President Barack Obama took time away from the budget negotiations yesterday to talk to the country about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. The president said he reacted first as the parent of two young daughters and he paused to wipe tears from his eyes.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of five and 10 years old.
And this morning, we're finding out more about the circumstances surrounding yesterday's attacks at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lieutenant J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police has confirmed the gunman who massacred 26 children and adults at the school forced his way into the building.
This morning in Newtown, state police have briefed residents and reporters on the latest information about yesterday's tragic events. And at the moment, information about the shooter, who's been identified by law enforcement officials as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, is scant. He was found dead at the elementary school. Lanza is believed to have acted alone. NPR's Joel Rose is at this morning's briefing in Newtown. Joel, thanks for being with us.
Yesterday, we spoke with Rabbi Shaul Praver of Temple Adath Israel in Newtown, Connecticut. And he spent much of Friday, of course, trying to comfort families following the shooting. I can't imagine the Friday you had, sir.
And at moments like these, people often wonder if they should have seen something in the behavior of the gunman that might have predicted he could commit such as act of violence. We're joined now by NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. Thanks very much for being with us today.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: 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.
And this morning, of course, we are reporting the story from Newtown, Connecticut; where yesterday, a young man named Adam Lanza shot and killed some 26 people at an elementary school - 20 of them, small children. Connecticut state police have briefed residents of Newtown, and reporters, on the latest from the crime scene at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and at second crime scene.
Newtown, Conn., is a white-collar community an hour and a half northeast of New York City. It's the kind of place where crime is rare and the biggest thing that happens each year is the Labor Day parade.
Now the peace and quiet has been shattered, and residents are trying to make sense of what's happened.
Hours after the shootings that left so many people dead, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church opened its doors for a prayer vigil. People filed through the streets and past houses decorated with Christmas lights.
We end this hour with an update on the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Here's what we know. In total, 28 people are confirmed dead, including the gunman. And NPR has confirmed his identity. He was Adam Lanza, 20 years old. That's according to federal law enforcement officials. Earlier today, his brother Ryan was taken in for questioning. Ryan Lanza is not believed to be involved in the shootings.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:22 pm
Horrible acts of violence have forced President Obama to speak to a shocked nation after several mass shootings — at a shopping center in Arizona, a Colorado movie theater, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and, on Friday, a Connecticut elementary school.
Each time his sadness has been readily visible, mirroring the feelings of millions of Americans.