NEWTOWN, Connecticut — At least 27 people, including 20 children and their principal, were shot to death this morning at an elementary school in Connecticut.
The shooting took place shortly after 9:30 this morning, when police received a call that a “masked man” in black military gear had entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire. The gunman is among the dead.
According to Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police, both on and off-duty troopers responded to the 911 call.
“Our main objective was to evacuate as quickly as possible,” he stated during a press conference this afternoon. “The shooter is deceased inside the building. … The scene is secure.”
As of press time, Danbury Hospital, just 11 miles from the school, had only received three patients, inferring that most of those that had been gunned down died at the scene.
According to reports, the gunman has been identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Lanza is believed to have shot his mother in the face this morning at her home, and then taking her firearms and car, he drove to the school where he opened fire, mainly on a first grade class.
It not known whether the 20-year-old gunman was taken out by authorities or if he committed suicide. He was found armed with both a rifle and handgun.
Teachers at Sandy Hook elementary school state that as they heard dozens of gunshots going off inside of the building, they rushed to hide the children in a secure location.
Parent Lisa Procaccini told reporters that her daughter is safe and sound because of the efforts of her reading teacher.
“She was in a small class — a reading group — and they started hearing bangs,” Procaccini explained. “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.”
Another parent, Brenda Lebinski, explained that she was told by a mother who was at the school during the time of the shooting that her daughter’s third grade teacher “immediately locked the door to the classroom and put all the kids in the corner of the room.”
She raced to the school to pick up her child upon hearing the news of the massacre.
“It was horrendous,” Lebinski said. “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.”
Photographs of the scene show police lining tearful and frightened children up outside of the building in efforts to escort them to safety. Parents were also photographed in hysteria as they did not know whether their child was alive or dead.
Police anticipate releasing further information as it becomes available. Lt. Vance told reporters that his priority at this time is to notify the parents of the deceased.
The entire Newtown School District is currently on lockdown and afternoon kindergarten at Sandy Hook Elementary School has been canceled. The school teaches grades k-4. Danbury Hospital is also on lockdown for precautionary reasons.
Next to the 1999 Colorado Columbine shooting, the massacre is believed to be one of the worst in American history, and is likely the largest tragedy in the nation involving the intentional, systematic killing of elementary school children.