Story Summary

Connecticut elementary school shooting

State police are responding Friday to reports of a shooting at a southwestern Connecticut elementary school.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 10 updates

Audio of 911 calls (warning – graphic):


Some audio recordings of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were released to the news media Wednesday afternoon.

The release of the calls, made to Newtown, Connecticut, police on the day of the December 2012 shooting, came after the Associated Press challenged authorities’ refusal to release the 911 tapes.

A CNN team is listening to the recordings. More information will follow soon.

Calls to the state police in Litchfield are not a part of this group of recordings.

Last week, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott upheld the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission’s ruling to release calls related to the December 14, 2012 shooting. A state attorney had tried to block the release to shield the victims’ families.

The massacre at Sandy Hook left 26 people dead, including 20 children, making it the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, shot himself at the end of his 11-minute rampage.

The killings in Newtown, about 60 miles outside New York, happened less than five months after a similar bloodbath at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, outside Denver.

Those mass slayings triggered a nationwide debate over gun violence, school safety and mental health, a debate that produced some new restrictions on firearms in several states.

Backlash by gun-rights advocates followed.
TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

After nearly a year, the motive behind last December’s massacre at a Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School remains unknown, state authorities reported Monday.

Connecticut officials have released a 44-page summary of the investigation into the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history, outlining how the gunman, identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed his mother, then stormed the elementary school and killed himself as police arrived. But Lanza never gave anyone “any indication” of what he planned on December 14, 2012.

“The evidence clearly shows that the shooter planned his actions, including the taking of his own life, but there is no clear indication why he did so, or why he targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School,” the report states.

Police arrived at the school less than four minutes after the first 911 call. One minute later, Lanza killed himself.

“In fewer than 11 minutes twenty first-grade pupils and six adults had lost their lives,” the report states.

Victims’ family members were informed of the report, said Mark Dupuis, a spokesman for Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky, whose office conducted the investigation.

Dupuis declined to provide details about when, where, and how the families were given the details of the report.

“We are sensitive to the needs of the families, and those needs are being addressed,” Dupuis said.

The family of Victoria Soto, a teacher who shielded her students before being shot to death, said the release of the report is “yet another blow that our family has been dealt.”

A statement from the family said, “While others search for the answer as to why this happened, we search for the how. How can we live without Vicki? How do we celebrate Christmas without Vicki? How do we go on every day missing a piece of our family? Those are the questions we seek the answers for. There is nothing in the report that will answer those for us.”

The report, which is available on the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice website, is separate from a much longer evidence file that Connecticut State Police will release at an unspecified date.
TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

It took fewer than five minutes for Adam Lanza to squeeze off 154 rounds, upending life in Newtown, Connecticut, and triggering a renewed flurry of debate over gun control.

More than three months after the school massacre, new details emerged Thursday about the troubled young man who opened fire inside two classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children and six adults.

But a motive for the attack remains elusive.

The details came in the release of five search warrants and related documents, along with a statement from Stephen J. Sedensky III, state’s attorney for the judicial district of Danbury. The documents describe a cache of ammunition as well as several weapons inside the Lanzas’ house, and provide more of a description about how Adam Lanza carried out his rampage.

The main details have long been known: The carnage began on the morning of December 14, when Lanza fatally shot his 52-year-old mother, Nancy Lanza, with a .22 caliber rifle.

But some of the details are new. “There was no indication of a struggle,” according to Sedensky.

Lanza shot his mother in the forehead, one of the search warrants says.

Laden with weapons and ammunition, Lanza then went to the elementary school, shooting his way into the building where he killed the 26 victims with a Bushmaster .223 caliber model XM15 rifle, according to Sedensky.

The rampage ended when Lanza, using a Glock 10 mm handgun, shot himself.

Attached to the rifle police found a 30-round capacity magazine that still had 14 bullets, Sedensky said, and a search of Lanza’s body found that he was carrying more ammunition for the handguns as well as three more 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster, each fully loaded.

“Located in the area of the shootings were six additional 30-round magazines,” Sedensky said in his statement, three of them empty and the others holding 10, 11, and 13 rounds. Police found 154 spent .223 caliber casings at the school.

“It is currently estimated that the time from when the shooter shot his way into the school until he took his own life was less than five minutes,” Sedensky wrote.

All of the guns appear to have been bought by Lanza’s mother, the state’s attorney said.

One of the documents cites a gun safe that was found in Lanza’s bedroom. When police arrived, the gun locker was open and did not appear to have been broken into, according to Sedensky.

Investigators found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition in the house, according to the documents.

“We now know that he left the lower-capacity magazines at home,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in a statement. “This is exactly why we need to ban high-capacity magazines and why we need to tighten our assault-weapons ban. I don’t know what more we can need to know before we take decisive action to prevent gun violence. The time to act is now.”

A CBS News poll taken March 20-24 and released Wednesday found that 90% of respondents said they favored a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers.

There was little difference in how Democrats and Republicans responded to the poll, which had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3 points. Some 96% of Democrats favored such checks along with 86% of Republicans. When split into parties, the numbers have a sampling error of plus-or-minus 5.5 points.

President Barack Obama noted those numbers Thursday at a White House event on a national day of action by supporters of tougher gun laws.

“This is our best chance in more than a decade to take common sense steps that will save lives,” Obama said. “If there is a step we can take that will save just one child, just one parent, just another town from experiencing the same grief that some of the moms and dads who are here have endured, then we should be doing it. We have an obligation to try.”

One of the warrants cites an interview with a person whose name was redacted who said that Lanza rarely left his home, that he was a shut-in, “and an avid gamer who plays Call of Duty, amongst other games.” “Call of Duty” is a military-style war game.

Also in the house were three Samurai swords and several books, one titled “NRA guide to the basics of pistol shooting,” another about Asperger syndrome and one on autism. Both are developmental disorders that are not typically associated with violence.

Police also found a 2008 New York Times article about a shooting at Northern Illinois University. Police took from the house NRA certificates for Nancy and Adam Lanza, a receipt for a shooting range in Oklahoma, a book titled “Train your brain to get happy,” and three photographs “of what appears to be a deceased human covered with plastic and what appears to be blood.”

The NRA issued a statement saying neither Lanza nor his mother were members.

Some of the documents, released by state prosecutors, have been redacted at the prosecutors’ request, said Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police. Relatives of the victims were briefed Wednesday about the documents.

State police are continuing their investigation, which is not expected to be completed until June, he said.

“The information revealed today underscores the need to turn this tragedy into transformation,” said Tim Makris, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, which seeks to prevent a recurrence of such shootings. “While legislation is not the only answer, it’s time for Congress to pass sensible measures supported by the vast majority of Americans to reduce gun violence.”

Also Thursday, Mayors Against Illegal Guns released the first television ad featuring relatives of the Newtown shootings.

In the spots, relatives of the victims call on political leaders to pass tougher gun laws.

“We cannot afford to wait for another tragedy — it’s long past time for elected officials to listen to their constituents and pass reforms like comprehensive background checks that we know will save lives,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-founder of the group, in a news release.

Recent polling, however, shows public support for gun restrictions has declined since the shootings, as renewed attention has amplified on both sides of the debate. Shortly after the school massacre, 52% of Americans favored major restrictions on guns or making all guns illegal, according to a CNN/ORC International poll. That number has dwindled to 43%, according to the same poll, which was conducted March 15-17.

The killings have led Connecticut legislators to re-examine the state’s gun laws, which are among the nation’s strictest, and have reopened a national debate on gun control.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, has announced plans to introduce legislation requiring background checks to purchase ammunition. He has pressured members of his state legislature to take action to bolster his efforts on a national level.
The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-WIRE(9473)

 

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Police released new documents related to the shootings last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, but a motive for the attack by the troubled young man remained elusive.

Included in the information released Thursday is the report that a gun safe was found in the bedroom of 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who shot his mother, Nancy, in her forehead as she lay in bed. He then took weapons belonging to her and drove to the school in Newtown, where he gunned down 20 children and six staff members before killing himself.

Investigators found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition in the house, and a holiday card with a check “made out to Adam Lanza for the purchase of a C183 (firearm), authored by Nancy Lanza,” according to a search warrant.

The warrant cited an interview with a person whose name was redacted who said that Lanza rarely left his home and that he was a shut-in “and an avid gamer who plays Call of Duty, amongst other games.” “Call of Duty” is a computer-based war game.

Some of the documents, released by state prosecutors, have been redacted at the prosecutors’ request, said Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police. Relatives of the victims were briefed Wednesday about the documents.

State police are continuing their investigation, which is not expected to be completed until June, he said.

“The information revealed today underscores the need to turn this tragedy into transformation,” said Tim Makris, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, which seeks to prevent a recurrence of such shootings. “While legislation is not the only answer, it’s time for Congress to pass sensible measures supported by the vast majority of Americans to reduce gun violence.”

Also Thursday, Mayors Against Illegal Guns released the first television ad featuring relatives of the Newtown shootings.

In the spots, relatives of the victims call on political leaders to pass tougher gun laws.

“We cannot afford to wait for another tragedy — it’s long past time for elected officials to listen to their constituents and pass reforms like comprehensive background checks that we know will save lives,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-founder of the group, in a news release.

Recent polling, however, shows public support for gun restrictions has declined since the shootings, as renewed attention has amplified on both sides of the debate. Shortly after the school massacre, 52% of Americans favored major restrictions on guns or making all guns illegal, according to a CNN/ORC International poll. That number has dwindled to 43%, according to the same poll, which was conducted March 15-17.

The killings have led Connecticut legislators to re-examine the state’s gun laws, which are among the nation’s strictest, and have reopened a national debate on gun control.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, has announced plans to introduce legislation requiring background checks to purchase ammunition. He has pressured members of his state legislature to take action to bolster his efforts on a national level.

CNN’s Susan Candiotti and Samira Jafari contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-WIRE(9473)
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

For the first time since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Christine Wilford plans do something remarkable on Thursday that once was routine: drop her child off at school.

The last time her 7-year-old son, Richie, was in class was on December 14, when a gunman smashed his way into his school in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 26 children and adults.

As shots rang out, Richie’s teacher locked the door and huddled her students into the corner as the shooter roamed the hallways, wielding an AR-15 assault rifle and firing.

When it appeared safe, the children were then hurried away to a nearby fire station, where teary parents either reunited with their sons and daughters or learned that they had been killed.

Nearly a month later, Wilford said her son still has trouble sleeping and is often scared by loud noises.

But on Thursday, he will join hundreds of other Newtown students returning to class for the first time since the tragedy.

“We think it’s good he’s going back,” Wilford said. “If I leave my child anywhere, I’m leaving a piece of my heart, so it’s difficult to leave him.”

But Richie apparently isn’t afraid and says he’s looking forward to seeing his friends, she said.

They won’t be attending Sandy Hook Elementary, which police say remains part of an ongoing investigation into Adam Lanza, the gunman who also killed his mother before opening fire at the school.

Instead, Richie and his classmates are expected to travel to Chalk Hill Middle School in the nearby town of Monroe, where a green-and-white banner greeting the children hangs on a fence.

Newtown Public Schools Superintendent Janet Robinson said that part of the building had been transformed to resemble an elementary school.

“(We want) to have as much (of) a normal routine as possible,” she said. “(Thursday) is a regular schedule, and we will do the kinds of things that we know are good for kids.”

The school has also been outfitted with rugs and furniture similar to those at Sandy Hook to help ease the transition for students. Even the school’s pet turtle was relocated, Robinson said.

Security measures have also been increased, with a new system incorporating more cameras and locks, according to Jim Agostine, superintendent of Monroe Public Schools.

“I think right now it has to be the safest school in America,” Monroe Police Lt. Keith White said.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-WIRE(9473)
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

The coaches and artists of “The Voice” sing beautiful tribute to victims of Newtown shooting

Across the nation Friday morning, church bells will toll. Flags will fly at half-staff. Many websites will go silent. And office workers and homemakers, students and nursing home residents, Americans in at least 29 states will stop whatever they’re doing to remember the lives snatched when a gunman burst into a Connecticut elementary school exactly a week ago and rained hell.

Alaska, Massachusetts and South Carolina are among states that have declared a moment of silence for 9:30 a.m., marking the hour one week ago that the gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot 20 students, six adults then himself dead in Newtown.

Adam Lanza had killed his mother before arriving at the school.

A little over an hour later, one group that has kept mum through all the calls for gun control will break its silence: the National Rifle Association.

The NRA news conference with executive director Wayne LaPierre will begin at 10:45 a.m.

The gun rights organization had initially deactivated its Facebook page, stopped tweeting on its Twitter account and had been issuing a “no comment” to any media outlet, including CNN, seeking a response.

But late Tuesday, the group broke that silence with a statement:

“The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters — and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown. … The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” the group said. Both its Facebook and Twitter presences became active again.

Despite the relative silence early on from the powerful lobbying group’s offices in Fairfax, Virginia, the organization is regrouping in anticipation of a massive legislative push for gun control legislation, a gun policy expert said.

Kristin Goss, an associate professor of public policy and political science at Duke University and author of “Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America,” said that strategy is part of the organization’s playbook after an incident such as this one.

After such a terrifying event, when there is a national outcry, the NRA typically lays low, Goss said.

“They’re used to seeing this cycle, express condolences and hope the attention will shift to a new issue.”

Governors show support

But for now, the nation’s attention still seems focused on Sandy Hook, where investigations into the crime are expected to continue for weeks to come.

The national outpouring of sympathy over the deaths continues, as three more victims are to be laid to rest Friday.

In a letter sent to other governors around the country, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy noted how the shooting in his state has resonated nationwide.

“Mourning this tragedy has extended beyond Newtown, beyond the borders of Connecticut, and has spread across the nation and the world,” he said. “On behalf of the State of Connecticut, we appreciate the letters and calls of support that have been delivered to our state and to the family members during their hour of need.”

Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma suggested residents wear green, Sandy Hook’s school color, and in Alaska, the State Capitol’s bell will ring at 9:30 a.m. local time. The bell is a full-scale replica of the Liberty Bell.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have called for residents of their states to pause to reflect one week after the shooting rampage. Perry also asked that churches ring their bells 26 times in honor of the victims at the school.

The states honoring a moment of silence are Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

President Barack Obama ordered flags to half-staff last Friday after the shooting. Flags will also fly at half-staff this Friday.

Some websites will go dark at the urging of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ron Conway, who came up with the idea at a Christmas party attended by Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was wounded in a 2011 shooting that killed six.

Obama starts gun control debate

Obama will take part in the moment of silence Friday, a White House spokesman said. On Thursday, his administration put into motion an effort to change U.S. gun laws.

Vice President Joe Biden met with Cabinet members and law enforcement leaders at the White House to start formulating what Obama called “real reforms right now.”

More than 195,000 people have signed an online White House petition supporting new gun control legislation.

A slight majority of Americans favor major restrictions on guns: 52%, up five points from a survey taken in August after the July shooting inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people died, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday.

Carloads of teenagers from a Minnesota school that suffered a mass shooting in 2005 headed toward Newtown on Thursday to offer their support.

Also Thursday, burials were held for three children and two teachers.

More than 2,200 miles west of Newtown, Ogden, Utah, the hometown of shooting victim Emilie Parker, was festooned with pink ribbons as her parents brought her body back for burial.

“This sucks — there’s no reason for us to be here tonight,” her father, Robbie Parker, told friends and well-wishers at a memorial service Thursday night. “And I’m so thankful for everybody that’s here.”

His voice trailed off as he struggled for composure. Seeing the pink — his slain daughter’s favorite color — made him and his wife, Alissa, “feel like we were getting a big hug from everybody.”

Also buried Thursday, at an undisclosed location, was Nancy Lanza, the shooter’s mother, who he killed before the school rampage, said Donald Briggs, a friend of the family who grew up with her in Kingston, New Hampshire.

Plans had not been finalized for the burial of the gunman, her son, Adam.

Three 6-year-olds were among those buried Thursday: Allison Wyatt, who loved to draw and wanted to be an artist; Benjamin Wheeler, who loved the Beatles; and red-haired Catherine Hubbard, who loved animals.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-WIRE(9473)
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

In yet another day of heartbreak, three more tiny victims of a massacre in Newtown will be laid to rest Thursday, a now-familiar sight of processions rolling down streets lined with tearful mourners.

Allison Wyatt, 6, loved to draw and wanted to be an artist.

Benjamin Wheeler, 6, with the impish smile, was a big fan of the Beatles.

Red-headed Catherine Hubbard, 6, loved animals.

A memorial service will be held for teacher Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, 30, who was hired full-time in November. Her boyfriend wishes he had more than a year with her.

As Newtown faces another somber day, it is also bracing for the sight of dark hearses and funeral processions for days.

The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association announced a total of 22 funerals, nine concluded before Thursday. A list of more to come runs through Saturday.

Funeral processions turned the holiday season into a period of heart-wrenching loss.

The town converted Christmas trees into memorials for the 20 children and six adults killed when a gunman blasted his way through Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The gunman then killed himself. Earlier, he had fatally shot his mother.

Residents of the close-knit community have braved cold, rainy weather for hours to pay their respects to the victims.

“It’s an assembly line of wakes and funerals,” said Lillian Bittman, former chairwoman of the Newtown education board. “We can’t even figure out which ones to go to. There are so many.”

In addition to the young victims, the community also paid tribute to those who died protecting them.

A police honor guard saluted Victoria Soto, 27, a first-grade teacher killed trying to shield her students from bullets. Bagpipers played outside the Lordship Community Church in Stratford, Connecticut.

Singer Paul Simon, a friend of the family, sang “The Sound of Silence” at her family’s request.

“You were an angel to those 19 children you protected, to the 19 families and the community,” Soto’s sister, Jillian, said at the service Wednesday.

Soto wanted to be a teacher since she was age 3.

Principal Dawn Hochsprung’s calling hours were held Wednesday, the funeral association said. Her funeral will be private.

The community also bid farewell to several students Wednesday: Daniel Barden, 7, and Caroline Previdi and Charlotte Bacon, both 6.

As the grieving continues, new details emerged about the gunman’s mother.

Just before the shooting, Nancy Lanza was on vacation alone at a luxury resort in New Hampshire, friends said Wednesday.

She checked in at the Omni Mount Washington Resort & Hotel in Bretton Woods on Tuesday, December 11 and left two days later, the hotel said.

Soon after she left the hotel, authorities say, her son Adam Lanza, 20, killed her and opened fire at the elementary school. She checked out Thursday afternoon. Her son went on a shooting rampage Friday morning.

It was not unusual for her to take road trips alone, according to her friends. She seemed to be in good spirits during the trip and felt comfortable leaving her son unsupervised in recent years, they said.

Authorities have said the shooter took three of his mother’s weapons — two handguns and a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle — to the elementary school.

The complete police report is not expected to be out for months, according to the Connecticut State Police. Investigators will be sitting down with the victims’ families and survivors for a long time to come.

The deadly shooting rampage has ignited renewed national debates over gun control, mental health care and school safety.

U.S. President Barack Obama pushed for a quick January deadline for proposals to deal with gun violence.

A new group led by Vice President Joe Biden is charged with developing “concrete proposals” for dealing with gun violence “no later than January.” Obama said. The group will include some Cabinet members and outside organizations.

No single law or set of laws can prevent gun violence, but the complexity of the issue “can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,” he said.

Obama urged quick action from Congress, saying authorities must work to make “access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, has said she will introduce legislation to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. The White House said Tuesday that the president supports that effort.

Some cities nationwide are planning a moment of silence Friday morning, a week since the massacre.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-WIRE(9473)
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

The Connecticut BBB has provided some trustworthy charities to make donations to in this time of need:

Donations may be sent to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund:

c/o Newtown Savings Banks

39 Main Street

Newtown, CT 06470.

 

Newtown Savings Bank collaboration working with the United Way and Red Cross:

Phone: 800-461-0672

Donations can also be made online at https://newtown.uwwesternct.org/

 

The Newtown Rotary Club:

Donations can also be made online at http://www.newtownctrotary.org/.

For more advice on giving and to view reports on charities visit www.bbb.org/charity

Wednesday marks another day of funerals for the victims of the school shootings in Connecticut.

Adam Lanza murdered his mother, before he shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14.

He shot and killed 20 children and six adults, before he killed himself.

Newtown will hold four more funerals today.

First grader teacher Victoria Soto was killed while trying to shield her students from bullets.

“She would not hesitate to think to save anyone else before herself, and especially children,” her mother Donna said. “She loved them more than life, and she would definitely put herself in front of them any day.”

“(Soto)instinctively went into action, when a monster came into her classroom, and tried to protect the kids that she loved so much,” cousin James Wiltsie said.

Seven-year-old Daniel Barden, 6-year old Caroline Previdi, and 6-year old Charlotte Bacon will also be laid to rest Wednesday.

Barden  was a drummer and formed a band with his brother and sister.

“He embodied everything that is wholesome and innocent in the world,” Daniel’s family said.

A Facebook page called “RIP Caroline Previdi — Sandy Hook Massacre Victim” has more than 5,400 “likes.”

Bacon’s grandmother described Charlotte as sweet, outgoing and full of energy.

“This is tough. This is surreal. You can’t believe this could happen,” said Irene Hagen.   “The whole family is just devastated and we’re all trying to come to terms with it.”

Advertisement