Search For Answers In Connecticut School Shootings
Posted at: 12/14/2012 9:47 AM
| Updated at: 12/14/2012 5:48 PM
By: RICHARD ESPOSITO, CANDACE SMITH and CHRISTINA NG, ABC News
The man suspected of gunning down more than two dozen people in a small town in Connecticut is the son of a teacher at the elementary school where the killings occurred, and his mother is presumed to be among the dead.
Police say Adam Lanza apparently drove to his mother's school carrying two handguns and a .223-caliber rifle and carried out the massacre. Law enforcement officials are trying to learn as much as possible about the 20-year-old and questioning his older brother, who is not believed to have any involvement in the rampage.
So far, authorities have not spoken publicly of any possible motive.
Several neighbors of the Lanzas in Sandy Hook, a community about 60 miles northeast of New York City, said they knew little about the family.
In addition to the casualties at the school, a dead body was also found in his home, officials said. Sources said the man was armed with four weapons and wearing a bullet-proof vest when he opened fire in the elementary school.
"The shooter is deceased inside the building," Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said at a news conference. "The public is not in danger."
Authorities initially believed that there were two gunmen and were searching cars around the school.
First grade teacher Kaitlin Roig, 29, locked her 14 students in a classroom bathroom and listened to "tons of shooting" until police came to help.
"It was horrific," Roig said. "I thought we were going to die."
She said that the terrified kids were saying, "I just want Christmas…I don't want to die. I just want to have Christmas."
The massacre prompted the town of Newtown to lock down all its schools and draw SWAT teams to the school, authorities said today.
President Obama was briefed on the shooting by FBI Director Robert Mueller.
It's unclear how many people have been shot, but 27 people, mostly children, are dead, multiple federal and state sources tell ABC News.
It is the second worst mass shooting in U.S. history, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 when 32 were killed before the shooter turned the gun on himself. Today's carnage exceeds the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in which 13 died and 24 were injured.
The Newtown shooting comes three days after masked gunman Jacob Roberts opened fire in a busy Oregon mall, killing two before turning the gun on himself.
Today's shooting occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which includes 450 students in grades K-4. The town is located about 12 miles east of Danbury.
State Police received the first 911 call at 9:41 a.m. and immediately began sending emergency units from the western part of the state. Initial 911 calls stated that multiple students were trapped in a classroom, possibly with a gunman, according to a Connecticut State Police source.
Vance said that on-duty and off-duty officers swarmed to the school and quickly checked "every door, every crack, every crevice" in the building looking for the gunman and evacuating children.
A photo from the scene shows a line of distressed children being led out of the school.
Three patients have been taken to Danbury Hospital, which is also on lockdown, according to the hospital's Facebook page.
"Out of abundance of caution and not because of any direct threat Danbury Hospital is under lockdown," the statement said. "This allows us simply to focus on the important work at hand."
Newtown Public School District secretary of superintendent Kathy June said in a statement that the district's schools were locked down because of the report of a shooting. "The district is taking preventive measures by putting all schools in lockdown until we ensure the safety of all students and staff," she said.
State police sent SWAT team units to Newtown.
All public and private schools in the town were on lockdown.
"We have increased our police presence at all Danbury Public Schools due to the events in Newtown. Pray for the victims," Newtown Mayor Boughton tweeted.
State emergency management officials said ambulances and other units were also en route and staging near the school.
A message on the school district website says that all afternoon kindergarten is cancelled today and there will be no midday bus runs.