Major news outlets are reporting that a gunman has killed at least 27 people, many of them children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. It is said to be the
worst school shooting in history second worst school shooting in history, after the Virginia Tech Massacre, which left 33 dead. Newtown lies about 65 miles northeast of New York City and 40 miles west of Wesleyan, just off of I-84.
The Hartford Courant is reporting the at least 27 are dead, including at least 18 children. A more conservative estimate from earlier in the day put the death toll at 12, but the AP just released the higher figure, which spread quickly.
BREAKING: Official with knowledge of Conn. school shooting: 27 dead, including 18 children
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 14, 2012
The first calls came in at 9:30 a.m. this morning. According to the Courant, one entire classroom was completely unaccounted for as of 10:30. Apparently, many of the victims were in one particular kindergarten class. There is no indication that the shooter had any relation to the school or students.
The shooter is confirmed dead, although it is unclear as to whether his wound was self-inflicted or from police fire. According to ABCNews, there were two weapons from the scene recovered, although reports of a second shooter are unconfirmed. Police were seen going house to house in that neighborhood and were said to be looking for a second shooter.
A press conference with state police can be seen here around 1:15 p.m., courtesy of ABCnews.com.
Although not the most official word, while setting up a microphone on the livestream a reporter from NBC Washington could be overheard telling a fellow journalist that this is “the worst things [he’s] ever seen.”
This is the worst mass shooting in the United States since a gunman killed 12 and injured 58 at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO, and the first shooting since six were killed at a Wisconsin Sikh temple in August.
Newtown is about 40 miles from Middletown in Fairfield County.
More details to come after press conference.
1:30 p.m. Update: “One of the shooters” was 24 years-old, says ABCNews, and police believe that there is, in fact, a second gunman.
Newly-elected CT Senator Chris Murphy posts response to shooting on Facebook.
Former Wesleyan and Oxford professor, former CT candidate for Congress, and current badass Michael John Williams just posted on Sen. Murphy’s Facebook wall regarding gun control laws. From the post: “I really hope you push the need for stronger gun control laws at the federal level when you get to the Senate. The current situation is just unacceptable… I would love to see you and our entire delegation own this issue… The situation has been unacceptable for too long, and today it hit far too close to home for us in Connecticut…” It’ll be interesting to see what this situation does politically, in light of the backlash to NBC Newsman Bob Costas’s recent comments about gun control.
1:44 p.m. Update: State Police Lt. Paul Dantz did not mention a second shooter at press conference , but says that “every crevice” of the school was searched, indicating that someone may still be missing. Governor Daniel Malloy is on scene now and is speaking to parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse. President Obama has been briefed on the situation and has spoken to Gov. Malloy.
206 p.m. Update: Governor Malloy has spoken to President Obama, according to his spokesperson. The President “pledged whatever resources the federal government could bring to bear.”
2:25 p.m. Update: According to Gothamist, “NBC’s Pete Williams reports a parent of the suspected shooter has been found dead at a home in New Jersey.”
2:26 p.m. Update: The suspect is named Ryan Lanza of New Jersey. Twitter is now going crazy trying to identify his Facebook or Twitter account.
2:27 p.m. Update:
Alleged #Newtown shooter identified by CNN as Ryan Lanza. NBC News reports shooter’s parent found dead in NJ
— Hartford Courant (@hartfordcourant) December 14, 2012
2:46 p.m. Update (from Zach): According to my Twitter feed, “Some gun control groups will be holding a vigil outside the White House at 4:30.” I wonder if Wesleyan will follow suit with a vigil tonight or tomorrow.
2:52 p.m. Update: According to Melodious, “some sources are saying that the initial report about his father being found dead in his home may be false.” Here’s the update from ACB News:
The gunman has been identified as Ryan Lanza, 24, of New Jersey. A dead body has also been found in his home, officials said. Sources said Lanza was armed with four weapons and wearing a bullet-proof vest when he opened fire in the elementary school.
Among the dead was the gunman’s mother, found in the school, sources told ABC News.
2:56 p.m. Update: Another Ryan Lanza has been misidentified. Seems reminiscent of the Stephen Morgan debacle, which led to a lawsuit back in 2009.
3:17 p.m. Update: Middletown Superintendent of Schools Patricia Charles sent a letter to parents assuring them that they will “redouble our efforts to try to prevent such an occurrence from happening in our schools.”
3:18 p.m. Update: Obama is speaking. And tearing up. Video here.
4:26 p.m. Update: The shooter has now been identified as 20 year-old Adam Lanza. He and his brother, Ryan, had their names mistakenly transposed in previous reports. Source. Flags are now flying at half-staff.