More details emerge after tragic US shooting

2012-12-14 23:33
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US school shooting

A gunman has killed 26 people, including 20 children, at a Connecticut school. See the pictures of the aftermath.

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Connecticut - Police in the US confirmed on Friday that 27 people have been killed during a shooting at a primary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Eighteen children, as well as six adults were declared dead on the scene, while two more children who were taken to nearby hospitals were later declared dead.

Police said the gunman, now named as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Earlier reports said that the suspected gunman was 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, but he is an older brother of the deceased alleged shooter, and is being questioned by police.

A law enforcement official had mistakenly transposed the brothers' first names.

Police also confirmed that there is a second crime scene in the town, where an adult had been found dead, which may be linked to the shooting. State Governor Dannel P Malloy said someone who lived with the gunman died.

This follows on from reports from US news networks, that Adam killed his father at home before driving to the school and killing his mother Nancy Lanza, who worked there, along with many of her young students.

CNN had also reported that another brother of the suspected shooter has also been found dead in New Jersey.

"Our hearts are broken today," US President Barack Obama said, wiping his eyes during brief comments to reporters in one of the most emotional public moments of his presidency, AP reported.

He said the children killed were 5 to 10 years old. He said the nation had been "through this too many times" with recent mass shootings and has to come together to take meaningful action, "regardless of the politics."

State police said 18 children were found dead at the school and two later were declared dead, and six adults were found dead at the scene. They said the shootings occurred in one section of the school but did not give details.

Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.

"That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."

Licata said the shooter didn't say a word.

The law enforcement official also said Adam Lanza's girlfriend and another friend were missing in New Jersey.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the developing criminal investigation.

According to the official, the suspect drove to the scene in his mother's car. Three guns were found - a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols - and a .223-caliber rifle.

The rifle was recovered from the back of a car at the school, and the two pistols were recovered from inside the school.

State police said only students and school staff were killed, but they refused to say how people were dead. Police said the scene was secure.

Crying children

The attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School, just two weeks before Christmas, was the latest of several mass shootings in the US this year, and it approached the deadly scope of the Virginia Tech university massacre in 2007 that left 32 dead.

This time, many victims were young children. Photos from the scene showed students, some of them crying, being escorted by adults through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders. Children told their parents they had heard bangs and, at one point, a scream over the intercom.

The shooting shocked a small, tranquil community in one of the wealthiest counties in the US, about 96km northeast of New York City.

The last news items posted before the shooting on the website of the tiny newspaper, The Newtown Bee, lamented cracked headstones at a local cemetery and asked residents to "share 2012 memories".

Anguished parents came running on Friday morning when they heard the news.

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs, and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.

Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and raced to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.

"Everyone was just traumatised," he said.

Richard Wilford said his 7-year-old son, Richie, said he heard a noise that "sounded like what he described as cans falling."

The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle up in the corner until police arrived.

"There's no words," Wilford said. "It's sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him."

Melissa Makris said her 10-year-old son, Philip, saw what looked like a body under a blanket as he fled the school.

Already this year, a gunman killed 12 people at a Colorado theatre, and another gunman killed six people before killing himself at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

"We have endured too many of these tragedies," Obama said. He spoke in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room, named in honour of the former White House press secretary who was shot and disabled in the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Brady and his wife, Sarah, have become activists for gun control measures.

"If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don't know when is," one member of Congress, Rep Jerrold Nadler, said in a statement.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  us school shooting  |  gun control
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