A deranged gunman opened fire inside an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut today, leaving at least 27 dead, including 20 children.
The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, went from classroom to classroom firing randomly. Lanza is dead inside the school. It isn’t clear if Lanza was shot by law enforcement or if he took his own life.
Lanza apparently shot his father at his New Jersey home before driving to the school and shooting his mother, a teacher at the school. He then went on a shooting rampage in 2 rooms of the school.
Police say the first 911 call reporting gunfire at Sandy Hook Elementary School came in at 9:41 a.m. Hundreds of federal and local law enforcement officials responded to the scene.
Worried parents also rushed to the school to pick up their children. Frightened children were told to keep their eyes closed as they were led out of the school by teachers and parents. The school holds 600 children.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation at the school. Spokesman Jay Carney said the White House had “enormous sympathy for families that are affected” and would “do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement.”
The suspect reportedly used a .223 caliber assault rifle. In addition to the assault rifle, 2 handguns were recovered at the scene. The massacre is the latest in a shocking history of school massacres in America involving high powered weapons.
The number of dead exceeds the 13 students and teachers killed during the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. 2 shooters were also involved in that massacre. At the time, Columbine was the worst school shooting in American history.
UPDATE: 6:55 pm ET: The shooter’s father was not killed. He is alive and lives in Stamford, CT.
UPDATE: 6:40 pm ET: Officials say Lanza’s mother was a kindergarten teacher at the school and most of the child victims were in her class. Lanza’s mother may have been killed at her home near the school. Lanza drove her car to the school. Lanza lived with his mother.
UPDATE: 4:50 pm ET: Officials identify the shooter as Adam Lanza, 20, who may have been carrying his brother Ryan Lanza’s ID.
UPDATE 2:35 pm ET: The dead gunman’s name is Ryan Lanza, 24, of New Jersey. The body of his father was found inside his NJ home.
UPDATE: CBS News reports that law enforcement officials have found a body at the New Jersey home of the 24-year-old shooter. NPR is reporting that Connecticut’s examiner’s office is reaching out to other states to help with autopsies because they don’t have enough medical examiners on staff.
Photos: AP, Reuters, The Newtown Bee