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Police Hope to ID Victims, Shooter in Newtown Killings Saturday

Connecticut state police say an investigation is underway to piece together what motivated the gunman that killed 20 children, six adults and himself Friday morning.

 

Update 8:08 p.m.

Saying officials will identify all victims in the mass killings at a Newtown elementary school — including the shooter, who took his own life — on Sunday, state police called the day’s shocking events “heart-wrenching.”

No parents have been given access to the inside of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the bodies of 18 children, six adults and suspected gunman Adam Lanz remain, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said Friday night at a press conference. Two other children died after they were transported to a nearby hospital.

All family members of the deceased have been notified, Vance said.

A press conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Vance said.

Vance spoke in general terms of the investigation into the shooter, whom multiple media outlets have identified as Lanz, citing police sources.

“At this point we are confident that we have the shooter,” Vance said.

All of that shooter’s relatives have been identified and contacted, Vance said. Lanz’s brother had been detained earlier in the day Friday, within hours of the shooting, which started at approximately 9:40 a.m. Their mother has been confirmed among those killed, as has the school’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung.

“I think what we have got to do is … look at all the history,” Vance said of the police investigation. “We will go backwards and hopefully stumble on answers.”

Update 7:22 p.m.

Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza, whose older brother had been detained by police in New Jersey earlier Friday, has been identified as the gunman in Newtown who killed 20 children, six adults and himself, according to the Huffington Post.

Citing multiple media outlets including CNN, the Huffington Post said many media organizations had relied on inaccurate information to report the shooter as Adam Lanza’s brother earlier in the day. As reported by Patch, the brother — Ryan Lanza — now is grieving not only for his brother but also their mother, a teacher at the school who numbers among those killed.

Update 6:45 p.m.

Calling Friday morning’s fatal shootings of 27 people at a Newtown elementary school, including 20 children, “unspeakable” and “tragic,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said during a press conference moments ago that it’s too early to talk about recovery.

“What each parent, each sibling, each member of [affected families] has to understand is that in Connecticut we are all in this together to do whatever we can to overcome this event,” Malloy said. “We will get through it.”

Update 5:11 p.m.

State police confirmed that one person was responsible for the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults, saying the gunman has been tentatively identified but declining to identify the shooter.

“We will identify the shooter at an appropriate time,” Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said during a 5 p.m. press conference Friday. “Just for our investigatory purposes it’s not appropriate right now.”

“We will leave no stone unturned as we are looking at every facet of this investigation,” Vance said, adding that police would hold another briefing around 6 p.m.

Vance confirmed that local, state and federal officials responded to the shocking incident in this normally peaceful southwestern Connecticut town, including an FBI crisis team. Counseling has been made available not only to affected families but also to first responders on scene.

“We provided counseling for the first responders, because this was a very tragic, horrific scene that we encountered,” Vance said.

The gunman shot and killed himself, Vance said.

Update: 3:50 p.m.

The actions of one gunman — 27 lives lost. 

"This is an active ongoing investigation" Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said at an afternoon press conference Friday, updating the assembled media about the state of the investigation into the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Vance confirmed the death toll: 20 children, 6 adults, including the shooter, and one adult victim at a "secondary scene" in Connecticut.

But in response to multiple questions from press, Vance said at one point: "There are a lot of things we cannot confirm."

He did offer the beginning of a basic timeline, saying the first call came in at around 9:30 a.m.

"Officers immediately entered the school to search for students, faculty and staff and remove them," he said. "They did search every nook and cranny...Those who were rescued were taken to a staging area."

The school is now secure. Two rooms of the school appeared to be the gunman's focus. 

"It is not a simplistic scene," Vance said. "We will be here through the night and through the weekend. We are not putting a time stamp on this process."

The secondary local crime scene may well be this investigation in the Sandy Hook section, the only other known center of police investigation in Newtown right now.

Vance is expected to give another update in about an hour.

Update, 3:20 p.m.

Patch exclusive: The man identified in media reports Friday as the shooter in the deadliest school shooting in American history has told friends that he thinks his developmentally disabled brother may have committed the crime, Patch has learned.

A close friend of Ryan Lanza who would not be identified told Patch that he spoke to Lanza as Lanza made his way home from work to Hoboken. Lanza also took to his Facebook page to rail against CNN naming him as the suspect in the shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

“I’m on the bus home now, it wasn’t me,” Lanza wrote.

Lanza’s mother, Nancy, a school teacher, is believed to be among the dead. More than 30 individuals, including 18 students, are believed to have died in the mass shooting.

Patch was among the media outlets to highlight and link to reports naming Lanza as the alleged shooter. Police haven't yet officially confirmed the identity of the gunman.

Updated 3:18 p.m.

Gov. Dannel Malloy is scheduled to hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Malloy, who met with parents, has received an offer of federal assistance from President Obama.

The gunman apparently went to his family’s Hoboken, NJ home before heading to Newtown, CT where he fatally shot his mother in her kindergarten classroom of Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to NBC.

Original story:

Citing sources, the Associated Press is reporting the gunman who rampaged through the Sandy Hook Elementary School was armed with four guns including a high-powered rifle and is believed to have shot and killed up to 30 people including 18 children. The death toll could rise. 

Investigators have identified the gunman “as a man in his 20s from Connecticut and they are searching his father’s home in New Jersey,” according to WABC Channel 7. The hometown was not immediately identified. According to Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said the gunman was found dead inside the school.

Friday afternoon distraught parents continued to wait to be reunited with their children. After meeting with parents of the students, Gov. Dannel Malloy is now at the school. Authorities said much information will not be released until the relatives of the victims are notified.

Channel 7 also is reporting the President Obama has telephone Malloy to express condolences and to offer any federal assistance needed in the investigation of the shooting that was first reported to Newtown Police just before 9:30 a.m. Friday.

A fourth-grade student at Sandy Hook Elementary School said  he and his classmates were “locked in a closet in the gym” to escape the gunman. In an interview with Channel 7, the student said, “the police came  and …. We ran to the firehouse.”

Updated 1:25 p.m.

Press conference is still at least an hour away, an official just told Patch.

Updated 1:20 p.m.

The community is in "sheer shock." Read our interviews with Newtown residents as they try to make sense of the violence.

Updated 1:00 p.m.

Citing an anonymous official "with knowledge" the Associated Press is reporting 27 people dead including 18 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The shooter is believed to be a single adult and is now dead.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is in Newtown and a press conference set for 1 p.m. but hasn't yet begun. Patch is there. 

Original Story

Officials in Newtown say they're trying to reunite parents with their children in the wake of a shocking multiple shooting at an elementary school in the town’s Sandy Hook neighborhood.

First Selectman Pat Llodra told Patch that there is no information being released about the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting — only confirming that there was a shooting.

"I'm horrified, saddened and shocked that this happened in Newtown," Llodra said. "Our priorities right now are making sure everyone safe and reuniting parents with their children."

A reverse 911 call went out to all Newtown public school parents, NBC is reporting. Parents are converging all around the school seeking information about their children.

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.

Lebinski said that she had spoken to her daughter's teacher as well as a volunteer who was in the school at the time of the shooting, and that a masked gunman had shot adults in the school.

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

According to Lebinski, the school had been on lockdown but police started leading out children and faculty members by class, and several children had blood on their clothing as they were led out. It isn't clear how many kids are still inside the school. Parents continue to surround the area, seeking news of their children.

Christine Wilford, a parent of a seven-year-old boy at the school, told Patch that her son was out of the school and safe with her husband. A woman standing next to Wilford burst into tears, saying her own son was still inside.

Danbury Hospital has confirmed to TV reporters that three patients have been transported by ambulance.

The Hartford Courant is reporting multiple injured parties, saying a shooter had been in the building’s main office and an individual in one area had “numerous gunshot wounds,” police said.

State police reported shortly after 12 p.m. that officials from the state Medical Examiner's Office were en route to the scene.

At a fire station near the school that's serving as a staging area, a woman was being wheeled on a gurney as a helicopter circled overhead and armed officials from multiple state and federal agencies moved beyond a cordoned-off area swarmed by parents. Dozens of parents could be seen walking to the school as motor vehicle traffic snarled the area of Dickinson Drive.

Marilyn Gudsnuk, 52, of nearby Southbury said she heard 10 to 12 gunshots around 9:40 a.m. Gudsnuk, who attended the elementary school herself as a childhood, said she is taking care of a 91-year-old resident who lives across the street from the school.

"I took off running into the house," she said. "I didn't know what was happening. It was scary."

Asked whether she imagined a shooting could happen at her former school, Gudsnuk said, "Never in a million years."

"I just pray for these people," she said. "The anguish they are goin gthrough. And all because someone's not right in the head."

One man who identified himself as a cable worker and declined to give his name, told Patch that he was up on a utility pole at the time of the shooting. When he heard shots, the man said he thought they it was hunters, but then in a few minutes emergency response vehicles sped beneath his ladder.

Newtown Patch will post more information here as it becomes available.

Claire Moses contributed this report.

Chow mein December 15, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Now comes the mindless hysteria of trying to prevent anybody killing anybody else. Gee, was this just invented, or did Cain kill Abel?
Yosif December 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM
This is tragedy. I'am afraid that now people will turn this into politics but the bottom line is that 20 children and 6 teachers died I don't know what but something needs to be done :(
RH December 17, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I tend to agree with Pro-Life here. Now is exactly the time to think politically. If we wait, we run the risk of becoming passive... And passivity is what has allowed many of these tragedies to occur. Unfortunately, we usually don't take action until things become bad. Well, things are pretty bad. To put off conversations pertaining to gun control, mental illness, etc., until it is more "socially acceptable" would be a direct affront to the victims and their loved ones. In their memory and honor, we need to start tackling these issues immediately. Frankly, we've waited long enough. As long as these political conversations occur in the proper venues, I do not believe that taking meaningful action to address these problems in any way disrespects the Sandy Hook children and teachers or their families and friends. What it does do is to show that we have learned from the past and to prove that they haven't suffered in vain... as historically has been the case in so many other similar circumstances.
RH December 17, 2012 at 03:05 AM
In addition, I believe that it's also important to implement lasting and permanent changes with regard to securing our schools. Are Governor Malloy, the police, and school officials looking into incorporating enhanced security features into the school buildings throughout town and the state at large? I worry that, in the weeks ahead, we will let down our guard and not take meaningful and effective steps to protect our children better. I don't believe that our school buildings are nearly as secure as they should be. I hope that I'm not alone in thinking that something more needs to be done -- more security precautions must be taken. And all reasonable options should be considered... despite any potential cost. The cost of doing nothing may prove to be much greater.
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