Connecticut Elementary School Shooting Claims Children, Adults [UPDATED]

A 20-year old man, identified as Adam Lanza, opened fire today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut after 9am this morning. Early reports state that 20 elementary-aged children between 5 and 10 years old were killed along with 6 adults and the shooter.

The shooting is the second most deadly school shooting in American history behind the Virginia Tech massacre more than 5 years ago.

Newtown, Connecticut is a city of ~27,000 in Fairfield County. Newtown is ~45 miles west of Hartford, CT and ~80 miles north of New York City.

Details on the incident are still being uncovered, but some facts are known at this time:

– Shooter Adam Lanza, 20, was the son of a teacher’s aide at Sandy Hook Elementary. His body was found inside the school, and he appears to have died from self-inflected gunshot wounds. His mother has been identified as one of the victims of the attack. His body was found with at least 3 weapons.

– Federal law enforcement officials have stated that 18-20 children are dead.

– Adult casualties include the school’s principal and psychologist.

– A second man, currently unidentified, was arrested in the woods near the school. The man stated to police, “I did not do it.” There is no indication that he had any involvement.

Police escorted students from the building as quickly as possible once the grounds were considered safe for evacuation. Police instructed children to close their eyes as they exited the building.

Parents were notified of a shooting at a school — the school wasn’t identified at the time — via robo-call. Panic ensued, and as details emerged, Sandy Hook parents gathered at a nearby firehouse to await news on the fate of their children.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is actively working with Federal officials and several state agencies, including emergency management, public health and the Department of Children and Families, to deal with the the situation and its aftermath.

President Barack Obama held a press conference in which he referred to the victims as “beautiful children,” saying that “our hearts are broken” for the victims’ families. The President, a father of two daughters, added that, “I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.”

The President has ordered flags to be lowered out of respect for the victims, and House Speaker John Boehner ordered flags to be lowered at the nation’s Capitol buildings.

UPDATE:

Below is the text of President Obama’s statement on the shooting:

This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller.  I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.  And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent.  And that was especially true today.  I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. 

The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.  They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.  Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. 

So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.  Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain. 

As a country, we have been through this too many times.  Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children.  And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another.  But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight.  And they need all of us right now.  In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans.  And I will do everything in my power as President to help.

Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need — to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.

May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

UPDATE:

Reports are surfacing that shooter Adam Lanza suffered from a litany of mental health issues, with acquaintances describing him as ‘troubled,’ ‘unstable’ and a ‘ticking time bomb.’

Police have said that they have uncovered evidence of Lanza’s motive, though the details haven’t been released.

 

Matthew Tabor

Matthew Tabor

Matthew is a prolific, independent voice in the national education debate. He is a tireless advocate for high academic standards from pre-K through graduate school, fiscal sense and personal responsibility. He values parents’ and families’ rights and believes in accountability for teachers, administrators, politicians and all taxpayer-funded education entities. With a unique background that includes work in higher education, executive recruiting, professional sport and government, Matthew has consulted on new media and communication strategies for a broad range of clients. He writes the blog “Education for the Aughts” at www.matthewktabor.com , has contributed to National Journal’s ‘Expert’ blog for Education , and interacts with the education community on Twitter and Google+.