Twenty seven people are dead, including 18 children, at a Connecticut elementary school after a 20-year-old man went on a shooting rampage.
The shooting happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, a town of about 28,000 people an hour outside of Stamford. Newtown Police were called to the school at about 9:30 a.m. Eastern time after receiving a 911 call. They alerted Connecticut State Police and authorities began an active shooter investigation once they arrived at the school, according to Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance.
Authorities held a press conference at 1 p.m. and said students and staff at the school were killed and that the gunman was found dead inside the school. They did not confirm the number of fatalities. However, reports said the school's principal and a school psychologist were among the dead.
Early reports wrongly identified as 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, a former Quinnipiac University student. His brother, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, has been identified as the gunman in Newtown who killed 20 children, six adults and himself, according to the Huffington Post. He was armed with four guns and a high-powered assault rifle. Authorities are currently searching his father’s home in New Jersey as part of the ongoing investigation. Lanza's mother lives in Newtown and was a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which has close to 600 students in kindergarten through fourth grade. She was among those killed, according to several news reports.
Police also have a second suspect in custody. According to eyewitness accounts, police found a man in the woods near the school wearing camouflage pants and took him in for questioning. As the man passed parents gathered near the school, he said “I didn’t do it,” according to CBS News.
A parent interviewed on CBS News also told the network that his 8-year-old daughter said she heard an argument and cursing over the school’s loudspeaker, apparently coming from the principal’s office. Her teacher then immediately locked the classroom door as a safety precaution.
A fourth-grade student at Sandy Hook Elementary School told Connecticut’s Channel 7 that he and his classmates were “locked in a closet in the gym” to escape the gunman.
One mother of an 8-year-old girl at the school, Brenda Lebinski, told Patch that her daughter is safe thanks to one teacher's decision to move all kids into a closet when a gunman had entered the building.
Authorities said the scene is now secure and that there is no longer a threat to public safety. They will be providing more details and holding another press conference on the incident as soon as they notify the families of the victims.