28 People, Including 20 Children, Gunned Down in Connecticut Elementary School Shooting
Sandy Hook Elementary School | Photo Credits: Shannon Hicks/Newtown Bee
A gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning, and news outlets are reporting that the shooting resulted in a number of casualties, including multiple children as well as the shooter.
As of 4 p.m. on Friday, the death toll had risen to 28. That number includes 20 children who were pronounced dead at the scene or later died at hospitals, as well as six adults who were killed at the school, the shooter, and an unidentified male relative of the shooter at a home in Newtown, Conn. that is being treated as a crime scene, Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said at a news conference Friday afternoon.
There are conflicting reports about the identity of the shooter. Early Friday afternoon, news reports identified the gunman as Ryan Lanza, 24, and said that Lanza's 20-year-old brother, Adam, had been taken into custody for questioning, though he was not named as a suspect. As of early Friday evening, it was unclear whether Adam or Ryan Lanza was the man who was found dead at the scene.
The Lanzas' mother reportedly worked at Sandy Hook Elementary School as a kindergarten teacher and a law enforcement source told NBC News that most of the killings took place in her classroom. Officials confirmed that the mother was one of the fatalities, according to NBC.
The shooter was wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with two handguns and possibly a rifle, according to news reports. It's unknown whether he was killed by police or shot himself. According to reports, he went to the principal's office and killed the principal of the school first before entering his mother's classroom.
A visibly distraught President Obama addressed the nation shortly after 3 p.m., stopping repeatedly to compose himself.
"They had their entire lives ahead of them," he said, pointing out that the majority of the victims were between 5 and 10 years old. "Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own."
"Our hearts are broken today," he added. "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this."
The shooting began at about 9:35 a.m. at the elementary school. All schools in the area were placed on lockdown after the shooting, as parents rushed to the school for news about their children.
A third-grader at the school told CNN that police officers had escorted the students out of their classroom and that some were crying. "Some people felt ... they got a stomachache," she said.