More than two dozen people, including as many as 20 children, have been killed during a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut outside of New York City early Friday.
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According to preliminary reports, a gunman opened fire inside of an office at Sandy Hook Elementary at around 9:40 a.m. Friday. Police have verified that the suspected shooter has been found dead on the scene.
Three weapons have been recovered from the slain gunman, reportedly identified by law enforcement as 20-year-old, Adam Lanza. Police say the suspect was the son of Nancy Lanza, a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook, who was also among the dead. Her body was found in their residence in Newton, a law enforcement source told CNN. The suspect’s older brother, Ryan, is being questioned by the authorities.
There also have been reports that guns used in the rampage were legally purchased and registered to the suspected shooter’s mother.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that the school’s principal and psychologist are also among the deceased.
The total death toll now stands at 28, police say. This includes 20 children and six adults killed at the school, the suspected attacker and his mother killed at the second scene.
Both state and local police are still on the scene at Sandy Hook and the superintendent has ordered all schools in the district, both public and private, to be placed on lockdown. Lt. J. Paul Vance of the state police department said that both on-duty and off-duty officers responded to the emergency.
Sandy Hook, around 12 miles from the town of Danbury, CT, normally has around 600 students in grades kindergarten through four.
Mark Boughton, mayor of Danbury, tells CNN three victims have been sent to a hospital in his city in “very serious” condition, though he declined to comment on their age or identity.
Upon being appointed as principal of Sandy Hook in 2010, Dawn Hochsprung told the Newtown Bee,“I don’t think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day.”
In an emotional statement on the shooting President Obama said the country’s leaders must “take meaningful action” regardless of politics, in response to the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The president had apparent difficulty speaking and used his index finger to wipe tears away from the corner of his eyes.
“The majority of those who died were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,” Obama said. “They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own…”
World leaders have extended their condolences to the United States for what transpired in Newtown, Connecticut.
“I would like to express my shock at the tragic shooting at the school in Connecticut today,” European Union foreign chief Catherine Ashton said.
In a message of condolence to President Obama, British Queen Elizabeth II said she was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the shootings.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the targeting of children is “heinous and unthinkable,” and extended his thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims and all others traumatized by the rampage.