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At least 26 dead in shooting at Connecticut elementary school

Authorities say at least 26 people, including 20 children, were killed Friday when a gunman clad in black military gear opened fire inside a Connecticut elementary school.

The shooter, identified as 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, lived in Hoboken, N.J., and had ties to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He was found dead inside the school, according to officials. 

A source told Fox News that Lanza's mother and father, who were divorced, were also killed. It's not clear whether Lanza's mother, a teacher at the school, was killed there or at another location.   

Local news outlets report that the shooting occurred inside a kindergarten classroom, and that all the pupils in that classroom are unaccounted for. 

An official with knowledge of the situation said the shooter was armed with a .223-caliber rifle. Four weapons in total were recovered from the scene. The motive is not yet known.

Police are also questioning another person in connection with the shooting. Witnesses told the Connecticut Post that a handcuffed man, dressed in camouflage, was led out of a nearby woods by officers. The individual is Lanza's younger brother, according to the Associated Press. 

Lanza is a 2006 graduate of Newtown High School. He is believed to have graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2010. On a Twitter page believed to be the Lanza's, a series of disturbing posts were found, including one that said, "I would actually love if the world ended in 2 weeks." 

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said during an afternoon news conference that police arrived at the scene "within minutes" of a 911 call placed shortly after 9:30 a.m.

"Every door, every crack, every crevice of that school" was checked, Vance said. “The entire school was searched.”

Vance did not give details about the number of victims other than to say they included students and staff, pending notification of the families. He said more information would be released, possibly later Friday.

The massacre began inside the school's main office as the principal was making morning announcements. Sources told Fox News students throughout the school could hear gunshots over the intercom system before the gunman entered the kindergarten classroom and continued his bloody rampage. 

A dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps said a teacher was shot in the foot and taken to Danbury Hospital. Local news outlets also reported that the principal was among those shot. 

Parent Lisa Procaccini told Fox News that her daughter was sitting in a classroom when she and others heard gun shots. 

"She was in a small class -- a reading group and they started hearing bangs," Procaccini said. "Her teacher, and I’m grateful  for this, rushed kids into the bathroom and locked the door. They told kids it was hammering and tried to keep them calm.”

"Children were crying," Procaccini said. "She did tell me about a little boy that was in a police officer’s arms, bleeding. I don’t know if she gets it."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said two firearms were found at the scene. 

President Obama was notified of the shooting around 10:30 am ET, White House officials said. 

The Newtown School District has locked down schools as a preventive measure to ensure the safety of students and staff.

A statement on the district's website stated that afternoon kindergarten classes have been canceled.

The elementary school has close to 700 students. 

Newtown is in Fairfield County, about 45 miles southwest of Hartford and 60 miles northeast of New York City. 


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Topics : Education
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Locations : ConnecticutFairfield CountyHartfordHobokenNew JerseyNew York CityNewtown
People : Lisa ProcacciniObamaPaul VanceRyan LanzaSandy Hook

12/14/2012 3:25PM
At least 26 dead in shooting at Connecticut elementary school
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