First responders to Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning encountered “several students and staff suffering from gunshot wounds,” according to a press release issued by Connecticut State Police.
On- and off-duty troopers and Newtown Police Department officers responded to what the world quickly learned was a horrifying, unimaginable scene following a 9:30 a.m. 911 call reporting a possible shooting at the school, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the state police said in the press release.
“Upon arrival, teams of Troopers and Officers formed ‘Active Shooter Teams’ and immediately entered the school,” Vance said in the release. “Teams performed rescues of students and staff, removing them to a safe location as they searched for the shooting suspect within the building. The building was evacuated and students walked hand in hand out to a safe location.”
The shooter, whose identity police have not yet confirmed, was found dead inside the school, Vance said. Police have said the gunman shot himself.
Multiple media outlets have identified 20-year-old Adam Lanza as the gunman. Vance also confirmed that a relative of the gunman was found dead at a residence in Sandy Hook. That deceased person is believed to be Lanza’s mother, a teacher at the school.
In all, 27 people were killed, police said, including 20 children. Among the adults killed were the school’s beloved principal and psychologist.
The identities of all victims have been established, Vance said. Families of those killed have asked that no media members press them for interviews, Vance said.
The bodies of those that perished have been transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner, which is located in Farmington—a suburb of Hartford about 40 miles away.
“State Police Major Crime Investigators are continuing to process the school crime scene, gathering evidence and documenting the entire facility,” Vance said in the press release. “State Police Detectives assisted by Newtown Detectives processed the interior and exterior crime scene. Teams of investigators flooded the community and followed each lead, developing extensive information.”
Newtown residents reeling from the massacre of 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school Friday are facing questions as they wake up to a living nightmare about the gunman’s motive, weapons and just what happened.
Police are expected to hold a press conference at 8 a.m. and have said that they are “working backwards” to piece together the “why” behind the mass shooting in this normally quiet area. A town of about 27,000, Newtown is 45 miles southwest of Hartford, or about 60 miles northeast of New York City. A 12 p.m. Saturday prayer service is scheduled for St. John's Episcopal Church in Sandy Hook, a neighborhood of the town.
Newtown police Lt. George Sinko, the department’s public information officer, told Patch Saturday morning that investigators have no sense of what prompted the gunman to act.
“There is no sense of motive at this time,” Sinko said.
Though Connecticut State Police have declined to identify the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, several news outlets citing police sources have identified 20-year-old Adam Lanza. According to NBC News, three weapons used in the shootings—two 9 mm handguns and a rifle—were legally purchased and registered to Lanza’s mother, a teacher at the school whom police say was found dead at her Sandy Hook home.
Parents of schoolchildren at the scene Friday told Patch that the school was locked and that visitors need to be buzzed in. Sinko said Saturday that the gunman appeared to have blasted his way inside.
Police radio dispatches aired by CNN reveal harrowing early communications to emergency responders who arrived at the elementary school around 9:40 a.m. Friday.
"Caller is indicating she thinks that someone is shooting in the building," a dispatcher says. "The front glass has been broken. We are not sure why."
And later: "All units, the individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire. Units are responding to Sandy Hook School at this time. The shooting appears to have stopped. The school is in lockdown."
According to Sinko, the gunman shot out glass next to the front door of the school.
“We say that because the window next to the door was shattered. We are still investigating," Sinko said.
Sinko said investigators are sorting through a “tremendous amount of evidence,” adding that police are looking for no other suspects than the suspected gunman who also was found dead inside the school.
Much of the investigators’ work involves checking motor vehicles, Sinko said.
Sinko said that police are not releasing the names of the suspect or children killed.
Patch will update this article with new information from state police and other officials throughout Saturday.
More links to Newtown Patch’s coverage here:
- Reaction: Sandy Hook School Shooting
- Police Raid Sandy Hook Home Hours After Shooting
- [PHOTOS] Newtown School Shooting