comments

UPDATE 5:20 P.M.: 28 dead, including gunman, in Connecticut school shooting

20 children among the dead
By: JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press
-A +A

Some of the deadliest mass shootings around world 

By The Associated Press

A gunman at a Connecticut elementary school killed more than two dozen people, including children, on Friday. It is among the world's worst mass shootings. Here is a look at some others:
 
— July 20, 2012: Twelve people are killed when a gunman enters an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, releases a canister of gas and then opens fire during opening night of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises." James Holmes, a 24-year-old former graduate student at the University of Colorado, has been charged in the deaths.
 
— March 11, 2012: Sixteen Afghan villagers, including nine children, are killed during a predawn attack in which Army prosecutors have charged Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39.
 
— July 22, 2011: Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik kills 77 in Norway in twin attacks: a bombing in downtown Oslo and a shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital. The self-styled anti-Muslim militant admitted both attacks.
 
— Jan. 8, 2011: A gunman kills six people and wounds 13 others, including then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in a shooting spree outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. Doctors say Jared Lee Loughner, who has been sentenced to life in prison, suffers from schizophrenia.
 
— Aug. 3, 2010: Omar Thornton shot 10 people, eight of them fatally, within three minutes at the Hartford Distributors warehouse in Manchester, Conn., before killing himself in what was the worst mass shooting in Connecticut before Friday's school shootings in Newtown.
 
— Nov. 5, 2009: Thirteen soldiers and civilians were killed and more than two dozen wounded when a gunman walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, and opened fire. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.
 
— April 3, 2009: A 41-year-old man opened fire at an immigrant community center in Binghamton, N.Y., killing 11 immigrants and two workers. Jiverly Wong, a Vietnamese immigrant and a former student at the center, killed himself as police rushed to the scene.
 
— April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, kills 32 people and himself on Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va.
 
— Sept. 27, 2001: A 57-year-old Swiss man armed with weapons including a SIG-Sauer pistol and an assault rifle killed 14 people in a cantonal parliament building in the Swiss city of Zug. Friedrich Leibacher killed himself following the shootings, which also wounded 18 others. Leibacher had been angry over perceived mistreatment by government officials.
 
— April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.
 
— April 28, 1996: Martin Bryant, 29, bursts into cafeteria in seaside resort of Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia, shooting 20 people to death. Driving away, he kills 15 others. He was captured and imprisoned.
 
— March 13, 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, kills 16 kindergarten children and their teacher in elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and then kills himself.
 
— Oct. 16, 1991: A deadly shooting rampage took place in Killeen, Texas, as George Hennard opened fire at a Luby's Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life. Twenty others were wounded in the attack.
 
— July 18, 1984: James Oliver Huberty, an out-of-work security guard, kills 21 people in a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty.
 
— Aug. 1, 1966: Charles Whitman opened fire from the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin, killing 16 people and wounding 31.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

UPDATE 5:20 P.M.: NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A man killed his mother at home and then opened fire Friday inside the elementary school where she taught, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom.

The 20-year-old killer, carrying two handguns, committed suicide at the school, bringing the death toll to 28, authorities said.
 
The rampage, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead in 2007.
 
"Our hearts are broken today," a tearful President Barack Obama, struggling to maintain his composure, said at the White House. He called for "meaningful action" to prevent such shootings. "As a country, we have been through this too many times," he said.
 
Police shed no light on the motive for the attack on two classrooms. The gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, was believed to suffer from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to discuss it.
 
Panicked parents looking for their children raced to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a prosperous New England community of about 27,000 people 60 miles northeast of New York City. Police told youngsters at the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school to close their eyes as they were led from the building.
 
Schoolchildren — some crying, others looking frightened — were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders.
 
Law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity said that Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, and then drove to the school in her car with three guns, including a high-powered rifle that he apparently left in the back. Authorities said he shot up two classrooms, but they otherwise gave no details on how the attack unfolded.
 
A custodian ran through the halls, warning of a gunman on the loose, and someone switched on the intercom, alerting people in the building to the attack — and perhaps saving many lives — by letting them hear the hysteria apparently going on in the school office, a teacher said.
 
Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.
 
State police Lt. Paul Vance said 28 people in all were killed, including the gunman, and a woman who worked at the school was wounded.
 
Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, but a law enforcement official said he was not believed to have had any role in the rampage. Investigators were searching his computers and phone records, but he told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.
 
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the unfolding investigation.
 
At one point, a law enforcement official mistakenly identified the gunman as Ryan Lanza. Brett Wilshe, a friend of Ryan Lanza's, said Lanza told him the gunman may have had his identification. Ryan Lanza has a Facebook page that posted updates Friday afternoon that read, "It wasn't me" and "I was at work."
 
Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher. "That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."
 
He said the shooter didn't utter a word.
 
Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter was in the school and heard two big bangs. Teachers told her to get in a corner, he said.
 
"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said. His daughter was uninjured.
 
Theodore Varga said he was in a meeting with other fourth-grade teachers when he heard the gunfire, but there was no lock on the door.
 
He said someone had turned on the intercom so that "you could hear people in the office. You could hear the hysteria that was going on. I think whoever did that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror that was transpiring."
 
Also, a custodian ran around, warning people there was a gunman, Varga said.
 
"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!'" Varga said. "So he was actually a hero." The teacher said he did not know if the custodian survived.
 
Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and ran to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was uninjured, heard a scream come over the intercom. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.
 
"Everyone was just traumatized," he said.
 
Mary Pendergast said her 9-year-old nephew was in the school at the time of the shooting but wasn't hurt after his music teacher helped him take cover in a closet.
 
Richard Wilford's 7-year-old son, Richie, told him that he heard a noise that sounded like "cans falling." The boy said a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the children huddle in the corner until police arrived.
 
"There's no words," Wilford said. "It's sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him."
 
On Friday afternoon, family members were led away from a firehouse that was being used as a staging area, some of them weeping. One man, wearing a T-shirt without a jacket, put his arms around a woman as they walked down the middle of the street, oblivious to everything around them. Another woman with tears rolling down her face walked by, carrying a car seat with a baby inside.
 
"Evil visited this community today and it's too early to speak of recovery, but each parent, each sibling, each member of the family has to understand that Connecticut — we're all in this together. We'll do whatever we can to overcome this event," Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
 
Adam Lanza and his mother lived in a well-to-do part of Newtown where neighbors are doctors or hold white-collar positions at companies such as General Electric, Pepsi and IBM.
 
Three guns were found — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a .223-caliber rifle in the back of a car.
 
The shootings instantly brought to mind such tragedies as the Columbine High School massacre that killed 15 in 1999 and the July shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead.
 
"You go to a movie theater in Aurora and all of a sudden your life is taken," Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis said. "You're at a shopping mall in Portland, Ore., and your life is taken. This morning, when parents kissed their kids goodbye knowing that they are going to be home to celebrate the holiday season coming up, you don't expect this to happen."
 
He added: "It has to stop, these senseless deaths."
 
Obama's comments on the tragedy amounted to one of the most outwardly emotional moments of his presidency.
 
"The majority of those who died were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," Obama said.
 
He paused for several seconds to keep his composure as he teared up and wiped an eye. Nearby, two aides cried and held hands as they listened to Obama.
 
"They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own," Obama continued about the victims. "Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children."
 
___
 
Associated Press writers Jim Fitzgerald and Pat Eaton-Robb in Newtown, Bridget Murphy in Boston, Samantha Henry in Newark, N.J., Pete Yost in Washington and Michael Melia in Hartford contributed to this report, as did the AP News Research Center.