Police have confirmed that 27 people have been killed in a shooting rampage at an elementary school in Connecticut on Friday.
Adam Lanza has been identified as the suspected shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, the Associated Press reports.
Police initially identified the shooter as Ryan Lanza, the 24-year-old elder brother of Adam Lanza. According to the AP, the error occurred when a law enforcment official transposed the names of the two men.
CNN and NBC have reported that the gunman's mother, Nancy Lanza, was a kindergarten teacher at the school.
Children are escorted to safety
Twenty children were killed at the school and a second crime scene is being investigated in Newtown at which "there is an adult deceased", officials confirmed.
A neighbor of Ryan Lanza's parents in Sandy Hook told The Huffington Post that police are at Lanza's parents house.
The shooter was killed during the rampage and several others were injured. The identities of the shooting victims has not yet been released.
He was wearing dark clothing, a mask, a bulletproof vest, and was carrying four guns. A cause and manner of death is pending, police said.
Law enforcement officers said in a press statement that the area was now secure, and that the public is no longer in danger.
State policeman Lieutenant Paul Vance said shootings had taken place in two different rooms in the school.
"It's a very, very difficult scene," he said. "It's a tragedy. It's a tragic scene."
A law enforcement official in Washington said the attacker used a .223-calibre rifle.
President Barack Obama has called Governor Dan Malloy, and pledged "whatever resources the federal government can bring to bear to assist families and the investigation," according to his senior adviser Roy Occhiogrosso at the same press conference.
A photo from the scene shows crying children being escorted to safety by police officers. Children at the school are between five and 10 years old.
Eight-year-old Alexis Wasik, a third-grader at the school, told the Hartford Courant police were checking everybody inside the school before they were escorted to the firehouse.
"We had to walk with a partner," she said.
Stephen Delgiadice told the Associated Press that his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.
An aerial view of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut
"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.
The superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City.
Parents of children attending local schools received automated phone calls saying all schools in the area had been put on "lockdown" as a safety precaution, meaning all buildings had been locked, allowing nobody to leave or enter.
President Obama said "There is not a parent in America who does not feel the same overwhelming grief as I do" after 27 people, including 18 children, were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.
In an emotional address to the nation from the White House, Obama said that "as a country, we have been through this too many times".
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration would "do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement".
Jillian Cruwys, a parent of children at another school in Newtown, told BBC News: "I'm just in complete shock. It sounds like a cliche, but Newtown is the last place you would think this would happen.
"The first thing we heard this morning was there had been an apparent shooting and three possible injuries, and I just can't believe the numbers we're being told now."
Ms Cruwys received a second automated call within an hour from the principal of her children's school to say that all teachers and children at their school were safe.
She continued: "This is just so devastating, the number of families that are impacted by this, it's just really, really hard to know.
"It is a wonderful, very tight-knit and supportive community, a lot of people do volunteer work and stuff. I don't know how anybody deals with something like this. I really don't know, I just think time will tell."
One mother of an 8-year-old girl at the school, Brenda Lebinski, told Patch that her daughter is safe thanks to one teacher's decision to move all kids into a closet when a gunman had entered the building.
12/17/2012 4:43 PM EST
Details On Funeral And Burial Process
The president of the Connecticut Funeral Director's Association said the funeral and burial process for Newtown victims, which began Monday with the separate burials of Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, who both were six-years-old, is unlike anything he has seen before.
"I've unfortunately seen lots of kids who have died," said Pasquale Forino, 46, who runs Neilan Funeral Home in New London, Conn. "But this truly shakes your foundation to the core, and in a small town like Newtown, they need lots of help to handle this week of burials."
Forino and a group of morticians who have volunteered have driven to Newtown every day since Friday to help tend to families who are grieving and prepare arriving bodies for viewings and burials. The main funeral home in the town, Honan Funeral Home, is handling the process for 11 victims. Of those, Forino said he has worked on three -- all kids.
"It's not about me, it's about the families and victims. But it still affects us," he said. "We do what we can do to take care of the families. We'll deal with our own emotional needs later."
--HuffPost's Jaweed Kaleem
12/17/2012 4:42 PM EST
Officials: Local School Building Will Be Safe For Sandy Hook Students
Sandy Hook School students will be attending Chalk Hill School in Monroe, CT as an alternative education facility in the wake of the shooting. Monroe police answered questions during a press conference briefing about the preparations of the building for use by Sandy Hook Elementary School, and outlined how police officers will keep children safe and secure on their first day back to school.
12/17/2012 4:41 PM EST
Time to Rise Up and Say 'Enough' to Gun Violence
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, a New Jersey columnist urges people and politicians to fight for stronger gun control laws.
"Every time there is a mass shooting, we shake our heads and bemoan the tragic violence. We wonder aloud why our elected officials cannot stanch the flow of weapons. We rue the fact that there are so many troubled individuals out there, desperate for help and poised to commit terrible crimes, for no apparent reason. But nothing ever changes," she writes. "This holiday season, can we all rise up as one and say ENOUGH?"
12/17/2012 1:57 PM EST
NH Sen. Shaheen: 'We Need to Get Assault Weapons Off Our Streets'
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, issued a statement Monday in the wake of last week's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., saying it's time to get assault weapons off the streets.
"After a heartbroken weekend where the nation grieved with the families of Newtown, it's time for elected leaders to come together and determine what we can do to help end the culture of violence that is leading to these tragedies," Shaheen said. "We need a comprehensive approach that includes improving access to mental health services, better enforcement of our current laws, and we need to get deadly assault weapons off our streets."
12/17/2012 1:56 PM EST
NIH Study: Only 1/2 Kids In U.S. With Severe Mental Illness Get Treatment
A nationally representative face-to-face survey of more than 10,000 teens ages 13-18 turned up alarming findings about their access to professional mental health care.
Only about one-third of those with any lifetime mental disorder got professional help, and just half of those severely impaired by mental disorders received professional help, the study found. State and federal efforts to increase youth mental health services aren't working, it said. Racial and ethnic minority youth were least likely to get help, the study found.
-- HuffPost's David Wood
12/17/2012 1:54 PM EST
Crowds Forming at Services for Sandy Hook Victims
Via Newtown Patch:
Lines are forming outside funeral homes in Newtown, Fairfield and Monroe, CT as people assemble to pay their respects to three 6-year-olds who were among the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14. In Newtown, services for Jack Pinto, 6, are set to start at 1 p.m. In Fairfield, mourners gathered for services for Noah Pozner, 6.
A wake is scheduled today in Monroe for James Mattioli, 6. The three 6-year-olds are the first of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to be laid to rest. Funeral services for the other victims will take place tomorrow and Wednesday.
12/17/2012 1:53 PM EST
Westboro Baptist Church Member: Legalizing Gay Marriage 'Brings the Shooter Like it Did in CT'
The controversial Westboro Baptist Church has announced plans to protest outside of the Anne Arundel Circuit Court on Jan 2.—the first day same-sex couples will be able to wed there. "On that day the court starts committing that abomination that brings the shooter like it did in Connecticut," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of the church's founder.
She also made headlines this weekend when she claimed via Twitter that Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, was sent by God. She told Annapolis Patch, "God keeps sending the shooter."
12/17/2012 1:53 PM EST
AFT Urges Michigan Gov. Snyder To Veto Gun-In-Schools Bill
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFT Michigan President David Hecker on Sunday urged Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Sunday to veto legislation that would allow concealed firearms in schools and other locations.
The tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, is a “chilling and heartbreaking reminder” that “firearms have absolutely no place in our schools,” they wrote. “Gov. Snyder, please show the kind of leadership that students, families, educators and community members need to be as safe as possible in their schools. You can set an example for Michigan and the nation by taking this small but significant step to reduce gun violence by vetoing S.B. 59.”
View the letter here.
12/17/2012 10:23 AM EST
Small Acts Of Kindness
@ TVMarci :
Wow. Someone from CA just called the #Newtown General Store saying she wants to buy coffee for everyone in town. Every cup is billed to her
@ TVMarci :
Clerk @ #Newtown General Store started crying when woman offered to pay for every coffee purchased today. What an amazing #actofkindness
@ TVMarci :
This sign now hangs in front of the #Newtown General Store. Thank you, Tom Cabanaugh! #actofkindess http://t.co/DsLk5B2W
12/17/2012 10:20 AM EST
Police: Suspicious Person Puts Ridgefield Schools On Lockdown
Reports of a suspicious person at the Branchfield train station in Ridgefield Monday morning brought out police and placed all local schools on lockdown. Authorities, along with a K-9 unit, are canvassing the area after receiving a report of a man with an unknown item slung over his back. Police were first informed of the suspicious person at about 9 a.m.