(Advertisement)

Death toll rises to 28 in Connecticut school shooting

Posted: December 14, 2012 at 9:36 a.m.
Updated: December 14, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.

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

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

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

Police shed no light on the motive for the attack.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said the shooter didn’t utter a word.

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

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

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

“Everyone was just traumatized,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parent: A Powerless and Terrifying Feeling

A parent of a second grader at the Connecticut elementary school where 27 people were killed including 20 children, describes his feelings of 'sheer terror' upon hearing of the incident. (By The Associated Press)
[View Full-Size]

An emotional President Barack Obama wiped at tears as he mourned the killings of students and teachers at an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut on Friday.

Video

Obama Describes 'Overwhelming Grief'

Dozens of police officers are searching a Connecticut elementary school Friday after a deadly shooting there.

Video

Raw: Connecticut Police Search Woods After Shooting

Connecticut state police Lt. Paul Vance says that staff and students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown are among the victims of a school shooting. Vance also says the shooter was dead in the school.

Video

Police: Students, Staff Shot at Conn. School

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

(Advertisement)



« Previous Story

Police Warn Against Phone Scam

Police are warning residents about a phone scam that “promises something for nothing." Read »

Next Story »

Jones Center Receives $23 Million in Grants

The Jones Center and Jones Trust will receive $23 million in grants it was announced this morning. Read »