26 Dead, Including 20 Kids, in Shooting at Connecticut Elementary School

5:00p.m.: A teacher's son -- clad in black and carrying two pistols -- rampaged through a Connecticut elementary school Friday, killing 20 small children and six adults, including his mother, in the nation’s second-worst school shooting.

The gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, 20, was also found dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Later, an unidentified woman was found fatally shot in the face at a home in Newtown after police showed up.

Officials initially told NBC News the gunman was Lanza's brother, Ryan, but he was nowhere near the shooting and is not believed to be involved. Ryan told investigators that Adam has a history of mental illness, according to a senior official.

Their mother is a kindergarten teacher at the hilltop school, and most of the dead were found inside her classroom.

Some young survivors, ages 5 to 10, described the terror of the shooting and a massive police response that included SWAT officers going room to room to search for victims as students huddled in classroom corners.

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 told the Associated Press. "He was very brave."

The high death toll and the tender age of many victims sent shock waves all the way to the White House, where the flag was lowered to half-staff.

President Obama, his voice cracking at times, said he reacted to the tragedy first as a parent.

“Our hearts are broken today,'' he said. “The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old.”

Authorities in the small bedroom community 60 miles from New York City were alerted to the unfolding carnage by a 911 call around 9:30 a.m., and then reached out to state police and neighboring police departments for help.

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said troopers fanned out across the school and searched “every door, every crack, every crevice” of the building.

Most of the bodies were found in two rooms in one section of the 600-student school, which goes up to the fourth grade.

Two children were taken to Danbury Hospital, but they died. A third person was being treated at the hospital, which went into lockdown mode and cleared trauma rooms as doctors waited for an influx of survivors that never came.

After police finished searching the school and determined there was only one gunman, they led the children outside, telling them to close their eyes, apparently to avoid seeing anything gruesome.

At a staging area ringed by police vehicles that raced to the school from across the state, the dazed and crying kids were reunited with worried loved ones.

Brenda Lebinski, mother of a third-grader, said she found a “horrendous” scene.

“Everyone was in hysterics -- parents, students. There were kids coming out of the school bloodied. I don't know if they were shot, but they were bloodied,'' she said.

One parent picking up his 7-year-old son said the shooting was “the most terrifying moment a parent can imagine." He went on to describe the anguish of waiting to find out if his son was a victim and then running to his child when he saw him.

“It was the greatest relief in my existence,” the father said. “I’m just happy that my kid’s OK.”

Two 9mm handguns were recovered from the scene. A rifle was found in the back of a car parked outside the school.

The FBI was assisting with the widening investigation, and authorities said there were many unanswered questions, including the motive.

“There is a great deal of search warrant activity…in and out of the state,” Vance said, without giving specifics.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy was meeting with grieving families.

“As you can imagine, the governor is horrified by what’s happened,” said aide Roy Occhiogrosso.

The death toll is the highest from a school shooting since a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. At Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, two teens killed 13 people and wounded 24 in 1999.

Parent Stephen Delgiadice, whose 8-year-old daughter was not hurt, said he never could have imagined such bloodshed in the quiet town of 27,000, where the police force has only three detectives.

"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he told The Associated Press.

Obama said Friday’s shooting, following the massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and other murder sprees, showed the need for “meaningful action…regardless of the politics” to prevent more blood from being spilled.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg, who has been pushing for tougher gun laws, called for Washington to act immediately.

“Not even kindergarteners learning their A, B, Cs are safe,” he said. “We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again.”

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1:30 p.m.
A young man clad in black and carrying two handguns rampaged through a Connecticut elementary school Friday, killing 18 small children and seven adults in the nation’s second-worst school massacre, NBC News reports.

The gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, 20, was also found dead at the scene. Lanza is the son of a kindergarten teacher at the school.

One of his parents was later found dead at a home in New Jersey.

A second person is in custody for a possible connection to the shooting.

Some young survivors – all under age 10 -- described the terror of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, and a massive police response that included SWAT officers going room to room to search for victims.

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12:50PM
Twenty-six people, including 18 children, were killed when a gunman opened fire in a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning, a law enforcement official said.

The gunman, who is dead, was a 20-year-old from Connecticut, an official said. He was wearing all black and was carrying two 9mm handguns.

Another person who walked into the school at the same time as the gunman was being held by police and questioned, an official said.

The incident -- the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history after a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 -- sent crying children spilling into the school parking lot as frightened parents waited for word on their loved ones.

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12:15 PM
26 people were killed, including 18 children, when a gunman opened fire in a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning, NBC News reports.

The gunman, who is dead, was a 20-year-old from Connecticut. He was wearing all black and was carrying two 9mm handguns.

The incident sent crying children spilling into the school parking lot as frightened parents waited for word on their loved ones.

"I was in the gym and I heard a loud, like seven loud booms, and the gym teachers told us to go in the corner, so we all huddled," one student at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown told NBC Connecticut during its live broadcast. "And I kept hearing these booming noises. And we all … started crying.

"All the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us," she added. "So then a police officer came in and told us to run outside. So we did and we came in the firehouse and waited for our parents."

Two 9mm handguns were recovered from the scene, an official told WNBC's Jonathan Dienst.

Three people were taken to nearby Danbury Hospital, a spokeswoman told NBC Connecticut. She would not elaborate on the ages of the victims or their conditions.

One of those taken to the hospital was a teacher who had been shot in the foot, the Associated Press reported, citing a dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

It is also reported that one child, apparently wounded, was carried from the scene by a police officer.

Pictures taken at the scene show crying students being escorted from the school by police. They were taken to a nearby fire station where their parents were picking them up.

A third-grader said that police checked students and staffers before they were escorted to the fire station.

"We had to walk with a partner," she said.

NBC Connecticut reported that the entire school district was in lockdown.

At Sandy Hook, police, ATF and FBI agents were going room to room searching the school.

President Obama was notified about the shooting and continues to receive updates, according to a White House official.

Newtown is about 45 miles southwest of Hartford and 60 miles northeast of New York City.

The K-4 school has about 600 students.


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