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[UPDATED] Shooting at Elementary School in Newtown—AP Reports 27 Killed, Gunman Dead

The unfolding story of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School that happened Friday morning.

 

Update 6:15 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.

"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.

Police Still Aren't Releasing the Identity of the Shooter 

Patch exclusive: The man identified in media reports Friday as the shooter 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. 

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

The President Responds

President Barack Obama delivered an emotional speech in response to the news of the tragic mass shooting today in Newtown.

"I react not just as a President but as a parent," President Barack Obama said, wiping away tears. "Our hearts are broken today, for the parents, the grandparents, sisters and brothers of those little children." 

"As a country we have been through this too many times. These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children," he said. He added that the country would have to put politics aside and take more action to try to prevent such tragedies in the future but for now, he said, all his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.   

“Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early,” Obama said.

Saying that parents across the United States will hug their children a little tighter Friday night after the morning’s shocking shooting deaths of elementary school kids in Newtown, President Barack Obama told the nation that it must “come together.”

Earlier Reports

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.

The gunman delilberately went to Sandy Hook Elementary School with the intention of killing his mother who was a kindergarten teacher at the school, according to NBC Channel 4.

It is believed the shooting began near the principal’s office before the gunman went to his mother’s kindergarten classroom and killed her and her students, according to the report.

Gov. Dannel Malloy who is at the scene 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 president has ordered the flags to fly at half-staff in memory of the victims. 

Updated 1:25 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. The community is in "sheer shock." Read our interviews with Newtown residents as they try to make sense of the violence.

Patch is on the scene. A press conference originally scheduled for 1 p.m. is still at least an hour away. We'll bring you updates as soon as possible.

Original Story

Officials in Newtown say they're trying to reunite parents with their children in the wake of a shocking reported 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 teach 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 7-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.

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.

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.

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