WASHINGTON, December 14, 2012 ― Associated Press is confirming that 26 persons, including twenty young children are dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Early reports from the scene said 18 children had died; two more died at Danbury Hospital.
There were reportedly two suspects, one dead and one taken away in handcuffs, however it appears that the gunman acted alone. Early reports also had the gunman killing his mother, a teacher at the school, when in fact she was found dead in the gunman’s home.
This is the second deadliest school shooting after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which 32 were killed. Susan Candiotti of CNN, on the scene waiting for the news conference, reports that the shooter is dead in the classroom. Candiotti reports that it is a “heartbreaking scene.” The scene is chaotic, with parents, children, the FBI and ATF all on the scene along with state and local police, SWAT first responders, and medical first responders.
Among those confirmed dead are school psychologist Mary J. Sherlach, wife and mother of two daughters, ages 25 and 28. Mrs. Sherlach has been at Sandy Hook School since August of 1994.
Principal Dawn Hochsprung of Waterbury, CT was also killed in the assault. Ms. Hochsprung is survived by two daughters and three stepdaughters.
According to sources, as reported by ABC, the gunman was in his twenties and was wearing all black, including a bulletproof vest. Reports are that the man went to the school to confront his mother, a kindergarten teacher at the school. She was shot and killed.
Investigators have cordoned off a mini van, in addition to a Honda, in the school parking lot.
A young boy reports that he was in the gym when the police came in, and the teacher had the children go into the closet where they waited until the police then quickly evacuated the children to the firehouse where they saw a man on the ground, with handcuffs on, and surrounded by police.
It is being reported that two kindergartners witnessed the gunman shooting their teacher.
At the press conference, little detail was offered. Roy Occhiogrosso, from the office of Governor Malloy, said “As you can image, the Governor is horrified with what happened and he is meeting with the families right now, and his chief concern is getting the information to the families as quickly as possible.”
Lt. Paul Vance of Connecticut State Police reiterated what we know: Just after 9:30 this morning, Newton police received the call of the emergency, quickly reaching out to other police and law enforcement agencies. The Newtown police immediately entered the building to search for an active shooter and to evacuate students and faculty. The entire school was searched, students and staff put into a staging area until the students were released to their parents.
Lt. Vance says there were several fatalities at the scene, but no confirmation is being released until all families are notified. He confirmed that the shooter is deceased inside the building. Vance said that there is a great deal of background work and law enforcement activity going on in relation to the shooter.
He reiterated that the scene is secure, and many agencies are working together to answer questions as to what happened and that they will be conducting news briefings as information is available.
Communities will continue to update reports during the day.
CNN producer on the scene David Ariosto, is reporting that parents are walking around the area. There are four ambulances on scene and a number of parents are saying that they received an automated phone call saying there was a shooting, but not saying where, causing them to run to the nearest school.
Several parents have emerged from the firehouse, many inconsolable. It is a scene of shock and dismay. The parents whose children were killed are still in the firehouse with Governor O’Malley
Associated Press is confirming that the shooter is a 24-year-old man and that he was carrying a Glock Semi-Automatic, Sig Sauer pistol, and a .223 caliber rifle. The shooter has been identifed, however Communities will not, as we do not, report the name of the killer.
As more information comes available and is confirmed, we will be posting.
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