Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: Gunman Forced His Way Into Building, Say Police (PICTURES)

15/12/2012 16:11

Evidence has been found that could help explain the motives of the lone gunman behind one of the worst mass school shootings in American history, police said on Saturday.

Officers found evidence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed, and at a second crime scene where a woman was found dead, Lt Paul Vance told a press conference.


Lt Paul Vance addressed the media on Saturday

The gunman is believed to be 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who killed his mother Nancy at their home before going on the rampage at the school, although Lt Vance refused to confirm the gunman's identity.

"Our investigators at the crime scene, the school and secondarily at the secondary crime scene we discussed where the female was located deceased, did produce some very good evidence in this investigation that our investigators will be able to use in hopefully painting the complete picture as to how and more importantly why this occurred," he said.

He also revealed the gunman forced his way into the school.

Lt Vance added: "It is believed he was not voluntarily let into the school at all, that he forced his way into the school but that is as far as we can go on that."

Lanza shot dead 18 children aged between five and 10 and six adults at the school where his mother Nancy was a teacher, before killing himself.

Two other children shot at the scene died in hospital later.

Lt Vance said that the identity of those killed had been confirmed and that they would be released as soon as possible.

Those believed dead include principal Dawn Hochsprung, who had been in charge since 2010.

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

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

Via Patch:

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'

Via Patch:

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'

Via Patch:

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

12/17/2012 10:20 AM EST

Police: Suspicious Person Puts Ridgefield Schools On Lockdown

From Patch:

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.

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