President Offers Grieving Town "The Love And Prayers Of A Nation"

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

The Victims:
Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female (age 6)
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male (age 7)
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female (age 6)
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female (age 7)
Ana Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female (age 6)
Dylan Hockley, 03/08/06, male (age 6)
Madeleine Hsu, 07/10/06, female (age 6)
Catherine Hubbard, 06/08/06, female (age 6)
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male (age 7)
Jesse Lewis, 06/30/06, male (age 6)
James Mattioli, 03/22/06, male (age 6)
Grace McDonnell, 11/04/05, female (age 7)
Emilie Parker, 05/12/06, female (age 6)
Jack Pinto, 05/06/06, male (age 6)
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male (age 6)
Caroline Previdi, 09/07/06, female (age 6)
Jessica Rekos, 05/10/06, female (age 6)
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female (age 6)
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male (age 6)
Allison Wyatt, 07/03/06, female (age 6)

Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female (age 29)
Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female (age 47)
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female (age 52)
Lauren Russeau, 1982, female (age 29)
Mary Sherlach, 02/11/56, female (age 56)
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female (age 27)

President Obama offered the Connecticut town grappling with the aftermath of a deadly school shooting "the love and prayers of a nation."

The president visited Newtown Sunday night, saying he is mindful that mere words cannot match the depth of the sorrow being felt where 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning. But he declared to the community, "You are not alone."

Mr. Obama said people all across the country have wept with them. The president spoke at a vigil following his private meetings with the families and first responders.

President Obama said the nation is failing to keep its children safe, pledging that change must come. "What choice do we have? Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"

Privately, he told Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy that Friday was the most difficult day of his presidency. This was the fourth trip of Obama's presidency to a grieving city in the aftermath of a mass shooting.

Details are emerging that the man responsible for the carnage may have had even bigger, more gruesome plans. A law enforcement official says 20-year-old Adam Lanza had "lots of ammo" on him when he killed himself, enough to carry out considerably more carnage. Multiple 30-round magazines and hundreds of bullets have been found at the school.

A Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle were found inside the school. A fourth weapon, a shotgun, was found in the car Lanza drove to the school. A law enforcement official said some guns owned by Adam's mother match the models used in the shooting. State police records show Nancy Lanza had legally purchased five firearms and all were registered in Connecticut.

Gov. Malloy said Sunday that Adam decided to kill himself when he heard first responders closing in after about 10 minutes of shooting.

Authorities say Lanza shot his mother four times in the head before going to the school. Nancy was found in her bed wearing pajamas. It's not clear what time she was killed. The medical examiner says Adam died of a single gunshot wound to the head that was self-inflicted. The bullet was recovered in a classroom wall.

Investigators say Adam visited an area shooting range, but have not concluded whether he actually practiced shooting there. Ginger Colbrun, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, would not identify the shooting range in question or say how recently he was there.

She says investigators have concluded that Nancy, visited shooting ranges several times. Colbrun says it's still not clear whether Nancy brought her son to the range or whether he ever fired a weapon there.

Authorities are trying to determine whether students who survived the rampage will be able to return to classes. Newtown Police Lt. George Sinko said Sunday that school officials will determine what happens, but that he thinks it will be very difficult for the children to return. He said authorities want to keep the children together because the survivors "need to support each other."

Funerals have been scheduled for seven of the shooting victims. Services for 6-year-olds Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto are planned for Monday. The funeral for 6-year-old Jessica Rekos is Tuesday. On Wednesday, there will be funerals for 7-year-old Daniel Barden and 27-year-old teacher Victoria Soto. Services will be held on Thursday for 6-year-old Catherine Hubbard. A private service has been planned for 6-year-old Dylan Hockley. No date was announced.

A law enforcement official said Saturday night Adam Lanza had Asperger's syndrome, but experts say there's no connection between the disorder and violent behavior. Asperger's is a mild form of autism often characterized by social awkwardness. The official said Adam had been diagnosed with Asperger's.

Columbus, Ohio, psychologist Eric Butter says research suggests people with autism have a higher rate of aggressive behavior than the general population. He says this includes outbursts, shoving or angry shouting, but typically does not include planned, intentional violence.

High school classmates say Lanza was bright but painfully shy, anxious and a loner. Butter says those characteristics are consistent with Asperger's.

Authorities have not spoken publicly of any possible motive. They've found no note and Lanza had no criminal history. Witnesses said the shooter didn't utter a word.

Adam had trouble relating to fellow students and teachers at Newtown High School, but that was only part of his problem. He seemed not to feel physical or emotional pain in the same way as classmates.

Richard Novia was the school district's head of security until 2008 and served as adviser for the school technology club that Adam and his older brother belonged to. The group offered students a chance to work on computers, videotape school events and produce public-access broadcasts. Novia said Adam clearly "had some disabilities."

He told The Associated Press that if Adam had burned himself, he would not have felt it physically. He remembered that the boy sometimes had "an episode" and completely withdrew from whatever was happening around him.

Adam's father said Saturday night his family is saddened and struggling to make sense of what happened. Peter Lanza said in a statement that "our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy." Peter said "no words can truly express how heartbroken we are" and that relatives are "in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can."

Adam Lanza's parents filed for divorce in 2008. A sheriff in New Hampshire where mother Nancy once lived, read a statement saying the family is trying to understand "the tremendous loss." Rockingham County Sheriff Michael Downing said Nancy's brother James Champion, a retired police captain in Kingston, New Hampshire, and other relatives express their "heartfelt sorrow." Another officer said "the whole family is traumatized by this event."

Champion would not discuss what might have triggered his nephew to go on the shooting spree. Nancy's family described her as kind, loving and considerate. She was once a stockbroker for John Hancock in Boston.


Adam Lanza

A medical examiner said Saturday afternoon all the victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds fired from a rifle. Dr. H. Wayne Carver said "everybody was hit more than once." All six adults killed were women. Of the 20 children shot to death, eight were boys and 12 were girls. All the children were ages 6 or 7.

Newtown officials said school principal Dawn Hochsprung was killed while lunging at Lanza as she tried to overtake him. Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance confirmed Adam was not voluntarily let into the school.

Board of Education chairwoman Debbie Liedlien says administrators were coming out of a meeting when Adam forced his way into the school and ran toward them. Jeff Capeci is chairman of the town's Legislative Council. Asked whether Hochsprung is a hero, he said, "From what we know, it's hard to classify her as anything else."

Hochsprung had worked at the school for two years. Both Liedlien and Capeci say she immediately became a beloved figure. Liedlien said "it's so sad to lose somebody like her" and that residents are feeling "a deep sense of loss" over her death. Hochsprung had frequently tweeted photos from her job and wrote upbeat tweets about what was going on at the school. More hauntingly, several publications report she wrote a letter before the school year outlining new safety measures, including locked doors during school hours.

Adam's 24-year-old brother Ryan of Hoboken, New Jersey was at work in New York City when the gunfire erupted. A law enforcement official said he has been "extremely cooperative." The official said Ryan Lanza's computers and phone records were being searched, but only "in an abundance of caution." He said Ryan told authorities he had not been in touch with his brother in recent years. Several neighbors of the Lanzas in Connecticut said they knew little about the family.


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