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[Updated 9:26 p.m.] Police Hope to ID Victims, Shooter in Newtown Killings Saturday

Connecticut state police say an investigation is underway to piece together what motivated the gunman that killed 20 children, six adults and himself Friday morning.

Update 9:26 p.m.

Saying officials will identify all victims in the mass killings at a Newtown elementary school — including the shooter, who took his own life — on Sunday, state police called the day’s shocking events “heart-wrenching.”

No parents have been given access to the inside of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the bodies of 18 children, six adults and suspected gunman Adam Lanz remain, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said Friday night at a press conference. Two other children died after they were transported to a nearby hospital.

All family members of the deceased have been notified, Vance said.

A press conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Vance said.

Vance spoke in general terms of the investigation into the shooter, whom multiple media outlets have identified as Lanz, citing police sources.

“At this point we are confident that we have the shooter,” Vance said.

All of that shooter’s relatives have been identified and contacted, Vance said. Lanz’s brother had been detained earlier in the day Friday, within hours of the shooting, which started at approximately 9:40 a.m. Their mother has been confirmed among those killed, as has the school’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung.

“I think what we have got to do is … look at all the history,” Vance said of the police investigation. “We will go backwards and hopefully stumble on answers.”

Update 7:10 p.m.

Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza, whose older brother had been detained by police in New Jersey earlier Friday, has been identified as the gunman in Newtown who killed 20 children, six adults and himself, according to the Huffington Post.

Citing multiple media outlets including CNN, the Huffington Post said many media organizations had relied on inaccurate information to report the shooter as Adam Lanza’s brother earlier in the day. As reported by Patch, the brother — Ryan Lanza — now is grieving not only for his brother but also their mother, a teacher at the school who numbers among those killed.

David Owens, a Hartford Courant reporter, said during a TV interview that police sources say other people outside of the school may also have been killed by the gunman.

UPDATE 6:20 P.M.

State police confirmed that one person was responsible for the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults, saying the gunman has been tentatively identified but declining to identify him.

“We will identify the shooter at an appropriate time,” Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said during a 5 p.m. press conference Friday. “Just for our investigatory purposes it’s not appropriate right now.”

“We will leave no stone unturned as we are looking at every facet of this investigation,” Vance said, adding that police would hold another briefing around 6 p.m.

Vance confirmed that local, state and federal officials responded to the shocking incident in this normally peaceful southwestern Connecticut town, including an FBI crisis team. Counseling has been made available not only to affected families but also to first responders on scene.

“We provided counseling for the first responders, because this was a very tragic, horrific scene that we encountered,” Vance said.

The gunman shot and killed himself, Vance said.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.

The actions of one gunman — 27 lives lost. 

"This is an active ongoing investigation" Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said at an afternoon press conference Friday, updating the assembled media about the state of the investigation into the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Vance confirmed the death toll: 20 children, 6 adults, including the shooter, and one adult victim at a "secondary scene" in Connecticut.

But in response to multiple questions from press, Vance said at one point: "There are a lot of things we cannot confirm."

He did offer the beginning of a basic timeline, saying the first call came in at around 9:30 a.m.

"Officers immediately entered the school to search for students, faculty and staff and remove them," he said. "They did search every nook and cranny...Those who were rescued were taken to a staging area."

The school is now secure. Two rooms of the school appeared to be the gunman's focus. 

"It is not a simplistic scene," Vance said. "We will be here through the night and through the weekend. We are not putting a time stamp on this process."

The secondary local crime scene may well be this investigation in the Sandy Hook section, the only other known center of police investigation in Newtown right now.

Vance is expected to give another update in about an hour.

Update: 3:50 p.m.

Patch exclusive: The man identified in media reports Friday as the shooter has told friends that he thinks his developmentally disabled brother may have committed the crime, Patch has learned.

A close friend of Ryan Lanza who would not be identified told Patch that he spoke to Lanza as Lanza made his way home from work to Hoboken. Lanza also took to his Facebook page to rail against CNN naming him as the suspect in the shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

“I’m on the bus home now, it wasn’t me,” Lanza wrote.

Lanza’s mother, Nancy, a school teacher, is believed to be among the dead. 

Patch was among the media outlets to highlight and link to reports naming Lanza as the alleged shooter. Police haven't yet officially confirmed the identity of the gunman.

UPDATE 3 P.M

 The gunman has been identified as Ryan Lanza, 24, who apparently went to the family’s Hoboken, NJ, home before heading to Newtown, CT where he fatally shot his mother in her kindergarten classroom of Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to reports.

The gunman delilberately went to Sandy Hook Elementary School with the intention of killing his mother who was a kindergarten teacher at the school, according to NBC Channel 4. Lanza’s hometown has not been released.

It is believed the shooting began near the principal’s office before Lanza went to his mother’s kindergarten classroom and killed her and her students, according to the report.

Gov. Dannel Malloy who is at the scene is scheduled to hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Malloy, who met with parents, has received an offer of federal assistance from President Obama.

UPDATE 1 P.M.

The Associated Press, citing an official with knowledge, is reporting that 27 people — 18 of them children — were killed Friday morning in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Original story

Officials in Newtown say they're trying to reunite parents with their children in the wake of a shocking reported shooting at an elementary school in the town’s Sandy Hook neighborhood.

First Selectman Pat Llodra told Patch that there is no information being released about the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting — only confirming that there was a shooting.

"I'm horrified, saddened and shocked that this happened in Newtown," Llodra said. "Our priorities right now are making sure everyone safe and reuniting parents with their children."

A reverse 911 call went out to all Newtown public school parents, NBC is reporting. Parents are converging all around the school seeking information about their children.

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.

Lebinski said that she had spoken to her daughter's teach as well as a volunteer who was in the school at the time of the shooting, and that a masked gunman had shot adults in the school.

"My daughter's teacher is my hero," Lebinski said. "She locked all the kids in a closet and that saved their lives."

According to Lebinski, the school had been on lockdown but police started leading out children and faculty members by class, and several children had blood on their clothing as they were led out. It isn't clear how many kids are still inside the school. Parents continue to surround the area, seeking news of their children.

Christine Wilford, a parent of a seven-year-old boy at the school, told Patch that her son was out of the school and safe with her husband. A woman standing next to Wilford burst into tears, saying her own son was still inside.

Danbury Hospital has confirmed to TV reporters that three patients have been transported by ambulance.

The Hartford Courant is reporting multiple injured parties, saying a shooter had been in the building’s main office and an individual in one area had “numerous gunshot wounds,” police said.

At a fire station near the school that's serving as a staging area, a woman was being wheeled on a gurney as a helicopter circled overhead and armed officials from multiple state and federal agencies moved beyond a cordoned-off area swarmed by parents. Dozens of parents could be seen walking to the school as motor vehicle traffic snarled the area of Dickinson Drive.

One man who identified himself as a cable worker and declined to give his name, told Patch that he was up on a utility pole at the time of the shooting. When he heard shots, the man said he thought they it was hunters, but then in a few minutes emergency response vehicles sped beneath his ladder.

Newtown Patch will post more information here as it becomes available.

Adam December 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Automatic weapons were banned in 1934. Guns are imported too. Every time there is one of these shooting sprees, people want to take guns away from the innocent who had nothing to do with it. How does this help? Never let a useful tragedy go to waste.
LI December 15, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Adam, get your government to disarm everyone apart from police etc. Then you don't have to worry. I think your system isn't working and by the way Adam, you wouldn't be there, therefore your gun wouldn't be able to do a thing
Adam December 15, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Li: We homeschool. So yes, I would be there to protect. Do yourself a favor, research Cheshire home invasion before you start to punish the responsible, law abiding citizens. You may not be aware of it, but in the US, neither the fed or state govt can enter your home to confiscate guns. Such is our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, unless there is probable cause of violating a law.
Dave December 15, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Pot is illegal people still find ways to get it gun control laws won't help
Michael Coyle December 15, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Why? Not use the national guard.Send them into the major cities. Like Hartford,Oakland.And other cities.Where The street gangs.Control The streets.Take away there guns&drugs.Put them in prison.And let the law abiding citizens.Be able to go hunting.Or shoot clay targets. With the family! And get outdoors For a change.And may GOD BLESS.All the people.Affected by this.

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