After killing mother, Lanza, 20, drove to the school carrying her three guns
The gunman in the U.S.’ second deadliest school shooting forced his way into an elementary school in Connecticut, where he shot 26 people, 20 of them children, a spokesman for the State Police said on Saturday as the medical examiner completed the grim task of identifying the victims.
The chilling details about the opening moments of the bloodbath in the bucolic community of Newtown came as investigators pressed for information about the gunman, Adam Lanza, 20. A police spokesman, Lt. J. Paul Vance, said investigators had produced “some very good evidence,” but he provided no explanation for a massacre that unfolded with chilling speed as Lanza opened fire in one classroom and then another, turning a place where children were supposed to be safe — an elementary school with a sign-out front that said “Visitors Welcome” — into a national symbol of heartbreak and horror.
Lt. Vance said the victims’ bodies had been taken from the school, Sandy Hook Elementary. The one survivor, a woman who was shot and wounded at the school, would be “instrumental” in piecing together what had happened. He declined to describe the evidence that he said investigators, who continued to comb through the one-storey school on Saturday, had found.
Officials said the killing spree began early on Friday at the house where Lanza had lived with his mother, Nancy Lanza. There, he shot her in the face, making her his first victim, the authorities said. Then, leaving her dead after taking three guns that apparently belonged to her, he climbed into her car for the short drive to the school. Two of the guns were semiautomatic pistols. Outfitted in combat gear, Lanza forced his way into the school, apparently defeating an intercom system that was supposed to keep people out during the day unless someone inside the school buzzed them in. This contradicted earlier reports that he had been recognised and allowed to enter.
“He was not voluntarily let into the school at all,” Lt. Vance said. “He forced his way in.”
President Barack Obama, meanwhile, used his weekly radio and Internet address to mourn the victims, saying “every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt.”
The President’s address was similar to a statement he read in the White House press room on Friday, when he paused, more than once, and wiped his eyes.
“Our hearts are broken today,” Mr. Obama said in his address. He mentioned other places where there had been mass shootings this year, including a mall in Oregon, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and a movie theatre in Colorado, as well as “countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia.”
“'Any of these neighbourhoods could be our own,” Mr. Obama said. “So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.” — New York Times News Service