Small Town Reels In Wake Of Mass School Shooting

Originally published on December 16, 2012 1:43 pm
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Yesterday, a 20-year-old man identified as Adam Lanza, made his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and began shooting. Later, we would learn that 26 people were shot dead; 20 of them children. Law enforcement officials tell NPR the shooter's mother was found dead at the family home.

SIMON: Today, in preparation for the release of the victims' names, Lt. Paul Vance, of the Connecticut State Police, asked reporters for restraint in approaching their families.

LT. J. PAUL VANCE: They have asked for you to please respect their privacy. They're going through - as I know you understand - a very difficult and trying time. We have, in fact, reassigned - and continue to assign - a trooper to these folks, to help to maintain that solitude.

SIMON: A timeline of the horrifying events - at least, anecdotally - was laid out yesterday as survivors began to tell their stories. Laura Feinstein, a teacher, spoke with WTOP in Washington, D.C.

LAURA FEINSTEIN: I hurried my kids into the classroom, and I called the office. And the office secretary picked up the phone and I said, is everything OK? And she said, there's someone in the building, shooting.

SIMON: Abby Clemmons is a second- grade teacher at Sandy Hook. She talked to KPCC's "Air Talk."

ABBY CLEMMONS: My heart breaks for my little students, who had to listen to those gunshots. I couldn't muffle the - you know, I didn't know what to do to - I couldn't stop those sounds.

SIMON: Melissa Makris spoke with NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED yesterday. She has a 10-year-old son at Sandy Hook, who made it out safely.

MELISSA MAKRIS: He's with friends right now, watching a movie. But we need to sit him down tomorrow or the next day, and let him know that some really bad things happened at his school.

SIMON: Melissa Makris, a mother of a student at Sandy Hook Elementary. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.