, and opened fire in two classrooms around 9:30 a.m. Friday, law enforcement officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A custodian ran through the halls, warning of a gunman, and someone switched on the intercom, perhaps saving many lives by letting them hear the chaos in the school office, a teacher said. Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner, duck under their desks or hide in closets as shots reverberated through the building.

The well-liked principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was believed to be among the dead. A woman who worked at the school was wounded.

Maryann Jacob, a clerk in the school library, was in there with 18 fourth-graders when they heard a commotion and gunfire outside the room. She had the youngsters crawl into a storage room, and they locked the door and barricaded it with a file cabinet. There happened to be materials for coloring, "so we set them up with paper and crayons."

After what she guessed was about an hour, officers came to the door and knocked, but those inside couldn't be sure it was the police.

"One of them slid his badge under the door, and they called and said, 'It's OK, it's the police,'" she said.

A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said investigators believe Lanza attended the school several years ago but appeared to have no recent connection to it. It was not clear whether he held a job.

At least one parent said Lanza's mother was a substitute teacher at the school. But her name did not appear on a staff list. And the official said investigators were unable to establish any connection so far between her and the school.

Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, of Hoboken, N.J., was questioned, and investigators searched his computers and phone records, but he told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.

For about two hours late Friday and early Saturday, clergy members and emergency vehicles moved steadily to and from the school. The state medical examiner's office said bodies of the victims would be taken there for autopsies.

The gunman entered the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school through the front door, and authorities are looking into the possibility that he shattered glass next to it to get in, police said.

He took three guns into the school — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both semiautomatic pistols, and a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle, according to an official who was not authorized to discuss information with reporters and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The weapons were registered to his slain mother.

Lanza and his mother lived in a well-to-do part of prosperous Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City, where neighbors are doctors or hold white-collar positions at companies such as General Electric, Pepsi and IBM.

His parents filed for divorce in 2008, according to court records. His father, Peter Lanza, lives in Stamford, Conn., and works as a tax director for GE.

The gunman's aunt Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.

"Nancy wasn't one to deny reality," Marsha Lanza said, adding her husband had seen Adam as recently as June and recalled nothing out of the ordinary.

Catherine Urso, of Newtown, said her college-age son knew the killer. "He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths," she said.

Lanza attended Newtown High School, and several news clippings from recent years mention his name among the honor roll students.

Joshua Milas, who graduated from Newtown High in 2009 and belonged to the school technology club with him, said that 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 said. "He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius."

The mass shooting is one of the deadliest in U.S. history, and among school attacks is second in victims only to the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, which left 33 people dead, including the gunman. Reaction was swift and emotional in Newtown, a picturesque New England community of 27,000 people, as well as across the country and around the world.

"It has to stop, these senseless deaths," said Frank DeAngelis, principal of Colorado's Columbine High School, where a massacre in 1999 killed 15 people.

In Washington, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence organized a vigil at the White House, with some protesters chanting, "Today IS the day" to take steps to curb gun violence. In New York's Times Square, a few dozen people held tea lights in plastic cups, with one woman holding a sign that read: "Take a moment and candle to remember the victims of the Newtown shooting."

President Barack Obama's comments on the tragedy amounted to one of the most outwardly emotional moments of his presidency.

"The majority of those who died were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," Obama said at a White House news briefing. He paused for several seconds to keep his composure as he teared up and wiped an eye. Nearby, two aides cried and held hands.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the attack as a "senseless and incomprehensible act of evil."

"Like President Obama and his fellow Americans, our hearts too are broken," Gillard said in a statement.

In Japan, where guns are severely restricted and there are extremely few gun-related crimes, the attack led the news two days before parliamentary elections. In China, which has seen several knife rampages at schools in recent years, the attack quickly consumed public discussion.

In Newtown, 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.

Kaitlin Roig, a teacher at the school, said she implored her students to be quiet.

"I told them we had to be absolutely quiet. Because I was just so afraid if he did come in, then he would hear us and just start shooting the door. I said we have to be absolutely quiet. And I said there are bad guys out there now and we need to wait for the good guys to come get us out," Roig told ABC News.

"If they started crying, I would take their face and say, 'It's going to be OK. Show me your smile,'" she said. "They said, 'We want to go home for Christmas. Yes, yeah. I just want to hug my mom.' Things like that, that were just heartbreaking."


Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Pat Eaton-Robb and Matt Apuzzo and videographer Robert Ray in Newtown; Bridget Murphy in Boston; Samantha Henry in Newark, N.J.; Pete Yost in Washington; Michael Melia in Hartford; and the AP News Research Center in New York.

Routine morning, then shots and unthinkable terror


Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

Shooting Victims: 'Hero' Teacher, Principal, 20 Kids
Shooting Victims: 'Hero' Teacher, Principal, 20 Kids (ABC News)

Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well'
Good Morning America - Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well' (ABC News)

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: 27 Feared Dead In Newtown, Gunman Dead

The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: 14/12/2012 16:10 GMT  |  Updated: 14/12/2012 22:00 GMT

   Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: 27 Feared Dead In Newtown, Gunman Dead

Police have confirmed that 27 people have been killed in a shooting rampage at an elementary school in Connecticut on Friday.

Adam Lanza has been identified as the suspected shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, the Associated Press reports.

Police initially identified the shooter as Ryan Lanza, the 24-year-old elder brother of Adam Lanza. According to the AP, the error occurred when a law enforcement official transposed the names of the two men.

CNN and NBC have reported that the gunman's mother, Nancy Lanza, was a kindergarten teacher at the school.


Children are escorted to safety
A photo from the scene shows crying children being escorted to safety by police officers. Children at the school are between five and 10 years old.

Twenty children were killed at the school and a second crime scene is being investigated in Newtown at which "there is an adult deceased", officials confirmed.

A neighbor of Ryan Lanza's parents in Sandy Hook told The Huffington Post that police are at Lanza's parents house.

The shooter was killed during the rampage and several others were injured. The identities of the shooting victims has not yet been released.

He was wearing dark clothing, a mask, a bulletproof vest, and was carrying four guns. A cause and manner of death is pending, police said.

Law enforcement officers said in a press statement that the area was now secure, and that the public is no longer in danger.

State policeman Lieutenant Paul Vance said shootings had taken place in two different rooms in the school.

"It's a very, very difficult scene," he said. "It's a tragedy. It's a tragic scene."

A law enforcement official in Washington said the attacker used a .223-calibre rifle.

President Barack Obama has called Governor Dan Malloy, and pledged "whatever resources the federal government can bring to bear to assist families and the investigation," according to his senior adviser Roy Occhiogrosso at the same press conference.

Eight-year-old Alexis Wasik, a third-grader at the school, told the Hartford Courant police were checking everybody inside the school before they were escorted to the firehouse.

"We had to walk with a partner," she said.

Stephen Delgiadice told the Associated Press that his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

connecticut school shooting

An aerial view of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut

"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.

The superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City.

Parents of children attending local schools received automated phone calls saying all schools in the area had been put on "lockdown" as a safety precaution, meaning all buildings had been locked, allowing nobody to leave or enter.

President Obama said "There is not a parent in America who does not feel the same overwhelming grief as I do" after 27 people, including 18 children, were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

In an emotional address to the nation from the White House, Obama said that "as a country, we have been through this too many times".

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration would "do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement".

Jillian Cruwys, a parent of children at another school in Newtown, told BBC News: "I'm just in complete shock. It sounds like a cliche, but Newtown is the last place you would think this would happen.

"The first thing we heard this morning was there had been an apparent shooting and three possible injuries, and I just can't believe the numbers we're being told now."

Ms Cruwys received a second automated call within an hour from the principal of her children's school to say that all teachers and children at their school were safe.

She continued: "This is just so devastating, the number of families that are impacted by this, it's just really, really hard to know.

"It is a wonderful, very tight-knit and supportive community, a lot of people do volunteer work and stuff. I don't know how anybody deals with something like this. I really don't know, I just think time will tell."

One mother of an 8-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.

Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well'

By BRIAN ROSS and RICHARD ESPOSITO | Good Morning America Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well'
Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well' (ABC News)

Good Morning America - Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well' (ABC News)

Adam Lanza of Newtown, Connecticut was a child of the suburbs and a child of divorce who at age 20 still lived with his mother.

This morning he appears to have started his day by shooting his mother Nancy in the face, and then driving to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with at least two handguns and at least one semi-automatic rifle.

There, before turning his gun on himself, he shot and killed 20 children, who President Obama later described as between five and 10 years of age. Six adults were also killed at the school. Nancy Lanza was found dead in her home.

A relative told ABC News that Adam was "obviously not well."

Family friends in Newtown also described the young man as troubled and described Nancy as very rigid. "[Adam] was not connected with the other kids," said one friend.

State and federal authorities believe his mother may have once worked at the elementary school where Adam went on his deadly rampage, although she was not a teacher, according to relatives, perhaps a volunteer.

Nancy and her husband Peter, Adam's father, divorced in 2009. When they first filed for divorce in 2008, a judge ordered that they participate in a "parenting education program."

Peter Lanza, who drove to northern New Jersey to talk to police and the FBI, is a vice president at GE Capital and had been a partner at global accounting giant Ernst & Young.

Adam's older brother Ryan Lanza, 24, has worked at Ernst & Young for four years, apparently following in his father's footsteps and carving out a solid niche in the tax practice. He too was interviewed by the FBI. Neither he nor his father is under any suspicion.

"[Ryan] is a tax guy and he is clean as a whistle," a source familiar with his work said.

Police had initially identified Ryan as the killer. Ryan sent out a series of Facebook posts saying it wasn't him and that he was at work all day. Video records as well as card swipes at Ernst & Young verified his statement that he had been at the office.

Investigators are looking into whether Adam Lanza was carrying his older brother Ryan's identification at the time of the shooting, which may have caused the confusion. Neither Adam nor Ryan has any known criminal history.

With reporting by Pierre Thomas, Jim Avila, Santina Leuci, Aaron Katersky, Jason Ryan and Jay Shaylor

MORE: 27 Dead, Mostly Children, at Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

LIVE UPDATES: Newton, Conn. School Shooting

Adam Lanza Identified As Suspected Shooter At Sandy Hook Elementary School In Newtown, Connecticut

Posted: 12/14/2012 4:38 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/14/2012 5:31 pm EST

Adam Lanza Identified As Suspected Shooter At Sandy Hook Elementary School In Newtown, Connecticut

Adam Lanza has been identified as the suspected shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., the Associated Press reports.

Police initially identified the shooter as Ryan Lanza, the 24-year-old elder brother of Adam Lanza. According to the AP, the error occurred when a law enforcement official transposed the names of the two men.

State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance would not confirm the identity of the suspect in a 5 p.m. news conference, though he said that officials have "tentatively" identified the suspect.

The New York Post also reports that Adam Lanza was the suspected gunman.

At least 27 people -- including 20 children -- are dead following the shooting.


From the Associated Press' Pete Yost:

WASHINGTON — The suspect in the Connecticut school shootings is Adam Lanza, 20, the son of a teacher at the school where the shootings occurred, a law enforcement official said Friday. A second law enforcement official says the boy's mother, Nancy Lanza, is presumed dead.

Adam Lanza's older brother, Ryan, 24, of Hoboken, N.J., is being questioned by police, said the first official. Earlier, a law enforcement official mistakenly transposed the brothers' first names.

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

The first official said Adam Lanza is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to the second official, the suspect drove to the scene of the shootings in his mother's car. Three guns were found at the scene – a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols – and a .223-caliber rifle. The rifle was recovered from the back of a car at the school. The two pistols were recovered from inside the school.

The official also said Lanza's girlfriend and another friend are missing in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, former Jersey Journal staff writer Brett Wilshe said he has spoken with Ryan Lanza of Hoboken, who told Wilshe the shooter may have had Ryan Lanza's identification.

Ryan Lanza has a Facebook page that posted updates Friday afternoon that read that "it wasn't me" and "I was at work."


Associated Press writers Adam Goldman in Washington and Samantha Henry in Newark, N.J., contributed to this report.

Shooting Victims: 'Hero' Teacher, Principal, 20 Kids

By MICHAEL S. JAMES and CHRIS CUOMO | Good Morning America

One was a first-grade teacher who reportedly threw herself in front of the gunman to shield her students. Another was a well-liked principal.

Both were among those killed when Adam Lanza, 20, stormed intoSandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., with guns blazing Friday, killing six adults and 20 children before killing himself.

CLICK HERE for full coverage of the tragedy at the elementary school.

Lanza also killed a seventh adult in the rampage -- his mother, Nancy Lanza. She was killed in her home, shot in the face before her son's assault on the school, sources told ABC News.

Few other victims' names had emerged as of early this morning, but that was expected to change at a police news conference. Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said officers had identified the names of all the victims at the school.

CLICK HERE for photos from the shooting scene.

"They were successful working with the medical examiners establishing positive identification," he said. "Our detectives then went and made notification to all of the family members."

The few that emerged early came with compelling stories attached.

READ: Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well'

READ: Officials Seek Motive in School Massacre

Vicki Soto, 27, one of the adult victims, loved being a teacher, her cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News' Chris Cuomo Friday. In fact, her first-grade students' safety was such a high priority that Soto reportedly lost her life protecting them.

"The family was informed that she was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm, and by doing that put herself between the gunman and the children," Wiltsie said. "And that's when she was tragically shot and killed.

"I'm very proud to have known Vicki," Wiltsie added. "Her life dream was to be a teacher. And her instincts kicked in when she saw there was harm coming to her students.

"It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children," he said. "And in our eyes, she is a hero."

The circumstances of Dawn Hochsprung's death are less clear, but those who have spoken have had nice things to say about the Sandy Hook principal.

"When we had our orientation, you could tell she loved her job," Brenda Lediski, a parent, told ABC News by phone.

Hochsprung, 47, only became principal of Sandy Hook in recent years, according to a local news report.

"She was always enthusiastic, always smiling, always game to do anything," Kristin Larson, a former PTA secretary, told the Boston Globe. "When I saw her at the beginning of the school year, she was hugging everyone."

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Dan Harris and Lauren Effron contributed to this report.

Newtown gunman kills 20 children in elementary school shooting

Newtown gunman kills 20 children in elementary school shooting

Connecticut police say unidentified gunman killed 26 people and himself in one of America's worst ever mass shootings

Newtown gunman kills 20 children in elementary school shooting

Aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre. Link to this video

America was confronted with one of its worst ever mass shootings on Friday when 20 children and six adults were shot dead by a gunman who opened fire at an elementary school in Connecticut.

The massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, about 65 miles north-east of New York, is understood to have been carried out by a lone gunman, who was later found dead at the scene.

State police lieutenant Paul Vance said 18 children died at the scene and two more died in hospital. Six adults were found dead at the school, Vance said. The bodies of the victims remain inside the school.

Sandy Hook, which had recently updated its security procedures, teaches children from kindergarten to fourth grade, ages five to 10.

The scale of the tragedy and the age of the victims shocked a country that has seen many mass shootings and prompted immediate calls for tougher gun controls. Barack Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, refused to engage with the issue, telling reporters at a White House briefing that "today was not the day".

A young girl is given a blanket after being evacuated from Sandy Hook school.A young girl is given a blanket after being evacuated from Sandy Hook school. Photograph: Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters

But later, in an emotional press conference at the White House, Barack Obama suggested that he may take action. Fighting back tears, he said: "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."

Citing a number of major shootings this year alone, Obama continued: "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 neighbourhoods are our neighbourhoods, 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."

Police said they had made a "tentative identification" of the gunman but would not confirm the name. The Associated Press and other news organisations quoted law enforcement sources naming Adam Lanza, 20.

His mother, Nancy, was presumed dead, law enforcement officials told AP.

Lanza's elder brother Ryan, 24, was questioned by police but is not believed to have any connection to the shooting. He had earlier been wrongly identified as the gunman, apparently because officials transposed the names when briefing journalists.

The school's principal, Dawn Hochsprung, 47, was one of the the victims, her relatives said. She was decribed by colleagues as a warm and energetic leader of the school. The school psychologist, Mary Sherlach, was another of the confirmed victims.

As darkness fell on Friday evening police were still refusing to confirm many of the details, including the identities of the victims.

At Saint Rose of Lima church in Newtown locals gathered to mourn the dead.

Hundreds crowded outside the packed church listening to the service through open windows. A group of young people linked arms and formed a circle while singing Silent Night, while others held candles and looked on. Some just wept.

"It's awful. It's just one of the saddest things," said Suzanne Kelly. She was with her husband, Brian, and daughter Mattie, 16, who had attended Sandy Hook elementary. The family said they were still waiting to hear if former teachers were among the victims.

"It was really heartbreaking," Mattie said of hearing the news. "I just didn't expect it to happen anywhere. It was the least expected place for it to happen."

Agron Selmani, 23, stood praying quietly outside the church. "It's just a terrible tragedy. Twenty babies, along with six adults. I just wanted to come here and pray.

"I'm not a regular at this church at all. I'm not even Catholic, I'm a Muslim, but it doesn't matter right now."

Police said the first 911 call came just after 9.30am. As all schools were put on lockdown as a precaution, state and local officers responded to the scene and immediately entered the building to begin a thorough search of all classrooms.

"Our main objective was to evacuate … any and all students and faculty," Vance said.

Teachers had locked their classrooms and were sheltering under desks and in closets while the shooting went on. Some witnesses said they heard at least 100 shots.

The gunman was armed with two handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer. A third weapon, a .223 calibre rifle, was later found in the back of his car.

In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut state police lead children from the Sandy Hook elementary school.In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut state police lead children from the Sandy Hook elementary school. Photograph: Shannon Hicks/Newtown Bee via Reuters

Pictures of the immediate aftermath of the shooting showed surviving children, many of them visibly upset, being led by police away from the building in a crocodile line with hands on each other's shoulders.

Some told their parents they had been told by the police officers evacuating the school to hold hands and close their eyes when passing certain rooms. The shootings took place in two rooms in one section of the school, police said.

Janet Vollmer, a teacher at the school who had 19 children in her class told CNN's Anderson Cooper how she locked the door and tried to keep the students calm.

"We heard pops, you know, gunshots but we're not going to tell that to 5-year-olds so we said we're going to go to a safe place and we read stories," she said.

"We kept them calm, we stayed in the room til there was banging at the door and that was the police. We said we're not really sure but we're going to be safe because we're sitting here and we're all together."

As news of the shooting began to circulate, parents were seen running toward the building to find out if their children were amongst those shot.

Young children at Sandy Hook gave accounts of the shooting to their parents. "They just told us how heroic their teachers were," said Howie Ziperstein, whose sons aged seven and nine were among the survivors. "One of my children was in the gym and was told to go in the corner and hide. When they saw a police officer coming who told them go run as fast as you can to the fire house."

Ziperstein's wife met the boys at the fire house and brought them home.

"My younger son said he heard gunshots," he said. "He said they locked doors and put desks in front of certain doors and just waited."

Ziperstein said the seven-year-old was finally able to leave the classroom when a police officer came to the door.

"There was a person with a gun laying on the ground; they had to walk around him," Ziperstein said. "They were told to keep their eyes closed, but what kid if you tell them to do that actually keeps their eyes closed."

Ziperstein was eventually reunited with his children at the family home. "It was just relief. They came running in the house and we hugged each other. It was almost like a miracle."

Richard Wilford's seven-year-old son, Richie, told of hearing a noise that sounded like cans falling at the time of the attack.

"I could try to explain it but I'm sure I would fail," said Wilford. "There's no words that I could come up with that would even come close to describing the sheer terror of hearing that your son is in a place, or your child's in a place, where there's been violence.

"You don't know the details of that violence, you don't know the condition of your child and you can't do anything to immediately help them or protect them. It is a powerless and terrifying experience."

Robert Licata said his six-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 told the AP. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."

Licata said the shooter didn't say a word.

Stephen Delgiadice said his eight-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.

The shooting comes towards the end of a year that has seen a number of mass shootings including an assault at a movie theatre in Colorado that killed 12 people and an attack at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that took the lives of six worshipers. On Monday two people were killed by a gunman at a shopping mall in Portland, Oregon.

Mary Sherlach: Sandy Hook school psychologist preparing for retirement

Sherlach had worked at Sandy Hook elementary school for 18 years and was familiar face, giving students help and support

Mary Sherlach psychologist, Sandy Hook

Mary Sherlach was a long-serving member of staff. Photograph: Enterprise News And Pictures

One of the six adults to have died in the Newtown school shooting was a long-serving member of staff, familiar to students and parents.

Mary Sherlach, the 56-year-old school psychologist, had worked at the Sandy Hook elementary school for 18 years, giving support and guidance to the young children.

Sherlach's website gives evidence of a life dedicated to her profession. A master's and a sixth year professional degree from Southern ConnecticutState University followed an undergraduate degree in psychology from SUNY Cortland.

Before starting at Sandy Hook in 1994, she worked in three other school districts.

"She wanted to help kids get over their problems and go on to be successful," her son-in-law Eric Schwartz told the Newtown Patch.

A freelance writer for the newspaper, Schwartz said that the family were in shock.

"I still don't think anyone's fully grasped it. It doesn't feel real. It's hard to wrap your head around it," the Patch reported.

Sherlach's website also gives testimony of a happy life outside work.

Married for 31 years to husband Bill, the pair have two daughters aged 25 and 28. The New York Times reported that the couple lived in Trumbull, Connecticut.

John Button, 57, a friend of Sherlach's husband, told the New York Timesthat she was preparing for retirement. "It was going to be her last year — that's what she said," he said. "She loved her job. She's done this for her whole career."

When not at work, the couple enjoyed "spending time at our lake house in the Finger Lakes," Sherlach wrote on her website, adding: "My hobbies include gardening, reading and the theater."

But the overarching image that emerges is of a woman who loved her work. She wrote: "I truly enjoy working with the SHS (Sandy Hook School) staff, parents and children and am always ready to assist in problem solving, intervention and prevention."

Dawn Hochsprung: ambitious school principal who wanted children to excel

Death of Sandy Hook principal who 'touched the hearts of many' leads to outpouring of emotion from parents and friends

Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook elementary school who was among the six adults killed in the Friday shooting, had led the almost 700-pupil school according to the values she had long espoused: inclusiveness, creativity, and academic ambition.

As confirmation that she was among the dead circulated in the small community of Newtown, where the school that she had led for the past two years is one of the central pillars, there was an outpouring of emotion from the parents of her charges and friends. "Dawn Hochsprung touched many of our hearts with her professionalism and love for her students," said the first selectman for nearby Bethlehem inConnecticut, Jeff Hamel.

Dawn Czaplicki, who had known the principal since their own high school days, remembered her as "a mature and very smart young lady full of life and always had a smile on her face that could only warm your heart."

In the two years that she led the Sandy Hook elementary, Hochsprung, 47, had emphasised its strong community role. When she sent memos to parents she would address them to the "Sandy Hook family".

One of the more recent memos was a circular about security in the school buildings. She told parents that as part of routine measures in the region, the doors of the school would be locked after 9.30am every morning, and everyone including parents entering after that would be asked for ID.

Hochsprung was ambitious for her students and for herself. On top of running the school, and being mother to her own two daughters and three stepdaughters, she had enrolled in a post-graduate programme at Esteves School of Education in New York – a prestigious course for an educator. She was actively introducing the latest teaching techniques into Sandy Hook classrooms – she recently brought together 30 teachers before the start of the school day for an "Appy Hour" in which they shared notes about the best iPad apps to use with students.

But she also believed in the power of imagination and fun. The New York Times recorded that she had introduced a tradition of Wacky Wednesdays, when students came to school wearing clothes that didn't match. She would often dress up herself, and bring her poodle into school.

Her Twitter feed, which now has her profile framed in black, gives a window into a sparky and interested mind with eclectic interests. She tweeted proudly about the winter concert coming up for her fourth-graders, and that the school's six year olds had been learning the three As of concert behaviour: attention, appreciation and applause.

Hochsprung took a close interest in education policy, and would often circulate speeches by the education secretary, Arne Duncan. She linked to a blog post on Twitter that speculated on what would happen were Duncan to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. The post poked fun at Duncan's fondness for controversial charter schools, sponsored by business interests. Would he, as secretary if state, set up charter embassies, each with its own foreign policy, it asked.

Her most recent activity on Twitter was the day before she died, when she retweeted a nine-point programme on how to relieve stress. Point one was "Have self-compassion."

Mass shootings at schools and universities in the US – timeline

The shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, is one of many in the US over the past 50 years

Columbine memorial
Students from Columbine high school gather at a makeshift memorial to their classmates after the April 1999 shooting. Photograph: Najlah Feanny/Corbis

Virginia Tech 16 April 2007

Seung-Hui Cho, a student of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, killed 32 people in a shooting rampage, before killing himself.

Nickel Mines 2 October 2006

Charles Carl Roberts IV, a milk-truck driver, shot dead five girls in a one-room Amish schoolhouse before killing himself. Five other girls were critically injured by Roberts, who was not Amish. He had just finished a shift at work and had dropped his children off at a bus stop.

Red Lake high school 21 March 2005

After shooting dead his grandfather and partner, Jeffrey Weise went on to kill a teacher, a security guard, five fellow students and then himself at a high school on a Native American reservation in Minnesota.

Columbine high school 20 April 1999

Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, murdered twelve students and a teacher and injured 24 at their former high school in Columbine, Colorado. The pair killed themselves at the scene.

Westside middle school 24 March 1998

Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shot dead four students and a teacher at a school near Jonesboro, Arkansas. Nine other people were injured by the pair, who were released from a juvenile detention centre in 2005.

University of Iowa 1 November 1991

Gang Lu, 27, a graduate student from China, went on a shooting rampage in two buildings on the University of Iowa campus, killing four members of his department and another university employee. Lu, who was said to have been infuriated because his doctoral dissertation was not nominated for an academic award, committed suicide at the scene.

Cleveland elementary school 17 January 1989

Patrick Edward Purdy used a semi-automatic rifle to kill five school children and dozens of others at a school in Stockton, California, before killing himself. The case led to a ban on assault weapons in California.

California State University 12 July 1976

Edward Charles Allaway, 37, bought a semi-automatic rifle at a Kmart store and used it to kill seven people in the library where he worked as a custodian. He was subsequently found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental hospital.

University of Texas 1 August 1966

After murdering his wife and mother, Charles Whitman killed 14 people and wounded nearly three dozen from the 28th floor of the university clock tower, before being killed by police.

The former marine entered the university's mechanical engineering programme after leaving the army, where he had earned a badge for sharpshooting.

Newtown shooting: a quiet town hit by an attack of unimaginable brutality

Elementary school day began with a routine staff meeting, then 20 children shot in their classroom by a lone gunman

  • Ed Pilkington (140x140)
  • Newtown shooting
    People embrace at a firehouse staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at in Newtown, Connecticut. Photograph: Jessica Hill/AP

    At 9.30am on a crisp and sun-filled Friday morning, seven employees of Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, gathered for a weekly meeting. At that minute, the outside doors of the school had been locked, as part of a new security system that had just been introduced to "ensure student safety".

    The staff meeting, that included the principal Dawn Hochsprung, her vice-principal and the school psychologist, began. There was plenty to talk about, judging from Hochsprung's Twitter feed. Fourth-graders were in final rehearsals for their winter concert; teachers were introducing a range of education apps for classroom iPads; there were new non-fiction books to be chosen.

    Then five minutes into the discussions a loud "pop, pop, pop" noise was heard in the hallway right outside the meeting room. The two principals immediately stood up and rushed out into the hall to find out what was happening, accompanied by the psychologist.

    According to one of the other participants in that meeting, who talked to, only the vice-principal came back, bleeding from a gunshot wound in her foot. The principal and psychologist were later seen lying in the bloody hallway.

    Within seconds, 911 calls flooded into the police dispatchers in Newtown, a serene New England community of about 25,000 located 60 miles north-east of New York City. A masked gunman was inside, the police were told, brandishing a semi-automatic rifle and a pistol targeted at some of the school's 600 four- to 10-year-olds.

    The community instantly went into the kind of emergency response now familiar from similar tragedies that have become etched in America's national memory: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, the list grows. But this kind of thing was never meant to happen here, not in sleepy Newtown.

    "We always thought this was the safest place in America," said Stephen Delgiadice, whose eight-year-old daughter was in class when the shooting started but got out unharmed. He raced to the school as soon as he heard the breaking news to find out if his child was safe. He described the moment he was reunited with her. "I saw her, and it was the happiest moment of my life," he said.

    Sandy Hook school was put into lockdown, as were all other schools in the region, and Swat teams rushed to the scene. Initial reports suggested two gunmen might have been involved, and armed police were sent to scour through the woods at the back of the school, though the idea of a second gunman faded as the day progressed.

    Inside the school, the masked gunman, reportedly wearing a bullet-proof vest and dressed in black, was busily at work. One witness said they heard "at least a hundred rounds" being fired from the weapons he wielded, including Glock and Sig Sauer handguns recovered later at the scene.

    Amid the carnage that was enfolding, there was yelling in the corridors as children ran in all directions. Brenda Lebinski, the mother of an eight-year-old girl at the school, said that when the shooting started her daughter's teacher marshalled all her class into a closet.

    "My daughter's teacher is my hero, she locked all the kids in a closet and that saved their lives," Lebinski told Newtown Patch.

    A nine-year-old boy told local reporters how he had been in the school gym when the horror began. "We heard lots of bangs, and we thought it was the custodian knocking things down," the boy said. "We heard screaming, then the police came in and said 'Is he here?'

    "The teachers yelled at us, 'Get into the closet,' and we sat in there for a little while. Then the police knocked on the door and said, 'We're evacuating, we're evacuating, this way, this way.'"

    Another girl, aged eight, hid with her teacher in a bathroom. The teacher tried to comfort the child by telling her the noise was nothing to worry about; that it was just the sound of builders hammering.

    Alexis Wasik described the fear that engulfed her in terms that only an eight-year-old could. "It was really frightening. Some people felt they had a stomach ache," she said.

    When Swat teams arrived at the school by 9.45am they entered the building and began an "active shooter search", checking every door and every crack of the school in the race against the clock to stop the gunman and contain the body count.

    Police began ushering pupils out of the school, long lines of children snaking into the daylight, their brightly coloured jeans and T-shirts looking far too cheery for the circumstances. They were taken to the voluntary fire station adjacent to the school, where hundreds of anxious parents began to arrive, having been by alerted by automatic robocall. They filed into the fire house, some to experience the ecstatic relief of reunion, others to have their lives forever shattered in a moment by the worst news a parent can be told.

    Within the hour, it was announced that the gunman was dead, his corpse left inside the school awaiting forensic investigations. The public was no longer in danger, said Lt Paul Vance of the state police. But though the gunman's business was over, the pain and the terror he left behind had only just begun to be felt across America. A dawning awareness rippled out from Sandy Hook elementary that a catastrophe of unimaginable brutality and on an historic scale had taken place there.

    At first it was thought just the gunman had died, then details emerged that there had been injuries, then reports of a couple of adults had died, then the first heartrending mention of children who had perished, then the chilling citing of statistics that in turn rose in spluttering bursts to a numbing 27 dead including 20 children.

    As the world's media began to congregate in this previously news-less town, reporters could see parents running down the lane that leads away from the school, clutching their children in their arms. One mother screamed out as she ran the words everyone was thinking: "Why? Why? Why
Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut school leaves 28 dead – updates

Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut school leaves 28 dead – updates

• This blog has ended. Coverage continues here
• Officials confirm 28 deaths including 20 children
• Police say perpetrator died inside elementary school
• Emotional Obama says: 'Our hearts are broken today'
• Police say they have 'tentative' ID of gunman

Parents walk away from Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, following a shooting there.Parents walk away from Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, following a shooting there. Photograph: Frank Becerra Jr./AP

Police and emergency services are responding to a shooting incident at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The school, Sandy Hook elementary, has been evacuated and it remains unclear how many casualties there are, or whether children are among them. State police are due to host a news conference on the incident shortly, and we will be covering that event live.

Here's what we know so far:

• State police were called to the scene of a shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school at about 9.40am.

• Witnesses report hearing multiple shots.

• Three victims were transported to Danbury Hospital, a hospital spokesperson said.

• FBI agents, SWAT teams and state and local police responded to the scene. A large number of parents arrived soon after a call went out informing them of the incident.

Details still unconfirmed:

• The number of victims and nature of injuries is unknown. 

• It is unknown whether students were among the victims. 

• The identity of the shooter or shooters is also unknown.

Updated  at 12.18pm ET

Sandy Hook elementary school has students from kindergarten through fourth grade. Newtown, Connecticut, a town of about 30,000 people off Interstate 84, is about 60 miles north of New York City.

Newtown, Connecticut, is about 60 miles north of New York City.Newtown, Connecticut, is about 60 miles north of New York City. Photograph: Google

A news conference is in progress at Danbury Hospital, near Newtown.John Murray, the hospital president, is speaking.

"We have received three victims," he says. "The emergency department is under lockdown" to allow emergency crews to focus, he says.

Dr Patrick Broderick calls it a "terrible, terrible tragedy." He says the three patients have been treated.

"In deference to the needs and respect of those patients and their families," he says no further information is available.

"Due to cautious control of the environment, we have put the emergency room on lockdown status," he adds.

Updated  at 12.42pm ET

President Obama receiving updates about shooting

White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Obama has been informed about the shooting and is getting regular updates.

NBC News quotes two officials, federal and state, saying that "many children" at the school were shot.

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy is on the scene at Sandy Hook elementary school.

Gov. Malloy just concluded a conference call w/ federal officials offering to provide any assistance the state needs.#Newtown

Updated  at 12.47pm ET

In these situations, it's always hard to get an accurate picture of thenumber of casualties. What's clear in this case is that the figure is high.

CBS News reports 27 people dead at the scene, including 14 children.

ABC News is reporting that at least a dozen people, including children, were killed in Sandy Hook school shooting.

CNN is reporting its sources as saying "close to 20" killed at the school

The Hartford Courant reports that at least 20 people were shot and multiple victims were killed at the school.

The number of deaths in the 1999 Columbine shooting was 13. In 2007, 32 people died in the the Virginia Tech shooting.

Updated  at 1.34pm ET

27 killed including 18 children – AP

The Associated Press reports 27 dead, including 18 children.

BREAKING: Official with knowledge of Conn. school shooting: 27 dead, including 18 children

State police have announced a news conference to begin shortly.

Police patrol the streets outside Sandy Hook Elementary School after a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012.Police patrol the streets outside Sandy Hook Elementary School after a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012. Photograph: ADREES LATIF/REUTERS

The governor has spoken with the president.

Gov. Malloy has spoken via telephone w/ President Obama concerning #Newtown@whitehouse

Update: the president has also spoken with FBI director Robert Mueller, ABC News reports.

Updated  at 1.27pm ET

Video from the scene.

Updated  at 1.15pm ET

An attacker in the Connecticut school shootings was a 20-year-old manwith ties to the school, the Associated Press reports:

The official said that a gun used in the attacks is a .223-caliber rifle. The official also said that New Jersey state police are searching a location in that state in connection with the shootings, said by an official in Connecticut to have left 27 dead, including 18 children.

The official in Washington spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak

White House spokesman Jay Carney said today is not the day to discussgun control.

"I think that day will come, but today's not that day, especially as we are awaiting more information about the situation," Carney told reporters at a briefing.

Carney said the the attack weighs heavily on the president:

"The president as a father and I as a father certainly...feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected. As a father, incidents like these weigh heavily on him.”

State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance is speaking.

He reports that police received a 911 call just after 9.30am. State troopers responded to the school. They entered the school and began a search for the perpetrator. "Our main objective was to evacuate... any and all students and faculty."

The school was searched and a staging area was set up.

There were "several" fatalities at the scene, both students and staff.

The gunman died inside the building. Vance says there's a great deal of search warrant activity and law enforcement activity "in and out of state."

The scene is secure.

Lt. Vance finished his briefing by saying the scene is secure. He referred to "the" shooter, not multiple shooters. He said the shooter is dead inside the building.

He said the scene is secure. Details on the victims are being withheld pending notifications of the families, he said.

Roy Occhiogrosso, an aide to governor Dan Malloy, also spoke.

The governor took a call from President Obama, he says. Occhiogrosso says more information will be made public when the families of victims are informed.

Parents of children killed in the shooting are reportedly gathering at a fire department near Sandy Hook elementary. Governor Dan Malloy has just left the fire department, local NBC News reports, crossing the street to a child care facility, the Children's Adventure Center. At a news conference 15 minutes ago a gubernatorial aide said Malloy met with parents of victims.

Emergency services, including the state department of children and families and the department of public health, remain on the scene, the governor's Twitter feed said.

The Newtown Patch Facebook page, where people are leaving messages of condolence, is here.

A government-run disaster distress help line is here.

From AP, Richard Wilford, parent of a student at Sandy Hook who was not shot, said:

I could try to explain it, but I’m sure I would fail. There’s no words that I could come up with that would even come close to describing the sheer terror of hearing that your son is in a place, or your child’s in a place, where there’s been violence. You don’t know the details of that violence, you don’t know the condition of your child and you can’t do anything to immediately help them or protect them. It is a powerless and terrifying experience.

Governor Dan Malloy announces a news conference to begin in about an hour.

Gov. Malloy will hold a news conference at 3:30pm at Treadwell Park in #Newtown

CNN and NBC have separately identified the gunman Ryan Lanza, said to be in his 20s. The networks report that his mother was a teacher at the school.

New York Times reporter Clifford Levy says the gunman's mother was a teacher at Sandy Hook elementary school and that Lanza killed her too.

A body also has been found at the gunman's home, ABC News reports.

Breaking: Law enforcement official says gunman at Ct. school killed mother, who was teacher, then killed 18 children in class.

Updated  at 2.58pm ET

President Obama will deliver a statement on the shooting in about 25 minutes, at 3.15pm ET, Ewen MacAskill reports.

The Guardian's Gary Younge joins others urging a new national conversation on gun control:

[...]But it does not honour the dead to insist that there must be no room in that space for rational thought and critical appraisal. Indeed, such situations demand both. For one can only account for so many "isolated" incidents before itbecomes necessary to start dealing with a pattern.

It is simply not plausible to understand events in Connecticut this Friday without having a conversation about guns in a country where more than 84 people a day are killed with guns, and more than twice that number are injured with them.

Read the full piece here.

The Associated Press reports that a younger brother of the gunman is being held by police. No further details were reported.

3.08pm ETAmbulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.Ambulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Photograph: Jessica Hill/AP

Updated  at 3.16pm ET                                                                    

Our reporter Adam Gabbatt is at the scene in Newtown, Connecticut.

Driving into the Newtown borough of Sandy Hook it is immediately apparent that this is not a normal day.

Police and fire crews are on nearly every corner, and helicopters circle overhead. Emergency vehicles stand at road junctions, lights flashing.

The roads down to the elementary school, where at least 27 people died this morning, are closed off. A one-storey fire house close to the school is serving as a hub for emergency services, with fire trucks and police cars parked outside.

At 2.30pm the road to the fire house was blocked here and there by ambulances slowly weaving between cars. Eerily, despite so many fire trucks, ambulances and police cars here in Sandy Hook, there is no sound of blaring sirens.

The fire house, clad in white wood panelling, is where parents of children at Sandy Hook elementary school were briefed by officials on this morning's events. But this afternoon, only police officers remain.

The National Rifle Association, the influential gun lobby, has no comment on the shooting, Ewen MacAskill reports:

An NRA public affairs spokeswoman, in response to a question about the Connecticut shooting, said: “Until the facts are thoroughly known, the NRA will not be making any comment.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calls for a crackdown on guns, in a statement on the shooting reading in part:

While we don’t have all the facts and our focus must be on the victims, this is yet another senseless and horrific act of violence involving guns. We as a society must unify and once and for all crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans. Let this terrible tragedy finally be the wake-up call for aggressive action and I pledge my full support in that effort.

Gov. Malloy has ordered US and #CT flags to half-staff in honor of today's victims in #Newtown

Obama: nation must 'come together and take action'

The president, in an emotional appearance, has just delivered a statement on the Connecticut shooting.

He said the nation must "come together and take action to prevent meaningless tragedies like this."

He paused in the middle of his statement to wipe tears from his eyes as his voice broke.

Obama said that the state will have "every single resource" it needs to conduct its investigations.

"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years," he said. "And each time I hear the news, I react... as a parent. And that was especially true today.

"The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.

"They had their entire lives ahead of them. of their own.

"Among the fallen are teachers.

"Our hearts are broken today.

"Our hearts are broken for the parents of children who survived as well.

"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.

"There are families in Connecticut... they need all of us right now. That community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything I can in my power as the president to help."

Updated  at 3.27pm ET

BREAKING: Obama orders flags lowered to half-staff in mark of respect for victims of CT shootings. -SS

One question following the president's statement is what action these words may represent:

"We're going to have to come together and take action to prevent meaningless tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

BuzzFeed's Zeke Miller compiles the three occasions during the presidential campaign that Obama addressed gun violence and gun control.

At a debate with Mitt Romney, the president called for the enforcement of current laws and new measures to keep guns away from criminals:

So my belief is that, A, we have to enforce the laws we’ve already got; make sure that we’re keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, those who are mentally ill. We’ve done a much better job in terms of background checks, but we’ve got more to do when it comes to enforcement.

But I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets. And so what I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally.

Updated  at 3.32pm ET

Barack Obama wipes a tear from his eye as he speaks following the Newtown school shooting.Barack Obama wipes a tear from his eye as he speaks following the Newtown school shooting. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Police: 20 children, six adults and gunman dead

Police say 27 people were shot dead at the school and one additional adult was found dead at the gunman's family home. Two of the victims from the school, both children, died at the hospital. One person was injured.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy has just held a press briefing.

He offers thanks for offers of assistance. He says he spoke with parents of the victims and extends his condolences. "A number of our citizens, beautiful children, had their life taken away from them," Malloy says.

"The perpetrator of the crime is dead, as is an individual who the perpetrator lived with."

He thanks the president.

State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance now speaks. "I just would like to restate some of the information," he says. He says it's "an active, ongoing investigation," "and there's a lot of things we cannot confirm or discuss."

"Upon realizing the intensity and difficulty of the situation," police called for reinforcements.

There were 18 children that were pronounced dead at the school. Two children were transported and pronounced dead at the hospital. There were six adults pronounced dead at the school. In addition, the shooter was dead at the school.

That's a total of 26 victims plus the shooter at the school. In all, 20 children died.

The scene is secure. Police are "working with several agencies to process this scene."

They are working to establish identities.

Vance said police will be at the scene through the night, through the weekend and beyond. "There's a great deal of work that needs to be done here at the school."

Vance says there is a second crime scene in Newtown at which "there is an adult deceased."

"The shootings did take place in one section of the school in two rooms," he says.

The next step, he says, is for the medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death and identities of the victims.

He says one person was injured.

Everyone killed was in "that section of the building," he said.

He said police have not yet made positive identifications, although preliminary identifications have been made of the victims.

Updated  at 4.05pm ET

Lt. Paul Vance has ended his briefing.

"It's a very, very difficult scene," he said. "It's a tragedy. It's a tragic scene."

Here's the text of the president's statement at the White House this afternoon:

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 5 and 10 years old.

U.S. President Barack Obama wipes tears as he makes a statement in response to the elementary school shooting in Connecticut December 14, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC.U.S. President Barack Obama wipes tears as he makes a statement in response to the elementary school shooting in Connecticut December 14, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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

Paul Vance of the Connecticut state police said no positive identifications have been made in the shooting, including that of the gunman.

The New York Post and Fox News report that the dead gunman's name isAdam Lanza, and that his older brother, Ryan Lanza, is alive.

Here's one thing we can be sure of:

There are conflicting reports about the identity of the shooter#newtown #shooting

Updated  at 4.14pm ET

Via @KatieRogers: Gun control advocates are planning to protest at Lafayette Park outside the White House at 4:30 p.m., the Washington Post reports:

Nancy Robinson of the group Citizens for Safety says that several advocacy groups were already in D.C. for a leadership training conference when the shooting in Newtown, Conn. occurred. 

“Tell Jay Carney today IS the day to talk about gun violence,” Robinson wrote an email announcing the event. “We demand a plan to stop the slaughter of our children.”

Video of the president's White House statement is here.

Updated  at 4.29pm ET