Articles on this Page
- 12/15/12--06:33: _Police to Release N...
- 12/14/12--13:11: _Nearby Towns Placed...
- 12/15/12--11:14: _School to Resume at...
- 12/15/12--15:00: _Responding Officer:...
- 12/15/12--13:33: _Shooter’s Mother Wa...
- 12/15/12--14:39: _How to Help Victims...
- 12/15/12--15:00: _Amid Tragedy, Stori...
- 12/15/12--15:14: _Sandy Hook Principa...
- 12/15/12--15:38: _Investigators Find ...
- 12/15/12--15:42: _Mystery Shooter: Li...
- 12/15/12--12:08: _"These Were Little ...
- 12/15/12--12:29: _Rousseau: Loved Tea...
- 12/15/12--14:15: _Names of Newtown Sc...
- 12/15/12--13:46: _Anne Marie Murphy: ...
- 12/15/12--16:00: _Governor: What’s Im...
- 12/15/12--15:11: _Gunman's Aunt "Baff...
- 12/15/12--15:18: _Victoria Soto: Self...
- 12/15/12--16:34: _"We Are In a State ...
- 12/15/12--18:16: _Newtown Teacher: I ...
- 12/15/12--21:32: _Dad of Victim, 6: S...
- 12/15/12--06:33: Police to Release Names of Victims
- 12/14/12--13:11: Nearby Towns Placed Schools in Lockdown
- 12/15/12--11:14: School to Resume at Temporary Locations
- 12/15/12--15:00: Responding Officer: "I Got Bodies Here"
- 12/15/12--13:33: Shooter’s Mother Was Not on Staff at Sandy Hook: Supt.
- 12/15/12--14:39: How to Help Victims of Newtown School Shooting
- 12/15/12--15:00: Amid Tragedy, Stories of Heroism Emerge
- 12/15/12--15:14: Sandy Hook Principal Remembered for Dedication
- 12/15/12--15:42: Mystery Shooter: Little Known About Adam Lanza
- 12/15/12--12:08: "These Were Little Kids": Newtown School Superintendent
- 12/15/12--12:29: Rousseau: Loved Teaching
- 12/15/12--14:15: Names of Newtown School Shooting Victims Released
- 12/15/12--13:46: Anne Marie Murphy: Died Shielding Students
- 12/15/12--16:00: Governor: What’s Important Now Is Love, Courage, Compassion
- 12/15/12--15:11: Gunman's Aunt "Baffled," Says He Was Raised by Good Parents
- 12/15/12--15:18: Victoria Soto: Selfless
- 12/15/12--16:34: "We Are In a State of Disbelief": Shooter's Father
- 12/15/12--18:16: Newtown Teacher: I Hid Kids in Coat Closet
- 12/15/12--21:32: Dad of Victim, 6: She Made World a Better Place
Connecticut authorities were preparing to release the names of the 20 children and six adults killed when a gunman unleashed the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Police said all of the victims have been identified, their parents and family notified, and their bodies have been removed from the school, NBC 4 New York reported Saturday. Connecticut state police plan to hold a news conference this morning, where they are expected to release the victims' names.
Twoof those victims is school principal, Dawn Hochsprung, 47, NBC News has confirmed. She was married and had five children of her own.
School psychologist Mary Sherlach was also killed. Sherlach is survived by her husband of 31 years, Bill, and her 25- and 28-year-old daughters.
Hundreds of mourners gathered in Newtown —a town of 28,000 people 60 miles north of New York City— Friday night to remember the students and teachers lost in the tragedy. So many people had shown up for a vigil at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church that dozens, unable to get in, watched the service through open windows and doorways.
“I think about these children … and I know we have 20 new saints, 20 new angels,” Monsignor Robert Weiss told the standing-room-only crowd. “But that doesn’t take away the pain. It doesn’t take away the hurt. But it does bring us closer together.”
Earlier in the morning, 20-year-old Adam Lanza (pictured below) had stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire. Newtown Police Lt. George Sinko said on NBC's "Today" show it appeared Lanza shot his way into the school by shattering glass by the front door.
By the time his shooting rampage had ended, 20 small children and six adults had been killed. He, too, was found dead at the scene. A woman believed to be his mother was also found shot dead in a Newtown home. School's superintendent Dr. Janet Robinson told "Today" that there was no Nancy Lanza in their database. She may have been a substitute teacher, but it was unclear.
Investigators spent hours questioning Lanza's 24-year-old brother Ryan, who told them that Adam had a history of mental health issues and that they had not spoken in two years, NBC News reported.
It was the second-deadliest school shooting in American history, second only to the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting that killed 32.
President Obama, addressing the nation for the second time, said Satuday that in his weekly radio and Internet address that "every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt."
On Friday, Obama teared up as he talked about the young victims.
“The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," he said at a news conference. "They had their entire lives ahead of them. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.
"So our hearts are broken for them today."
Two 9mm handguns recovered at scene—a Glock and a Sig Sauer—were legally purchased and registered to the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza.
“We have a mountain of evidence, both physical and forensic,” Lt. Sinko said on "Today." “Obviously we’re not going to leave any stone unturned.”
Students and parents described a scene of terror when the shots rang out early Friday morning. Witnesses said the attack occurred during morning announcements.
The brother of one student said his sister had heard screams coming over the intercom.
“When they were leaving the room … (state police) were telling the students to hold hands and close their eyes until they were outside,” he said.
Back at the vigil, mourners wrote messages on three easels erected at the entrance to the church.
"May God look after and take care of your little angels," one wrote. "We are so so sorry for your loss. God bless your families. His strength will guide you."
Another wrote: "Sleep in heavenly peace."
Becky Mantone, who drove three of her daughters from nearby Fairfield to the vigil, said she didn't know anyone directly impacted by the attack, but felt compelled to take part so they could provide some small bit of comfort to their neighbors.
"We wanted to give our support to this town," Mantone said while she and her daughters stood in a circle, cradling lit candles outside the church. "I hope people would help our town if God forbid something happened to us."
As the investigation continues, officers have been assigned to the parents so the information is communicated directly to them, according to state police.
Photo Credit: AP
Men and women hold candles in vigil outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church during a healing service held in for victims of thel shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School forced schools in other surrounding towns to lock down Friday.
Schools in Bethel were in lockdown for part of the day, according to officials there. Region 15 Schools were locked down as well, school officials said.
In Monroe, schools were in a modified lockdown, which meant students could move from classroom to classroom, but no one was allowed in or out of the schools.
Students in Watertown were in a similar situation. Schools there were placed in a lock-in situation, according to officials. Students were able to move freely within the school buildings, but no one was being let in or out.
Danbury mayor Mark Boughton said police increased security around city schools, but no schools have were placed into lockdown.
Police block off a road behind the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday morning.
When students from Sandy Hook Elementary School return to school, they will be at temporary locations, but with their same teacher, NBC Connecticut’s Jo Ling Kent has learned.
Twenty children, six adults and the shooter died in the mass shooting at the school.
Among the dead are the school principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach.
Hochsprung as married and had five children of her own.
Sherlach is survived by her husband of 31 years, Bill, and her 25- and 28-year-old daughters.
Supt. Janet Robinson, who has not been inside the school, said she plans to get students back in school soon.
The shooter, who authorities identified as Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother, Nancy Lanza at a Newtown home, according to authorities.
When school will resume is not yet known.
Photo Credit: AP
A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
Recordings of police scanner activity in the minutes after 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza's rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School show how police handled the gruesome scene, where 20 children and six adults were killed.
It didn't take long for officers to realize the situation's gravity, which an officer at one point described as "the event."
"I need units in the school," the officer said in a tense voice. "I got bodies here. Get ambulances."
Over the next 90 minutes, police rushed children to safety, interviewed witnesses and began to piece together the details of the Newtown tragedy.
The first scanner activity was at about 9:36 a.m., when officers first arrived at the school. They found broken glass by the front door -- officials now say Lanza broke a window to get past the locked front door.
"The individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire," a dispatcher tells officers.
One minute later, an officer says that all shooting appears to have stopped, and that the school is on lockdown.
According to the dispatcher, a teacher told police he saw two shadows running past the gym towards the back of the school -- which could explain early reports that police were searching for a second shooter.
At 9:43 a.m., an officer requests two ambulances.
"We have one fatal in a room, and one who has received a gunshot wound in the foot," an officer says.
Three minutes later, an officer asked for even more ambulances. By 9:53 a.m., an officer said that a suspect was down.
"The building has not been cleared," he said. "We need a couple more cars up at the scene."
Four minutes later, an officer tells others to bring injured children to the base of the school.
"Roger, 9-8, extricating the people out of the school," an officer responded.
Officers described finding multiple weapons -- a shotgun and a rifle -- as they continued to search the school.
By 11:03, officers said the school had been evacuated and was secure, and focused on interviewing children and teachers to find out exactly what happened.
"I'm with a parent here who has the children who were in the classroom during the event," an officer said. "I'm trying to get an account (from) them right now."
Photo Credit: AP
Law enforcement canvass an area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
It does not appear that Nancy Lanza, mother of the apparent shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, was a staff member at the school, despite earlier reports.
Newtown Supt. Janet Robinson told NBC Connecticut’s Jo Ling Kent on Saturday that there is no record of Lanza in the school database.
"Mrs. Lanza, who I have never met, was not a teacher in the district," Robinson said. "She's not in our database as a staff member."
She might have been a substitute teacher or volunteer at the school, but that is not clear.
Federal authorities have identified Adam Lanza, 20, as the man who shot and killed 20 school children, six adults, and himself.
The guns recovered at the scene, a Glock and a Sig Sauer, were legally registered to Nancy Lanza.
A woman, believed to be Lanza's mother, was found shot dead insider a Newtown home.
This photo was taken of Nancy Lanza during the summer of 2012. Her sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., provided the photo from Lanza's Facebook page.
People across the world are in disbelief after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday and many are wondering what they can do to help.
“United Way extends our most sincere condolences and prayers to all those families affected by the devastating events in Newtown/Sandy Hook, Connecticut. While the eyes of the world may be on Newtown/Sandy Hook, to several staff, volunteers and contributors, Newtown is home. We will stand with the community and everyone affected directly and indirectly by this tragic event as we face the days and weeks ahead,” the United Way of Western Connecticut’s Web site says.
Check donations may be mailed to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470
You can drop a donation off at any Newtown Savings Bank branch location.
Or you can donate by credit card online.
For questions, call 800-461-0672
Any donations made to Newtown Youth and Family will be donated directly to those effected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Donations can be sent directly to Newtown Youth and Family Services via Caroline's Gift at the link here. Donations made for the next month will go to the victims.
New Horizons Living Center, Inc., is holding fundraisers at three local grocery stores on Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 7p.m.. at Stop and Shop, 597 Farmington Ave. in Bristol; Adams IGA, 200 Leavenworth Road in Shelton; A&P, 1201 High Ridge Road in Stamford. All proceeds raised during these fundraisers will go directly to benefit the families affected by the tragic school shooting.
There is a national effort to collect teddy bears to go to grieving students in Newtown and the Hersam Acorn and the Fairfield Sun will be taking donations.
You can drop off bears at Hersam Acorn’s office, 1000 Bridgeport Ave., second floor in Shelton starting Monday, Dec. 17.
If you are connected to a business or organization and want to hold a connection, e-mail John Kovach at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bear donations will be taken until Friday, Dec. 28.
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
A man hangs a sign on the front of his home near Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec.15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.
With bursts of gunfire ringing out in the hallway, Kaitlin Roig, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, huddled in a cramped bathroom with her 15 first-grade students, trying to assure them that everything would be alright -- even though she didn't believe it.
"I'm thinking, 'We're next,'" Roig told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an emotional interview. "And I'm thinking, as a 6-year-old, 7-year-old, what are your thoughts? I'm thinking I almost have to be their parent.
"So I said to them, I need you to know that I love you all very much, and it's going to be OK, because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear. I thought they were all going to die. I wanted them to know someone loved them, and I wanted that to be one of the last things they heard, not gunfire in the hallway."
Moments earlier, when a gunman identified to NBC News as 20-year-old Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and began his shooting spree, killing 20 children and six adults, Roig rushed her students from the classroom to a bathroom, then barricaded the door with a bookshelf.
She was eventually rescued by police.
Roig's story is one of a handful of heroism amid tragedy that are sure to emerge over the coming days. Several of the victims died trying to save lives, according to reports.
The school's principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach were in a meeting with a parent, other staff members and school therapist Diane Day when the shooting started, Day told The Wall Street Journal. While most people dove under desks, Hochsprung and Sherlach rushed to see if they could help and ran toward the shooter, Supt. Janet Robinson said.
"They didn't think twice about confronting or seeing what was going on," Day told the Journal.
Both were killed.
Another teacher pressed her body against to door to keep Lanza out -- and was shot twice in the process, Day said.
"She was our hero," Day told the Journal.
Bill Vollmer said he considers his wife, Janet, a kindergarten teacher, a hero. She was not injured, but is devastated, he said.
"She locked the doors, pulled the blinds, put paper over the window on the door and sat the kids in a cubby and read to them and tried to distract them from what was really happening," Bill Volmer said.
One teacher helped students get out through a window, Robinson said, and one hid the students in the kiln room as the shooter made his way through the school.
"The teachers were really, really focused on saving the students," Robinson.
Photo Credit: AP
Ambulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Sandy Hook Elementary principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung is being remembered as an energetic and dedicated educator.
Upon hearing gunfire at the school during Friday morning’s shooting, Hochsprung, 47, along with the school’s psychologist, Mary Sherlach, ran toward the barrage of bullets to protect students, NBC's "Today" show reported.
Adam Lanza, 20, the alleged shooter, entered the school that Friday morning, and by the time his shooting rampage ended, 20 small children and six adults had been killed. Hochsprung was one of the victims, NBC News has confirmed.
Diane Day, a therapist at the school, was with Hochsprung, Sherlach, a parent and other staff members at a meeting when she heard gunshots, according to The Wall Street Journal. Then Hochsprung and Sherlach rushed from their seats and ran out to help, Day told the Journal. "They didn't think twice about confronting or seeing what was going on," she said.
“She’s a hero today,” Gerald Stomski, First Selectman of Woodbury, Conn., who knew Hochsprung, said on "Today."
Hochsprung’s Twitter page showed how proud she was of her school and her students and how passionate she was about the importance of education. Around the start of the school year, on August 24, she Tweeted, “Welcoming our Kinders this morning… 74 new opportunities to inspire lifelong learning!”
Mark D. Boughton, mayor of Danbury, Conn., who had worked with Hochsprung in the past, said on "Today" that she was "a ball of fire, a ball of energy.”
Hochsprung had been principal at Sandy Hook Elementary since July 2010. She took on that position with 12 years of administrative experience behind her—six of which were served as assistant principal within the Danbury Public School System; five years at Rogers Park Middle School; and one year at Danbury High School, according to The Newton Bee.
Hochsprung was married with two daughters and three stepdaughters, according to the Bee.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
This July 2010 photo provided by The Newtown Bee shows Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn.
State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance told reporters Saturday that investigators have uncovered "very good evidence" at the two crime scenes "as to how, and more importantly why, this occurred."
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance addresses a press conference on the situation following an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 15, 2012.
A day after a deadly shooting rampage devastated the small town of Newtown, Conn., leaving 20 children and eight adults dead, a profile emerged of the shooter: A bright but awkward loner with few friends.
Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old man from Newtown identified by authorities as the shooter, has little digital footprint. He had no public Facebook page or Twitter account. Former classmates at Newtown High School remembered him, but didn't remember a whole lot about him.
"I never saw him with anyone," former Newtown High classmate Olivia DeVivo told The New York Times. "I can’t even think of one person that was associated with him.”
On Friday, Lanza arrived at Sandy Hook Elementary at about 9:30 a.m. and forced his way past the school's locked front door, shattering a window in the process. He was dressed entirely in black, sources told NBC News, and carrying four guns -- a 9mm Glock, a 9mm Sig Sauer and two others. He also had an assault-style rifle in his car, but did not bring it into the school.
Officials believe he may have tried to buy weapons or ammunition at a local sporting goods store earlier in the week, and are looking at all gun dealers in the area too see if they had any contact with him.
“We’ve been doing everything we need to do to peel back the onion, layer by layer, and get more information,” Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said.
Friends and neighbors described the Lanza family as warm and nurturing. His mother, who was shot in her Newtown home by her son Friday, would do anything for her children, friends said.
But descriptions of Adam Lanza were less consistent.
His brother Ryan told police he may have a personality disorder. A former classmate said he was awkward in school -- he wasn't very social, and kept his distance from other students.
"Overall, I would just call him a socially awkward kid, I don’t know, shy and quiet," Beth Israel, who lived on the same street as Lanza, told The Washington Post. "Didn’t really look you in the eye. Just kind of a weird kid, maybe."
Some classmates said he was extremely bright.
“We would hang out, and he was a good kid,” Joshua Milas, who had not seen Lanza in a few years, told The Associated Press. “He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius.”
His aunt, Marsha Lanza, described Adam as a computer geek.
"He was a very bright boy, very, very smart," said Marsha Lanza, who hadn't seen Adam since he was three years old. "Why these kids? Why these innocent little children? That just still baffles me."
An emotional Newtown School Superintendent Janet Robinson talked with NBC Connecticut about the impact the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has had on her community.
Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
Lauren Rousseau had only been a full-time substitute teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School for about three months when a gunman went through the school, killing 20 elementary school students and six staff members on Friday.
NBC Connecticut spoke with Rousseau's family, who confirmed that she died at the school.
The 30-year-old Danbury woman loved teaching, according to her family.
The Danbury News Times reports that Rousseau went to the University of Connecticut, then earned a master's degree from the University of Bridgeport.
The names of the 26 victims gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Friday were released Saturday afternoon.
Most of the 20 children killed in the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history were first-graders, the state's chief medical examiner said. All had died of multiple gunshots wounds, and the seven he personally examined had been hit with between three and 11 bullets a piece.
"I’ve been at this for a third of the century," Dr. H. Wayne Carver said, "and ... this is probably the worst that I have seen or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues having seen.”
The medical examiners' office provided photos of the victims to families, rather than having families come to identify the bodies in person. "It's easier on the families when you do that," Carver said.
Eighteen females and seven males were killed in the attack. Sixteen of the children were 6 years old, while four were 7.
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6
Rachel Davino, 29
Dawn Hochsprung, 47, principal
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, special education teacher
Lauren Rousseau, 30, teacher
Mary Sherlach, 56, school psychologist
Victoria Soto, 27, first grade teacher
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
The residents of an idyllic Connecticut town were reeling in horror from the massacre of 20 small children and six adults in one of the worst school shootings in US history.
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, was shielding students inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday when she was killed.
Her father, High McGowan, of Katonah, New York, told Newsday that first responders said her body was found in a classroom.
The shooter, who authorities have identified as Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 elementary students and six adults inside the school. He was found dead inside the building and one of his family members was found dead inside a house in Newtown.
Murphy, who was one of seven children, was a special education teacher at the school, according to Newsday.
"A first responder said she was a hero," High McGowan told Newsday.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
People walk on Dickson Street near the scene of an elementary school shooting on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy spoke to the people of Connecticut on Saturday night about the tragic shooting in Newtown on Saturday.
Following are the remarks, as they were prepared.
Yesterday an unspeakable tragedy occurred in the community of Newtown. 20 beautiful children and 7 wonderful adults lost their lives.
All of Connecticut’s people – indeed the people of the world – weep for the immeasurable losses suffered by the families and loved ones of these victims.
Though we could all try, when something as senseless as this occurs, there’s precious little anyone can say to the families of the victims that will lessen the horror and sense of loss they feel. We could say we feel their pain, but the truth is we can’t.
When tragedies like this occur, people often look for answers, an explanation of how this could have occurred. But the sad truth is, there are no answers. No good ones, anyway.
We have all seen tragedies like this play out in other states and countries. Each time, we wondered how something so horrific could occur, and we thanked God that it didn’t happen here in Connecticut. But now it has.
So what can we do? As was no doubt the case last night, we can hug someone we love a little tighter. As has been happening since yesterday, we can show and share with each other the grief we feel for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families and loved ones. We can speak about what’s really important, and what can wait for another day.
There will be time soon for a discussion of the public policy issues surrounding yesterday’s events, but what’s important right now is this: love, courage, and compassion.
Love, as it has poured in from around the world.
Courage, as was demonstrated by the teachers and other adults in the school building, whose actions no doubt saved lives.
Courage on display, as it always is, by all our first responders.
Compassion, as shown by people around Connecticut who’ve arrived in Newtown wanting only to help.
Too often, we focus on what divides us as people, instead of what binds us as human beings. What we saw yesterday were those bonds, that sense of community.
In the coming days, we will rely upon that which we have been taught and that which we inherently believe: that there is faith for a reason, and that faith is God’s gift to all of us.
Those educators, and those innocent little boys and girls were taken from their families far too soon. Let us all hope and pray those children are now in a place where that innocence will forever be protected.
May God bless you, may God bless those 27 people, may God bless their families and friends, and may the pain their loved ones feel be someday absorbed by the love of mankind.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 14: Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman brief the media on the elementary school shootings during a press conference at Treadwell Memorial Park on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-seven are dead, including 20 children, after a gunman identified as Adam Lanza in news reports, opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton. Lanza also reportedly died at the scene. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The aunt of the gunman who unleashed the Connecticut school shooting said she can't understand why her nephew would kill his mother along with 20 children and seven adults in the small town of Newtown, Conn.
"Why these kids? Why these innocent little kids," said 57-year-old Marsha Lanza, while talking to reporters outside her Illinois home Saturday. "That just still baffles me."
Her nephew, Adam, is the 20-year-old man identified as the shooter of a deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza, was found dead at her Newtown home.
Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, had not seen Adam since he was 3 years old. But she told NBC Chicago her husband visited him in June. She was closer with his mother, Nancy and corresponded with her regularly.
“I lost it,” she said about turning the radio on in the car so her son could hear the news. “Because at this point, what I was hearing, was that Nancy was not only gone, but P.J., we called him P.J. his name was Peter, was also gone. And that’s just…we loved them.”
She was Nancy's sister-in-law by marriage. Their husbands, Michael and Peter, are brothers. Though Nancy divorced Peter, Marsha still stayed in touch with her.
Marsha described Nancy as a good mother and kind-hearted.
"She gave more than people will ever know," she said.
Marsha sent Nancy a Facebook message Friday morning, before she found out about the shooting, and never heard back. She said there was nothing in their correspondence to indicate anything was amiss.
"She never revealed anything that was critical," Marsha said, adding that Nancy would have told her if something was wrong.
As for insight about her nephew, Marsha said he was a bright boy, who was very quiet and interested in computers. She said Nancy had talked with her about home schooling Adam.
"I know she had issues with school," Marsha said of Nancy's frustration with the school her son was attending. "She eventually wound up home schooling him, because she battled with the school district, in what capacity, I'm not 100 percent certain. If it was behavior or learning disabilities, I really don't know. But he was a very, very bright boy. He was smart."
When asked about whether Adam suffered from Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, Marsha said there had been "chatter about it, but it was never confirmed." She would not answer yes or no to the question.
Marsha also had knowledge of Nancy's guns.
"I think the only reason Nancy may have had them [guns], and for the sake of many more of us in this country, is for self-defense and no other reason," she said. "They were not a violent family."
She added that Peter and Nancy would have sought help for Adam if they suspected any kind of problem.
Her husband Michael, who is in North Carolina, is said to be devastated over the news. He was the last person in their family to see Adam. Lanza said her husband did not notice anything unusual during his visit.
This photo was taken of Nancy Lanza during the summer of 2012. Her sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., provided the photo from Lanza's Facebook page.
Most who knew Victoria Soto describe her as selfless. She died protecting her students from the gunman who went on a rampage inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.
It's just the bravest thing that she can do," said Kelly Uberti, of Stratford, where Soto grew up. "That was a selfless act of love."
Soto was in her third year as a first-grade teacher and Sandy Hook. She graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University, and was currently attending Southern Connecticut State University for her Masters degree in special education, according to her school bio page.
Soto loved spending time with her siblings and was a fan of the New York Yankees, she wrote on her bio page.
Photo Credit: myschooldesk.net
Victoria Soto, 27, pictured with her dog, Roxie.
Peter Lanza, the father of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, released a statement Saturday night about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all of those who were injured. Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.
Peter Lanza, who was divorced from Nancy Lanza, one of the victims of the massacre, lives in Stamford.
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Flowers honoring the victims that died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire at an elementary school lay on a bridge near Hawley Pond, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Connie Sullivan, a teacher at Newtown Elementary School, barricaded her students in a closet to protect them from the shooter.
Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old daughter Emilie was among those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, remembers his child as a loving, creative person who used her talents to touch the lives of everyone she met.
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