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Conn. Medical Examiner Describes Shooting Injuries

Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II, M.D. speaks to reporters during a news conference, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, the medical examiner said Saturday, and he called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Hundreds Remember Young Teacher Victoria Soto


Saturday night hundreds gathered in Stratford, Conn. to remember the young teacher who died trying to protect her first-graders in the Newtown school shooting.

Former classmates, friends and many who had never met Victoria Soto, but wanted to pay respects to the heroic teacher, lit candles and exchanged hugs at a vigil on the green in front of Stratford's Town Hall.

"We lost one of our own," one woman with ties to Stratford High School told NBC Connecticut.

Another who attended school with her remembered her as a friendly, happy person.

The Stratford High School choir sang "Days of Plenty," and other songs that brought many to tears, the Danbury News Times reported. Soto's family huddled together and her sisters cried.

Soto's sister Carlee asked the crowd, according to the paper, to "hug the people you love. You may never see them again."

When shots rang out in the Friday morning rampage, Soto rushed her students into a closet and died trying to shield them from bullets, her cousin James Wiltsie told ABC News.

"She's definitely a hero," he said. "Her life dream was to be a teacher and her instincts kicked in."

In a photograph on her school website, Soto is seen smiling with her black lab Roxie. She wrote that she loved to "spend time reading books on the beach and soaking up the sun." She was a Yankees fan and dedicated teacher. She wrote that she was looking forward to starting her third year as a full-time first grade teacher at the school and hoped for "an amazing year" with her "amazing students of room 10!"

She was one of six faculty members and 20 children fatally shot by 20-year-old Adam Lanza Friday morning in one of the most deadly school shootings in U.S. history. Lanza was found dead at the scene as well.

Photo Credit: myschooldesk.net

With the Names, Pain and Questioning


The grieving suburb of Newtown, Conn. faces another day with the biggest question—Why?—still unanswered. But they now know who is gone.

The official list of victims went up on the Connecticut State Police's website Saturday afternoon, and to see it in black and white, with so many names, and with dates of birth as late as 2006, was a stark reminder of what the town of 28,000 had lost.

The news was accompanied by a methodical account from the state's chief medical examiner of how 12 girls, eight boys and six women were gunned down with chilling efficiency—each hit at least twice—by a young man armed with a .223 Bushmaster rifle inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The killer, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who took his own life as cops closed in Friday morning, still has not been officially identified. Neither has his mother, Nancy, who was found shot to death in their home nearby. Autopsies on their bodies will be conducted last.

Lanza's father released a statement saying his remaining family was "grieving," "heartbroken" and "struggling to make sense of what has transpired."

"Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all those who were injured," Peter Lanza wrote. "We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why."

President Barack Obama will visit Sunday to try to console the town, meeting with victims' families and then speaking at an interfaith vigil. "Every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt," Obama said in his weekly radio address.

As the picture-postcard town in southwestern Connecticut struggled to find its footing, new details emerged about how the attack unfolded.

Lanza apparently shot his way into the school, shattering the front door glass around 9:30 a.m.

Morning announcements were underway, and witnesses remembered hearing screams and gunshots over the PA system.

Others recalled a custodian running down the hall, yelling that there was a gunman.

Teacher Kaitlin Roig described huddling in a 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. "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 okay, because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear."

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, schools Superintendent Janet Robinson said.

Hochsprung, 47, a mother of five who viewed her school as a model of opportunity and safety, and Sherlach, 56, who was planning her retirement, were both killed.

Another teacher pressed her body against the door to keep Lanza out—and was shot twice in the process, Day said.

Kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer recalled hearing the attack unfold over the intercom. She told CBS 2 she tried keep her 19 students calm by telling them a custodian was probably on the roof retrieving a soccer ball. Then she and her aides drew the shades and locked the classroom door.

A half hour passed, and finally police arrived to escort them out. On the way, she noticed blood on the floor. "I don't know whether any of them saw that—we kept going," Vollmer said.

Another 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.

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Police reportedly had the students hold hands and close their eyes as they were led from the building.

By 11:03 a.m., officers said the school had been evacuated and was secure. They went to the Lanza home and found the gunman's mother dead of a gunshot wound. Despite earlier reports, it did not appear she was a staff member at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Court records showed that Lanza's parents had divorced in 2008 after 17 years of marriage, according to The New York Times, which added that Peter Lanza had moved out of the family's home.

The rifle and handguns Adam Lanza carried in the attacks were reportedly owned by his mother, a firearms enthusiast. They appeared to have been purchased legally.

State Police spokesman Paul Vance said investigators had uncovered "very good evidence" that might help explain Adam Lanza's motive.

Former classmates described him as very intelligent and introverted, and quick with computers. Some have suggested that he may have suffered from a personality disorder.

He had no obvious recent ties to the school, and those who had known him as a young, awkward teenager could think of nothing that would have predicted such inexplicable rage.

“We’ve been doing everything we need to do to peel back the onion, layer by layer, and get more information,” Vance said.

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.

The state's chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver, said the case was probably the "worst that I have seen" in his more than 30 years on the job. He performed autopsies of seven of the victims, all of whom had between three and 11 bullet wounds.

Asked whether the victims suffered, Carver said, "not for very long." Asked where on their bodies they were shot, and he said, "all over." Asked how many rounds were fired, he replied, "lots."

The victims were identified by showing relatives pictures of their faces in order to spare them additional grief.

As the investigation continues, state troopers have been assigned to the parents so the information is communicated directly to them, police said.

With the release of the names, portraits of the victims' lives began to take shape.

They included first-grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, whose family said they were told by investigators that she was killed while trying to protect her first-graders from the gunfire.

"She was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm," a cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC. "And by doing that, put herself between the gunman and the children."

Teacher Anne Marie Murphy, 52, was also among the staffers who died trying to protect her students from the gunman, her family said.

Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, 30, had just realized her dream of becoming a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary. "It was the best year of her life," her mother said.

Among the dead children was first-grader Olivia Engel, whose "only crime was being a wiggly, smiley 6-year-old," a family friend said.

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6, had just moved to Newtown a few months ago from Puerto Rico, her grandmother said. Her family was attracted by Sandy Hook's safe reputation.

Chase Kowalski, 7, was an athletic kid, always on the move, who bragged to a neighbor about winning a mini triathlon.

Emilie Parker, 6, was a girl who was always smiling, always willing to try new things, as long as those new things didn't involve food, her father said. "I'm so blessed to be her dad," he said.

"Those educators and those innocent little boys and girls were taken from their families far too soon," Connecticut Gov. Danell Malloy said. "Let us all hope and pray those children are now in a place where that innocence will forever be protected."

The release of the names was a dreaded but anxiously awaited moment as the town—and the nation—struggled to absorb the second-deadliest school shooting in American history, second only to the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting that killed 32.

With so many unanswerable questions, Newtowners sought solace amongst each other, flocking to vigils and religious services and building spontaneous memorials to the victims around town.

In the downtown district of the Sandy Hook neighborhood Saturday night, where Church Hill Road and Washington Avenue intersect, paper bags lit with candles, one for every victim, flickered beneath the local Christmas tree. Passersby added flowers, votives, and two smaller Christmas trees decorated with children's ornaments and topped by angels. They wrote notes to the victims and their families, promising to pray for them and their town. Some brought their young children and struggled to explain what it all meant.

Across the street, in front of an office building, someone had erected a sign made of Christmas lights that read "FAITH," "HOPE" and "LOVE."

Outside Sandy Hook Wine and Liquor, an American flag on poster board was propped on a bench. Owner Mike Kerler and his wife made cards with each of the victims' names and affixed them to the flag.

Kerler, whose four children attended Sandy Hook Elementary, was glad to see the names released, he said, because it will allow the community to step up in support of them, neighbor to neighbor. The victims included a girl who lived across the street from him, he said.

"I'm still searching for something we can do," Kerler said. "We just want to let them know we're thinking about them and we care."

School Shooting Victims Remembered

A woman blesses herself at a makeshift memorial outside of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church before Mass, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. On Friday, a gunman allegedly killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Newtown Church Evacuated After Threat


Police gave the "all clear" at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown after it was evacuated during a noon mass on Sunday due to a threat.

Someone made a very menacing phone call to the church, according to Brian Wallace, a spokesperson for the diocese.

Rev. Luke Suarez was giving the homily around 12:30 p.m. when the church pastor, Monsignor Robert Weiss, interrupted him and told parishioners they had to evacuate.

More than a dozen state troopers armed with assault rifles entered the church and then the church's education center on Church Hill Road, according to NBC Connecticut reporter, Audrey Washington.

Parishioners and news media were told to leave the church property.

It was another heart-stopping incident for the people of Newtown, already dealing with unspeakable grief after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.

Police gave the all clear around 1:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Southern Discomfort: Falcons Crush Giants 34-0


The Giants are terribly fond of playing the "Nobody Believes In Us" card, which is a problem this year because plenty of people believe in the defending Super Bowl champions. 

So they decided to go the extra mile and make sure that no one believes in them heading into next week's game with the Ravens, getting burned by Atlanta by a 34-0 score. 

Things started going wrong immediately. Eli Manning's first pass was intercepted by Asante Samuel, setting the Falcons up with a short field that they turned into a quick touchdown. 

That erased some memories of last year's humiliating 24-2 playoff loss to the Giants and there would be plenty of other signs that things were playing out differently this time around. The Giants were stuffed on three fourth-down conversions and they kept making mistakes that the Falcons kept turning into points. 

Manning got intercepted again on a nice play by safety Thomas DeCoud, Lawrence Tynes missed a 30-yard field goal (his third miss in the last three weeks) and the Falcons correctly realized that cornerback Jayron Hosley was overmatched. 

He got toasted on a double move by Harry Douglas to set up a Matt Ryan touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez and then ate Julio Jones' dust on a 40-yard touchdown in the third quarter that essentially put the game out of even wildly optimistic reach. No one on the defense made a play all day long, another clear sign that last year's game was no prologue for what would happen this time around. 

One imagines that Manning's two interceptions this week will rekindle the discussion about something being wrong with him even though there are others to blame on each of the picks. David Wilson's much discussed problems with pass protection were clear as he got steamrolled on Manning's first pick and Hakeem Nicks could have fought a little harder on that second pick. 

Both were plays that the Giants should have been able to make, however, and Manning had plenty of other horrid throws over the course of the day. It's a bit hard to know what to make of Manning right now since he can look like his older brother on one throw and Mark Sanchez on the next. 

For all of the other very real problems with this Giants team, the fact that Manning isn't in a groove still remains the biggest issue of all. This was a team that won the Super Bowl last year because Manning erased more mistakes than he made, but this year's inconsistent version doesn't have nearly enough jam to cover up the burnt, stale toast that the Giants are making elsewhere. 

At least Tom Coughlin's got everyone right where he wants them. Now it's up to the Giants to prove that everyone was wrong to stop believing in them again this year. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Schools Around U.S. Increase Security after Massacre


Schools around the country are reviewing security plans, adding extra law enforcement patrols and readying counselors for the first day of classes since a shooting massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Districts from Alabama to Arizona and Florida to New England were asking local law enforcement to increase patrols on Monday. School officials in some areas sent messages to parents addressing security or stressing that they have safety plans that are regularly tested. While some officials refuse to discuss plans in detail, it was clear that vigilance will be high this week at schools around the country.

Additional police patrols are planned this week in northern Virginia around the Fairfax County Public Schools, which is the largest school system in the Washington area with 181,000 students. Counselors will also be available at all schools.

"This is not in response to any specific threat but rather a police initiative to enhance safety and security around the schools and to help alleviate the understandably high levels of anxiety," Superintendent Jack Dale said Sunday.

Those sentiments were echoed to the South in Florida's Hillsborough Co., where Sheriff's office spokesman Larry McKinnon said unmarked and marked cars will patrol the schools along with deputies in plain clothes. He wouldn't say how many extra officers will be involved.

The additional patrols will supplement deputies already assigned to every high school and junior high school in the area to ease the fears of parents "who may feel uneasy about sending their children to school." The county's public school system in the Tampa area includes around 195,000 students.

The precautions come after a gunman shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday and killed 26 people before shooting himself. The dead include 20 children ages 6 and 7.

Aside from their students' physical safety, administrators were also concerned about the psychological toll of the shootings. In Maryland's suburbs outside Washington, Montgomery County Public Schools will have counselors available at each school Monday to support the system's 149,000 students. Chief of Staff Brian Edwards said officials posted advice online from the National Association of School Psychologists on Friday to help parents talk about acts of violence.

"Obviously, this is a very difficult situation that all school communities are dealing with and the entire nation is dealing with," Edwards said, adding that the system doesn't discuss security procedures. "You can't change what occurred, but you try to do the best you can to help families cope."

In Tucson, Ariz., where a January 2011 mass shooting killed six and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others, the largest school district increased security after Friday's shooting. Tucson Unified School District spokeswoman Cara Rene said Sunday that the district was participating in a memorial being held at one of its schools on Sunday evening, with Gifford's replacement, Rep. Ron Barber, a featured speaker along with Superintendent John Pedicone. Barber was with Giffords at the constituent meet-and-greet and was among the wounded.

Rene said planning was under way to help teachers and students with grief and fear issues when school resumes Monday, and the district was working with Tucson police on security issues.

At Deer Valley Unified School District in suburban Phoenix, one of the state's largest, a spokeswoman said teachers were given direction on how to answer students' questions and a message to parents was posted on the district's website emphasizing the district's security policies. Spokeswoman Heidi Vega said no extra security or counseling was planned.

Officials in South Carolina's largest school district sent a note to parents Friday ensuring they have safety plans that are regularly tested for a number of possible events.

Officials refused to details their plans, saying that would threaten the safety of its more than 70,000 students. Just last week, before the school shooting in Connecticut, Greenville County schools Superintendent W. Burke Royster said the school system met with members from every law enforcement agency in the county to review what to do in an emergency, and make sure they can all communicate. The meetings take place frequently, and the next round will likely involve any lessons that can be taken from the latest school shooting.

"While all of us work diligently to prevent this type of tragedy and to prepare an effective response to all manner of possible events, we do so in the hope that our plans will never have to be utilized," Royster wrote in his note.

Milton Kuykendall, the superintendent of the Desoto County School District, the biggest in Mississippi with 32,769 students, said he called for an evaluation of his schools' security policies and procedures immediately after the shootings in Connecticut.

Kuykendall said the district already evaluates the schools' security every year, but he decided to start that process now rather than waiting until later in the school year.

He also plans on Monday to remind principals throughout the district to be "on high alert." Students begin Christmas break on Wednesday.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to keep our students safe," Kuykendall said.

Photo Credit: AP

Sandy Hook Students to Use Monroe School


Students in Newtown will return to class on Tuesday, but the children of Sandy Hook Elementary will not be returning to the scene of Friday's massacre anytime soon. They are excused until further notice, local police said on Monday morning.

Newtown school officials have consulted with Monroe about using a school there for children from Sandy Hook School, according to Monroe Superintendent Jim Agostine.

"Newtown will be using Chalk Hill School beginning this week," Agostine said in a post on the Monroe Public Schools website. "It is important that the Sandy Hook students get back to school quickly in an environment that is familiar and safe. We recognize that everyone would like to lend a helping hand, but we have been asked to hold back until the Newtown staff is settled and they can direct our efforts."

It was not clear when the Sandy Hook students would begin classes in Monroe.

A police officer will be stationed in each Monroe school to reassure parents, according to Agostine.

Lt. Paul Vance, of Connecticut State Police, said Sandy Hook Elementary School will be closed for months. 

Photo Credit: AP

Massacre Could Have Been Much Worse: Police


The elementary school shooting massacre that shook a Connecticut community Friday could have been much worse, police said Sunday.

More details kept emerging on the gunman who took 20 children's and seven adults' lives, just hours before President Barack Obama was set to attend a vigil in Newtown, Conn., in an effort to console the inconsolable.

"There was a lot of ammo, a lot of clips," Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said. "Certainly a lot of lives were potentially saved."

Gunman Adam Lanza fatally shot himself as first responders closed in Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

He left behind multiple unspent 30-round magazines of high-powered bullets — and hundreds more children whose lives he might have taken with his hundreds of unused bullets.

Lanza committed his rampage at the school with a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle, police said Sunday, using multiple clips before shooting himself in the head.

Besides the high-power Bushmaster, Lanza was also carrying a Glock 10mm and a Sig Sauer 9mm. It was one of those handguns with which he took his own life, and another shotgun was found in his vehicle outside of the school.

The rifle and handguns Adam Lanza carried in the attacks were reportedly owned by his mother, a firearms enthusiast. They appeared to have been purchased legally.

Police have given few clues to Lanza's motive, but investigators have said that they uncovered "very good evidence" that might help explain why the 20-year-old killed his mother at their shared home and then opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary.

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.

Former classmates described Adam Lanza as being intelligent and introverted and said he was an adept computer user. Some have suggested he may have suffered from a personality disorder.

He had no obvious recent ties to Sandy Hook Elementary, although he attended it as a child, and those who knew him as an awkward teenager could think of nothing that would have predicted the horrendous crime he would eventually commit.

"We’ve been doing everything we need to do to peel back the onion, layer by layer, and get more information," Vance said.

Vance said Sunday that police had executed a number of search warrants and seized "a great deal of evidence," in the hopes of establishing a motive for the heinous shootings.

"All that evidence, every stitch of it, needs to be analyzed, and it will be," he promised.

Meanwhile, an official at Western Connecticut State University said Sunday that Lanza took classes there in 2008 and 2009 with moderate success. They also said that a faculty member's daughter was killed in the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Interim Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement Paul Steinmetz said Lanza started taking classes at WCSU in Summer 2008 when he was 16. He took website production (received a grade of A-) and Visual BASIC (A).

That fall he took data modeling, a computer science class in which he took a withdraw, and Philosophy 101, introduction to ethical theory (C).

The next spring he took American history since 1877 (A-) and introduction to German speaking, which he dropped early in the semester, so it didn't count against his GPA. In the summer of 2009 he took principles of macroeconomics (B).

Steinmetz said Lanza's overall GPA for the six classes he completed was 3.26. He said he did not have access to disciplinary records but had no indication that Lanza was ever in trouble at the school. He did not offer a reason Lanza stopped taking classes there.

While the university is looking into Lanza's time there, WCSU is also grieving for one of their own.

University President James Schmotter said Saturday that music professor and saxophonist Jimmy Greene's daughter Ana Marquez-Greene was among the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"Unfortunately I must convey the news that our university community has been touched directly by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School," Schmotter said in a statement about Ana's death. "We will be at [Greene's] side to do all we can to help him and his family through this unfathomable tragedy."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Threat Made Against Bristol School


Police in Bristol have arrested a juvenile after an online threat was made against Bristol Central High School, according to police.

"No one was in any danger but the threat was taken seriously by the police department and a juvenile was arrested for the charges of threatening and breach of peace," according to police.

Police have added two additional officers to help the school resource officers.

Police said that after the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, they were not going to take this threat lightly.

Two additional police officers will be on the campus of the school on Monday.

The threat comes days after Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot and killed 20 children and 7 adults.

Obama to Nation: "We Will Have To Change"


President Barack Obama vowed to use "whatever power this office holds" to protect the nation's children in the wake of Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults.

Speaking at an interfaith vigil Sunday evening in Newtown for the victims of the massacre and their families, Obama said that the nation isn't doing enough to protect children and that "we will have to change."

Click here for Obama's full remarks at Newtown prayer vigil.

"Caring for our children; it's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right," Obama said in front of about 1,000 people in the Newtown High School auditorium. "That is how, as a society, we will be judged. And by that measure, can we truly say as a nation that we're meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm? ... The answer is no, we're not doing enough. And we'll have to change."

Besides those mourners who packed the auditorium, an overflow crowd of about 1,500 gathered in the school gymnasium. Some waited for hours in a cold drizzle for a chance to grieve with their fellow community members.

Inside the auditorium were a large number of elementary school-age children with their parents. Some of the children were seen squeezing stuffed animals given out by the American Red Cross. Faculty, staff and some students from Sandy Hook Elementary wore green and white ribbons -- the school's colors -- with a small angel in the middle.

"Now more than ever we need each other, because we are all in this together," said Matthew Crebbin, senior minister of the Newtown Congregational Church. "We are in this together."

The vigil was held the same day as new information was released about the shooter, Adam Lanza, and a day before parents across the country prepared to send their own children back to school with safety on their minds.

The president met privately before the vigil with families of the victims and with emergency personnel who responded to the shootings. The White House declined to release details of those meetings.

Upon introducing Obama to the crowd at the vigil, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said the president told him Friday was "the most difficult day of his presidency."

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During his speech -- the fourth such speech of his presidency -- Obama mentioned the full names of the school employees who were killed, as well as the first names of all of the children. Sobs and crying could be heard from the audience as he mentioned certain names.

Obama didn't just comfort those in the audience with assurances that the rest of the nation is grieving with them, but he provided a context of what he may do in Washington as lawmakers bring up the issues of mental health and violence in society.

"We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true," Obama said. "No single law, no set of laws, can eliminate evil or prevent every act, but that can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

"In the coming weeks I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedy like this," he continued. "What choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say we're powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say such violence visited on our children year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?"

As the president and mourners gathered Sunday night, investigators continued to track down the answer to one elusive question: Why? Why would the 20-year-old Lanza go on a rampage, one that started at the home he shared with his mother and continued at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

But one thing became clear Sunday -- the tragedy could have been much deadlier. When Lanza shot himself in the head on Friday afternoon, after killing 20 children, six staff members and his own mother, he left behind hundreds of unused bullets, police said.

Earlier Sunday, a spokesman for the chief medical examiner announced the final two autopsy results for the shooting, confirming that the killer's mother Nancy Lanza, 52, had been killed by multiple shots to her head and that the gunman had killed himself with a gunshot wound to his head.

Those were just a few more of the grim details released in a case investigators said was among the hardest they had ever handled.

Police warned earlier Sunday that it could be weeks before they have a sense of Adam Lanza's motive, as they continue their grueling investigation of his Friday rampage, and cautioned that a glut of misinformation was being spread on social media websites.

The tragedy has shaken the bedroom community of Newtown -- and much of the nation -- to its core. But at the vigil Sunday night, many hoped that good will overcome.

"I know that Newtown will prevail," said First Selectwoman Patricia Llorda. "We will not fall to acts of violence. It is a defining moment, but it will not define us. We are defined by acts of courage, acts of love."

Obama shared a story about one of those acts of courage from a child at the school on Friday.

"One child trying to encourage a teacher by saying, 'I know karate, so I'll lead the way out'," Obama said.

"As a community you've inspired us," he continued. "In the face of indescribable violence, unconscionable evil, you looked out for each other, cared for one another, loved one another. This is how Newtown will be remembered."

A White House official said Obama was the primary author of his speech and edited his remarks on the flight to Connecticut with presidential speechwriter Cody Keenan.

Keenan helped Obama write his speech last year following the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabby Giffords.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Towns Increase Police Presence at Schools


Schools across the state are increasing security today after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday morning.

The city of Danbury, which is located near Newtown, is tapping into its overtime budget to add police officers to patrol every school.

In Waterford, police are out at every school in town and school administrators will meet with the chief of police on Monday, according to a Tweet and Facebook post from Waterford police.

At Pomperaug Regional School District 15, pedestrian traffic will have to access the building from the main entrance at each school, all visitors will report to the office and must remain in the main office area, visitors must leave any delivered items in the office and they will be delivered to the appropriate classroom and parents requiring access to the school nurse will be escorted by a staff member or the nurse will bring the child to the office area.

If personal delivery is required, the appropriate staff member or child will be located and that person will go to the office area.

On Friday, New Haven schools posted on its Web site that Police Chief Dean Esserman has stationed a police officer at every school and additional officers in the area of schools. 

In Monroe, which is located near Newtown, a police officer will be present in all schools in town to reassure staff and students.

"There are security plans in place at all schools in Connecticut, but certainly they’ll be ratcheted up just a little bit for everyone’s safety and security," Lt. Paul Vance, of Connecticut State Police, said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ridgefield, Redding Public Schools in Lockdown


All public schools in Ridgefield are Redding are in lockdown because of a suspicious person in the Branchville Train Station area.

Ridgefield Supt. Deborah Low sent out an alert on Monday morning and Lt. Paul Vance said someone may in fact be armed and that police have been deployed.

Branchville Elementary school busses have been diverted to East Ridge Middle School and BES students are in the auditorium, according to the school.

No additional information on Redding are yet available.

More information will be posted once it becomes available.

Funeral Plans for Newtown Victims


Funerals have been planned for many of the victims killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

For those wishing to attend:

Jack Pinto

The funeral will be held at Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street in Newtown at 1 p.m. on Monday. Burial will follow at Newtown Village Cemetery, 22 Elm Drive in Newtown. A visitation and wake will be private.

Noah Pozner

The funeral will be held on Monday at Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home, 88 Beach Road in Fairfield. Family will greet the public from 12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. A service will be held at 1 p.m. Burial will follow at B'nai Israel Cemetery at 472 Moose Hill Avenue in Monroe.

James Mattioli

The Mattioli family will receive friends at the Spadaccino and Leo P. Gallagher & Son Community Funeral Home in Monroe on Monday, Dec. 17 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown at 10a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18 with burial to follow at St. John's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Darien. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in James' memory to the James R. Mattioli Memorial Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470.

Jessica Rekos

A funeral will be held on Tuesday at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church at 46 Church Hill Road in Newtown at 12 p.m. Burial will follow at St. Rose Cemetery on Cherry Street at the corner of Black Cherry Lane. A visitation and wake will be private.

Charlotte Bacon

Friends may visit with Charlotte's family on Tuesday, Dec. 18 from 4 p.m. to 7p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church. Her funeral service will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. also at the church, followed by her burial in Newtown Village Cemetery. The Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street, Newtown, is in care of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Charlotte's memory may be sent to Christ the King Lutheran Church, 85 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Newtown, CT 06470.

Daniel Barden

Calling hours will be Tuesday from 5 p.m., to 8 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church at 46 Church Road in Newtown. The funeral will be held at 10 a.m., on Wednesday at St. Rose of Lima Church at 46 Church Road in Newtown. Burial will follow at St. Rose Cemetery on Cherry Street at the corner of Black Cherry Lane.

Victoria Soto

Calling hours will be held on Tuesday from 3 p.m., to 8 p.m., at Adzima Funeral Home at 50 Paradise Green Place in Stratford. The funeral will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m., at Lordship Community Church at 190 Prospect Drive in Stratford. Burial will follow at Union Cemetery in Stratford. The family has requested in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Victoria L. Soto Memorial Fund for Education, through the Funeral Home.

Chase Kowalski

His family will receive friends at the Spadaccino and Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, 315 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe, on Wednesday, Dec. 19, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. with prayer vigil's being held throughout the afternoon. Chase's family would like to request the public visitation end at 5:45 to allow them a brief period of privacy. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Chase Kowalksi Scholarship Fund, c/o Peoples Bank, 470 Monroe Tpke., Monroe, CT 06468.

Catherine Hubbard

Calling hours will be held Wednesday from 4 p.m., to 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church at 46 Church Road in Newtown. The funeral mass will be held Thursday at 10 a.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church at 46 Church Hill Road in Newtown. Burial will follow at St. Rose Cemetery on Cherry Street at the corner of Black Cherry Lane.

Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung

Calling hours will be held Wednesday, Dec. 19 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Woodbury Funeral Home of Munson-Lovetere, 2 School Street. Graveside services will be private.

Rachel Marie D'Avino

A funeral service will be held on Friday, Dec. 21, at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Nativity, East Street, Bethlehem. Burial will be held at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Watertown.  Friends may call the Woodbury Funeral Home of Munson-Lovetere, 2 School Street on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to Autism Speaks, 1 East 33rd Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10016.

Dylan Hockley

Funeral services are private.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Presidential Message Left at Newtown High Sweeps Social Media


President Barack Obama visited Newtown on Sunday night and a simple message left on a whiteboard at Newtown High School is sweeping across social media.

Obama attended a multi-faith vigil at the school on Sunday night and Steve George, a teacher and football coach; and Robert Pattison, a teacher, had left him a message.

“Dear President Obama, The Newtown community is so thankful that  you are coming to help us heal. In times of adversity it is reassuring to know that we have a strong leader to help us recover.”

And the president responded.

“You’re in our thoughts and prayers,” the president wrote in response.

George Tweeted out the photo and it’s been retweeted 623 times.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Good, Bad and Ugly of the Giants Loss


There are games that need thousands of words to properly capture everything that took place on the field and then there are games that can be summed up in less time than it takes to read a recipe for making toast. 

Sunday's 34-0 Giants loss to the Falcons is one of the latter games. Tom Coughlin told you just about everything you need to know when he started his postgame press conference. 

"Atlanta was very, very good. We were very, very bad," Coughlin said. “There's no excuse for what happened here."

Can't argue with that. The Giants looked as flat as they've looked at any point this season and any attempt to excuse that should fall on deaf ears because, win or lose, effort is the very least you can expect from a team. 

The Giants had none, which is a failure of the players and a failure of Coughlin to get them going on the field. Yes, there were key injuries to deal with but there are injuries everywhere and they are only a crutch for teams that are mentally weak. 

Calling the Giants mentally weak would be tough to support given how many times they have answered dire situations with strong performances. We'll find out in the next two weeks, though, because the Giants have certainly found themselves in such a situation once again. 

Their loss, coupled with wins by the Cowboys and Redskins, means that the Giants can only back into the NFC East title with the help of losses by teams ahead of them. If they win out, they will still wind up in the playoffs as a wild card, so it isn't like all is lost by any means. 

At this point, though, how much faith do you have that the Giants are capable of playing two good games in a row? They haven't done it in two months and that admirable ability to play well when the chips are down now looks a lot more like a lazy team that can't be bothered to give full effort every time they take the field. 

That's an ugly picture, but an increasingly accurate one. Here's the rest of the good, bad and ugly of Sunday's Giants loss. 

BAD: This loss can't be laid at Eli Manning's feet, but a team built around superlative play from their quarterback can't win if he keeps playing like this. His accuracy is down, his decision making is lacking and, to make a long story short, Eli's been looking a lot more like he did in the early years of his career than the Super Bowl winner from last year. 

UGLY: Jayron Hosley was forced into the lineup because of Prince Amukamara's injury and the results were hard to watch. He got caught peeking in the backfield on one big pass play that wound up setting up a touchdown and Julio Jones simply ran past him on a 40-yard score. 

UGLY: The mistakes by Hosley and the rest of the secondary would feel a lot less glaring if the Giants pass rush existed anywhere outside your memory banks. Justin Tuck likes to talk a lot about being a leader and what others need to do, but any self-analysis would lead him to know he needs to speak less and do more to make it stand up.

GOOD: We're not crazy about sports teams trying to become some kind of official face of tragedies, mostly because sports is an escape from the horrors of things like the murder of so many at Sandy Hook Elementary School. If teams are going to do it, though, we're glad there are men like Victor Cruz willing to offer whatever they can to the families suffering in the aftermath. 

GOOD and BAD: David Wilson certainly seemed fine carrying the load as the team's lead running back and he came close to breaking a few big gainers, but we also fully understand why the team buried him for the first 12 weeks of the season. His pass blocking was atrocious, forcing the team to use Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin to keep Manning from getting planted into the Atlanta turf like some over-sized peach tree. 

BAD: Lawrence Tynes missed another field goal. That's three in three weeks for Tynes, who sure knows how to pick the wrong time to go into a slump. 

UGLY: We started with the total lack of effort from a team that looked like it just wanted to go home and we'll end there because we're still scratching our head to figure it out. The inconsistency of this team doesn't speak well for anyone involved with the organization right now. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Sandy Hook Principal's Daughter Tweets Photo Of Her Baby and Obama


The daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary Principal Dawn Hochsprung tweeted a photo of President Obama holding her child — and said her mother would have been proud.

“My mom would be SO proud to see President Obama holding her granddaughter. But not as proud as I am of her,” Cristina Hassinger tweeted on Sunday. The photo had been shared over 2,700 times by late Monday morning.

Hochsprung died on Friday morning when authorities said heavily armed Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults in a shooting rampage before killing himself as police closed in.

Upon hearing gunfire at the school during Friday morning’s shooting, Hochsprung, 47, along with the school’s psychologist, Mary Sherlach, reportedly ran toward the barrage of bullets to protect students.

"She's a hero today," Gerald Stomski, First Selectman of Woodbury, Conn., who knew Hochsprung, said over the weekend "Today."

Speaking at an interfaith vigil on Sunday at Newtown High School, President Obama vowed to use "whatever power this office holds" to protect the nation's children.

"Caring for our children, it's our first job," Obama said. "If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right."



More coverage on the Newtown school shooting:

Remembering the Sandy Hook Victims

Obama on Violence: "We Will Have To Change"

Grieving Newtown Plans First Burials

President Obama's Remarks at Newtown Prayer Vigil


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ana Marquez-Greene: Remembered for Selfless Acts of Kindness


Ana Marquez-Greene’s family is remembering her as a joyful little girl who loved to sing, dance and leave sweet notes under her parent’s pillows for no special reason other than to tell them she loved them.

“It is with immeasurable grief and heavy-heartedness that we mourn the loss of our precious angel, Ana Grace Marquez-Greene. She was taken from us far too soon in the horrific massacre enacted upon Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning December 14, 2012,” her family said in a statement released on Monday.

Ana was only 6-and-a-half years old when she was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday morning.

She was the daughter of 1997 University of Hartford graduates Nelba Marquez and Jimmy Greene, according to University of Hartford president Walter Harrison.

“In her short life, Ana strengthened us with her loving, generous joyful spirit. She routinely committed selfless acts of kindness: every drawing or craft project she began was envisioned not for her own enjoyment, but as a gift for another. She often left sweet notes that read, ‘I love you Mom and Dad,’ under our bedroom pillow - not on special occasions, but, rather, on ordinary days. She would not allow me to kiss her goodbye. Instead, when I bent down to kiss her, she would take a step backwards, poke out her lips and wait for me to lower my cheek - she made it clear that she wanted to do the kissing,” the family wrote.

Both of Ana’s parents attended the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford -- Jimmy is a well-known jazz musician -- and she loved singing, even before she could talk.

“In a musical family, her gift for melody, pitch and rhythm stood out remarkably. And she never walked anywhere - her mode of transportation was dance. She danced from room to room and place to place,” the family said. “She danced to all the music she heard, whether in air or in her head. Ana loved her God, loved to read the Bible and loved to sing in dance as acts of worship.”

The family asks for prayers for the people who are left behind to cherish memories of her.

“We also ask that you, like Ana, commit selfless acts of kindness to all those around you. Maybe, in some way, through love, similar senseless acts of violence could be prevented,” the family said.

Funeral arrangements will be announced soon.

In lieu of gifts and flowers, the family is working to establishing scholarships in Ana’s name at Western Connecticut State University’s Department of Music in Danbury, CT and the Artist’s Collective in Hartford, CT.

The Hartt Trombone Ensemble will hold a Benefit Concert to support the families of the Newtown community this Monday, December 17, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Millard Auditorium at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. A suggested donation of $5 will be collected at the door for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

This concert will feature the ensemble's annual holiday caroling program, with family-friendly selections from "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Jingle Bells" to Praetorius' "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" and Palestrina's "Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace)."


The Jets' Playoff Dream Remains Alive


There was a real good news/bad news vibe for New York football fans when the Cowboys kicked a field goal to beat the Steelers in overtime on Sunday. 

For the Giants, it was bad news because it meant the Cowboys were now ahead of them in the pecking order for NFC East superiority. For the Jets, though, the Steelers loss meant that they can keep throwing fuel on the fire pushing their improbable playoff push. 

If the Steelers beat the Bengals next weekend and both AFC North teams lose in Week 17, the Jets will make it into the postseason if they win all their remaining games. Given the shaky footing the Giants find themselves on right now, it's not unthinkable that the season could end for them in two weeks while the Jets continue playing a little bit longer. 

Chewing on that for a while will make you wonder why you even bother paying attention to the first six weeks or so of a football season, but it is important to note that Rex Ryan won't be getting a shot to secure his first trip to the White House without three more wins. The first chance to get a win comes on Monday night in Tennessee. 

While Mark Sanchez will remain the focal point for the Jets because he's always the focal point for the Jets, the game is likely to be decided by the running game. The first half of the Cardinals win appears to be the moment where the Jets finally realized that Sanchez is hurting them more than he can help them and decided to cast their lot with the running game. 

Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell have made that decision look wise in the last six quarters, controlling the ball and chewing up clock to limit the chances for the Jets to cause themselves damage. As long as they continue to do that in the next three games against opponents incapable of doing much to win games on their own, they are going to give themselves to run the table. 

Incapable of doing much isn't the same as being incapable of doing anything and the Titans do have one guy who is capable of turning the tables on the Jets in prime time. Running back Chris Johnson's numbers aren't as good as they once were, but he's still the best player on the Tennessee team and the one player they have that's capable of taking over the game. 

The Jets defense has played very well in the last two weeks, although there's a fairly large asterisk next to those performances. The Cardinals and Jaguars pose about as much offensive threat as a wall, so Johnson will test a run defense that has sprung plenty of leaks over the course of the season. 

They'll need to stand up on Monday and allow the Jets to win the battle of the running games if the team is going to win the battle on the scoreboard. Do that and you can keep on dreaming the impossible dream. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Recall of Toys That Expand in Water


A recall was announced Monday for several types of children’s toys that expand when placed in water.

The little toys, which start out small but grow larger when infused with liquid, can be particularly dangerous for children, officials with the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The recall includes toys marketed under the names of Water Balz, Skulls, Orbs and Flower Toys, made by the Cleveland, Ohio, company Dunecraft. Among them is a toy named after the film “Despicable Me.”

The toys start out about the size of a marble, the agency said, posing a choking hazard. But beyond that, they expand once they come in contact with liquids in the body, exposing children to additional risk.

“When the marble-sized toy is ingested, it expands inside the body and causes a blockage in the small intestine,” the agency said. The toy grows to 400 times its original size, causing vomiting, severe discomfort, and dehydration. The blockage can be life-threatening.

“The toys do not show up on an x-ray, and require surgery to be removed from the body,” the agency said.

An eight-month-old girl from Humble, Texas, swallowed one of the Water Balz models, and required an operation, the consumer regulatory agency said.

About 94,700 of the toys were sold in the United States and 600 in Canada, officials said. They were sold in packages of six in green, yellow, red, blue and black colors, the agency said. They were sold at numerous retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Lakeshore Learning Materials and Amazon.com.

The “Despicable Me” toys were sold exclusively at Universal Studios during June of 2012. Universal Studios, like NBC4, is owned by Comcast.

For more details, including the model numbers of the packages being recalled and a full list of retailers where they were sold, click here for the Consumer Product Safety Commission press release.

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