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Classes resume in Newtown

  • NRA releases statement, 'shocked, saddened' over shootings
  • Most kids in Newtown return to class Tuesday
  • Medical examiner: Autopsies complete on shooter, mother
  • Dick's Sporting Goods announces it will remove all guns from store near Newtown
Classes resume in Newtown

The investigation continues to unfold into one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother at their home before going on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left six adults and 20 children dead. As authorities search for answers, the shootings have reopened a nationwide debate about gun control and mental health.

Read our blog below to see some of the key developments in the case.

[Updated 4:26 p.m. ET] The National Rifle Assocation of America has released a statement regarding the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. The statement reads: 

The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.

Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.

The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.

The NRA also plans to hold a press conference on Friday.

[Updated 2:05 p.m. ET] HLN has obtained a letter sent from Janet Robinson, Newtown Superintendent of Schools, to parents and staff. In it she says that they now plan for Sandy Hook students to start back in class after the holiday break in January, not before.

In the letter she says, "we need to tend to our teachers' and students' needs to feel comfortable after this trauma in this new place." She goes on to say "teachers may be calling you to invite you to visit Chalk Hill with your child this week to walk around and see the classroom and get familiar this new Sandy Hook home."

She also says that when school starts there will be police presence inside and outside the school.

[Updated 1:20 p.m. ET] The Head O'Meadow School was placed on lockdown as a "precaution" this morning, according to authorities. No word as to why the school was on lockdown.

[Updated 12:30 p.m. ET] HLN freelance reporter Rita Cosby talked with Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II and learned the autopsies of Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy Lanza were completed on Sunday.

The autopsies show Nancy Lanza was shot four times in the head while she slept in her bed at the family home on Friday. Adam Lanza died at the school from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The bodies of the Lanzas remain in the custody of the state medical examiner's office and have not yet been claimed. When the bodies are claimed, it will not be announced to the public. The Lanzas' family has asked that their funerals be private.

Carver said he was told that Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrone. But he says he doesn't know whether Adam was correctly diagnosed, and the medical examiner says such a diagnosis would have nothing to do with his violent behavior.

[Updated 10:19 a.m. ET] The New York Times has published the text of the eulogy Veronique Pozner delivered at her 6-year-old son Noah's funeral on Monday.

[Updated 8:31 a.m. ET] Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the world, says it has removed all guns from its store nearest to Newtown, Connecticut, and is suspending the sale of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles from its chains nationwide.

[Updated 8:10 a.m. ET] Watch the coaches and contestants from NBC's "The Voice" sing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook:

[Updated 7:40 a.m. ET, Tuesday, December 18] Most students in Newtown, Connecticut, will return to class to day. It is not clear when the children of Sandy Hook Elementary will resume their studies.

[Updated 5:52 p.m. ET] All Newtown schools except Sandy Hook will re-open Tuesday on a 2-hour delay, according to school system superintendent Janet Robinson.

[Updated 5:30 p.m. ET] Authorities are searching smashed computer parts found at the home of Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy Lanza in hopes of shedding light in the shooting. 

[Updated 4:05 p.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy calls for a statewide moment of silence this Friday for the one-week anniversary of the school shootings.

[Updated 3:24 p.m. ET]  The ATF has confirmed that Adam Lanza and his mother have frequented several gun ranges over the course of several years. They are not naming the ranges, but it establishes that he is familiar with weapons and has been shooting for years.


[Updated 2:45 p.m. ET] In Newtown, "comfort dogs" are arriving to cheer up grieving residents, reports the Chicago Tribune.

[Updated 2:29 p.m. ET] An iReporter asks: Should we arm our schoolkids? "Nobody was addressing the elephant in the room." 

[Updated 2:22 p.m. ET] Actor Morgan Freeman has denied a viral statement that has been attributed to him about the Newton Tragedy. "He neither wrote nor posted nor had any knowledge of it," his rep tells HLN.

[Updated 2:16 p.m. ET] "I'm not angry anymore," says the father of shooting victim Dawn Hochsprung, who was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary.

[Updated 2:10 p.m. ET] When the gunman was in high school, he was assigned a behavioral psychologist. They described him as “somebody off, somebody shy, somebody reclusive,” HLN’s Rita Cosby reports.

[Updated 1:44 p.m. ET] Oregon Rep. Dennis Richardson (R) tells CNN that teachers should be armed. "We cannot continue to have the only armed person on our school be the mass killer." He went on to say, “There’s many people who say a passive approach only gives power to the psychopath.”

[Updated 1:00 p.m. ET] “I know, we know that the people, this town of Newtown, wants to know what happened … we’ll paint a crystal-clear picture of what happened,” Vance said.

[Updated 12:56 p.m.]  At his second news conference of the day Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance gave an update on the survivors, saying that two victims “were wounded in the lower extremities.” He also continued to plead for people to respect the victims' kin.  “Families are grieving and many of the families have asked to please afford them their privacy as they go through this tragedy,” Vance said.

[Updated 10:53 a.m. ET] At a news conference Monday morning, Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said additional state troopers have been assigned to each of the victims’ funerals to make sure families have their privacy.

He also gave an update on survivors of Friday’s shooting. "We know two adults were injured and are still recovering from the gunshot wounds they received," Vance said. Read more at HLN affiliate WFSB.

[Updated 9:43 a.m. ET] Sandy Hook Elementary School likely to be active crime scene "for months."

[Updated 9:38 a.m. ET] Police: There are reports of a suspicious person in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Local police are handling and the schools are secured.

[Updated 9:36 a.m. ET] Police: Two active criminal investigations regarding people providing misleading information.

[Updated 9:34 a.m. ET] Police: We are analyzing every single round of ammunition used in the shooting.

[Updated 9:30 a.m. ET] Connecticut State Police are holding another briefing.

[Updated 8:40 a.m. ET]:


[Updated 8:18 a.m. ET, Monday, December 17] Our affiliate KMGH has an interview with a victim of the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting who lives about 10 minutes from Newtown, Connecticut.

[Updated 8:54 p.m. ET] Obama reads the first names of the victims killed in the shooting. "God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory."

[Updated 8:49 p.m. ET] Obama vows to use his power to prevent more tragedies like this. "What choice do we have? We can't accept events like these as routine." 

[Updated 8:47 p.m. ET] Obama says it's the fourth time we have consoled each other as a nation over violence from mass shootings. "We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."

[Updated 8:42 p.m. ET] Obama: "As a community, you have inspired us Newtown. In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconsciousable evil, you looked out for each other, you cared for one another and you loved one another."

[Updated 8:36 p.m. ET] President Obama offers condolences on behalf of the nation to the grieving Connecticut town. "Newtown, you are not alone."

[Updated 8:34 p.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy: "We will go on. We will find strength. Faith is a gift as is our ability to support one another in our great community."

[Updated 8:10 p.m. ET] Religious leaders of many faiths offer prayers, condolences and words of encouragement at the vigil.

[Updated 7:50 p.m. ET] CNN's Susan Candiotti reports the ATF has confirmed Adam Lanza visited a shooting range, but would say when, where or how many times he visited the site. Candiotti has also learned Adam Lanza's mother visited a shooting range several times, but it's not known whether she was with someone else or by herself.

[Updated 7:40 p.m. ET] First-responders get a standing ovation from the crowd as they enter the auditorium.

[Updated 7:28 p.m. ET] Officials say President Obama is still meeting with victims' families. The interfaith vigil will begin shortly.

[Updated 4:03 p.m. ET] President Obama arrives in Newtown, Connecticut, to meet with victims' families and first responders. He will attend an interfaith vigil, starting at 7 p.m. ET

[Updated 3:48 p.m. ET] Authorities officially name Adam Lanza as the gunman in Friday's school shooting.

[Updated 2:40 p.m. ET] The sports world paid its respects to the victims in Friday's school shooting. There was a moment of silence observed during the early slate of NFL games and NBA games.

[Updated 2:30 p.m. ET] The mayor of Danbury, Connecticut, talks with HLN about the love Sandy Hook Elementary principal Dawn Hochsprung had for her students.

[Updated 1:50 p.m. ET] Authorities said nothing was found at St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church after an earlier evacuation, according to Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance.

[Updated 12:52 p.m. ET] St. Rose de Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown has been evacuated. Witnesses said they were told by authorities to leave the church premises. Law enforcement agencies are on the scene. There is no word as to why the church was evacuated. The church is less than two miles away from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

[Updated 12:52 p.m. ET] Gov. Dan Malloy tells CNN's Candy Crowley that he was the person who ultimately had to break the news to the victims' families that their children and loved ones wouldn't be coming home. "That's an exercise that's I'll live with for the rest of my life. It's not something you're prepared for."

[Updated 12:45 p.m. ET] New York Giants WR Victor Cruz has the name of Jack Pinto, one of the young victims in the school shooting, written on his shoes. 



[Updated 11:50 a.m. ET] Police: Misinformation is being spread via social media. People spreading misinformation will be prosecuted.

[Updated 11:47 a.m. ET] Police at press conference: Nothing new to report regarding investigation.

[Updated 11:11 a.m. ET] "Saturday Night Live" paid somber tribute to Newtown last night:

[Updated 8:28 a.m. ET] From CNN: Adam Lanza's family: Mom liked parlor games, guns; dad, a tax exec, remarried

[Updated 8:00 a.m. ET Sunday, December 16] HLN's Brian Rokus is in Newtown. Here's his take on what it's like to be in a place that's experienced the unimaginable.

[Updated: 9:43 p.m. ET] Peter Lanza, Adam Lanza’s father, issued the following statement Saturday on the Newtown, CT school tragedy:

“Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all those who were injured.  Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.”  

[Updated: 7:12 p.m. ET] President Obama will travel to Newtown, Connecticut, on Sunday to meet with the victims' families and thank first responders. The president will also speak at an interfaith vigil at 7 p.m.

[Updated: 6:54 p.m. ET] A statement from James Champion, the uncle of suspected shooter Adam Lanza and brother of Adam's mother Nancy Lanza,  reads "On behalf of Nancy's mother and siblings, we reach out to the community of Newtown and express our heartfelt sorrow for the loss of innocence that has affected so many."

[Updated: 6:04 p.m. ET] An earlier report from a law enforcement official who originally told CNN that suspected shooter Adam Lanza was in some sort of altercation with people at the school days before the shooting turned out not to be accurate. Police investigated the report and learned that it was not true.

[Updated: 5:28 p.m. ET] Parker describes Emilie as bright, creative and very loving. He said he last saw Emilie Friday morning before going to work. "She told me she loved me, gave me a kiss and I walked out the front door."

[Updated: 5:25 p.m. ET] Parker: "My daughter Emilie would be one of the first ones to give her love and support to all of the victims because that is how she is."

[Updated: 5:21 p.m. ET] Robbie Parker, father of 6-year-old victim Emilie Alice Parker, offers his condolences to the family of the shooter. "I can't imagine what you are going through." 

[Updated: 5:03 p.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy addresses the tragedy: "What's important right now is love, courage and compassion."

[Updated: 4:25 p.m. ET] The names and ages of the victims are:

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6

READ MORE: In memoriam: The Newtown victims

[Updated: 4:15 p.m. ET] Authorities have released the names of the 26 victims (six adults and 20 children) who died in the school. The victims range in age from 6 to 56, according to Connecticut state police. Eighteen of the victims were described as female; eight were male. 

[Updated: 4:02 p.m. ET] Here is a picture of Lauren Rousseau, one of the teachers killed in Friday's school shooting. Her mother, Teresa Rousseau, says her daughter "wanted to be a teacher from before she ever went to kindergarten. We will miss her terribly and will take comfort knowing that she had achieved that dream."

[Updated: 3:55 p.m. ET] Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said a police officer has been assigned to each family whose child died in the shooting. He said the case is still active. He said there would be no more press briefings until tomorrow.

[Updated: 3:49 p.m. ET] Carver said he believed all of the victims were first-graders. 

[Updated 3:41 p.m. ET] Carver said all of the children's wounds came from the semi-automatic rifle found at the crime scene, and each of the children were shot more than once.

[Updated 3:35 p.m. ET] Carver says the manner of death for the victims in the school shooting has been classified as homicide. He called the crime scene "the worst I have seen ... worst that my colleagues have ever seen" and the victims had a "devastating set of injuries."

[Updated 3:32 p.m. ET] Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II said the children's autopsies have been completed. He said the autopsies of the alleged shooter and his mother will be done tomorrow.

[Updated 3:22 p.m. ET] CNN has learned that Victoria Soto and Lauren Rousseau, two teachers at the school, are among the dead.

[Updated 3:01 p.m. ET] Investigators say suspected shooter Adam Lanza tried to purchase a gun at Dick's Sporting Goods in Danbury on Tuesday, but was unsuccessful, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation. The law enforcement source said store employees have been interviewed and authorities are looking at surveillance video for evidence that Lanza had been there. 

A second law enforcement sources source also says an altercation between Lanza and four adults occurred the day before the shooting. Three of those adults, the source says, were killed in Friday's shooting.

[Updated 1:58 p.m. ET] Here is a yearbook photo obtained by HLN affiliate WFSB of Adam Lanza taken during his sophomore year in 2008.

[Updated 1:50 p.m. ET] Adam Lanza had some sort of altercation at the school a few days before the shooting, according to a law enforcement official. The official did not know the nature of the altercation or who was involved in it with Lanza.

[Updated 1:11 p.m. ET] Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is scheduled to speak to the people of Connecticut live via television from his office, HLN has learned.

[Updated 12:52 p.m. ET] HLN has obtained one of the first photos of one of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims, teacher Vicki Soto, who is being hailed as a hero for protecting her kids. Her cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News the following:

 "The family was informed that she was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm, and by doing that put herself between the gunman and the children," Wiltsie told the station. "And that's when she was tragically shot and killed."

[Updated 12:40 p.m. ET] Google honors the Sandy Hook victims Saturday with a single candle on its homepage.

[Updated 12:01 p.m. ET] Gunman Adam Lanza had access to more guns than the three recovered at the school, a second law enforcement source has confirmed to CNN/ HLN. Three additional guns have been recovered by police – a .45-caliber Henry Repeating Rifle, a .22-caliber Marlin Rifle and a .30-caliber Enfield Rifle.

[Updated 11:59 a.m. ET] A law enforcement source tells CNN's Susan Candiotti that Adam Lanza tried to buy a gun in the area Tuesday before the shooting.  

[Updated 11:47 a.m. ET] “Not a pleasant task, but it’s something that they do have to do,” says HLN security expert Mike Brooks, referring to the medical examiner’s identification of so many bodies, many of whom are children.

[Updated 11:45 a.m. ET] “We’ve covered way too many of these horrific tragedies,” says CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

[Updated 11:42 a.m. ET] HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell recounts an interview with a source that knew the gunman’s brother and calls him “a wonderful human being." A reminder that when a tragedy like this occurs the family of the perpetrator is often shattered, Velez-Mitchell said.

[Updated 11:29 a.m. ET] LeVar Burton of “Reading Rainbow” has released a statement about the Newtown shootings.

“Parents and teachers and caregivers should not shy away from directly discussing this with children who are concerned or anxious or fearful. Let them know their fear is normal, that it’s OK to be sad on behalf of those who died, and even frightened that it may happen to them. Then we must explain how they themselves are safe.” Read more here.

[Updated 10:48 a.m. ET] “I had no idea that it was her school,” Lynn Wasik tells Nancy Grace, relating the harrowing phone call she got from her husband about a shooting in the school district. Her daughter 8-year-old Alexis was found safe.

Watch: HLN Youtube videos about the Connecticut school shootings

[Updated 10:26 a.m. ET] Police: School superintendent, town leaders, and medical examiner will speak later today. Police hope to hold the next briefing within an hour and will release the names of the victims. "We will be back," police spokesman Paul Vance said.

[Updated 10:24 a.m. ET] Police: Shooter “was not voluntarily let into” the school. "We’ve done everything we need to do to literally peel back the onion layer by layer… and that does not exclude the outside of the building, every vehicle in the parking lot is part of the crime scene," Vance said.

[Updated 10:21 a.m. ET] The news conference in Newtown has begun. "We are investigating the history of each and every weapon" used in the shootings, said police spokesman Paul Vance.

[Updated 10:10 a.m. ET] HLN is in Newtown, Connecticut, along with many other media outlets. There are more than 40 satellite trucks and more than 90 camera crews there -- with more arriving.

[Updated 9:56 a.m. ET] The Connecticut state police have released a statement early Saturday about the ongoing investigation of the Newtown massacre, saying the bodies have been taken to the morgue:

 "The deceased victims have been transported to the Office of The Chief State’s Medical Examiner where a post mortem examination will be conducted to determine the manner and cause of death," police said.

"Presently, the school scene is still being processed by detectives and it anticipated that this process will take several days. In addition, Troopers are continuing to follow any and all leads in this case utilizing Law Enforcement in-state as well as out of state as required."

[Updated 9:32 a.m. ET] Below is a photo of the gunman's father, Peter Lanza, who had remarried and lived not too far from Newtown, according to an official. He along with his 24-year-old son, Ryan Lanza, who lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, were questioned by authorities after the shooting.

[Updated 9:22 a.m. ET] It appears the press conference is about to begin.

[Updated 8:47 a.m. ET] 

[Updated 8:36 a.m. ET] The news conference that was scheduled for 8: a.m. ET has still not yet begun.

[Updated 8:00 a.m. ET] We are awaiting a briefing from Connecticut state police that is scheduled to begin now.

[Updated 2:30 a.m. ET, Saturday, December 15] A family member of suspected shooter Adam Lanza told investigators that he had a form of autism, according to a law enforcement official, who spoke under condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.

[Updated 10:20 p.m. ET] The next briefing from Connecticut state police will be at 8 a.m. ET Saturday. We will be covering it here live.

[Updated 7:55 p.m. ET]: Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said the medical examiners staff was in the school to start the process of identifying the victims. He said they hope to identify the victims by Saturday.

[Updated 7:10 p.m. ET]: Suspected shooter Adam Lanza's father has been questioned by authorities, according to a law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation. The official noted Lanza's father has remarried and lives with his new wife in a residence near the area where his ex-wife lived.

[Updated 6:47 p.m. ET]: A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation into the Connecticut school shooting says the three guns found at the school were legally purchased by Nancy Lanza.

[Updated 6:44 p.m. ET]: The gunman has been identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, HLN has confirmed. Ryan Lanza, Adam's older brother, has been questioned by police.

Read more: 'He's gone' Community mourns on Twitter

[Updated 6:20 p.m. ET]: The gunman’s mother has been identified as Nancy Lanza, HLN has learned. She was found deceased in the family’s residence, law enforcement authorities say.

[Updated 6:04 p.m. ET]: Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy just addressed residents in Newtown’s Treadwell Park. “Evil visited this community today,” he said. “It’s too early to speak of recovery, but each parent, each sibling, each member of a family has to understand that, Connecticut, we’re all in this together … We’ll get through it but this is a terrible time for this community.”

Read more: School shootings in 2012

[Updated 6:00 p.m. ET]: The gunman’s 24-year-old brother is being questioned by police, HLN has learned.

[Updated 5:50 p.m. ET]: One of the shooting victims has been identified as Sandy Hook Elementary Principal Dawn Hochsprung. Just one day ago, she was tweeting photos of the school's winter concert rehearsal. She praised the fourth-grade singers as a "talented group." Read her story here.

[Updated 5:34 p.m. ET]: HLN has obtained a statement from Principal Frank DeAngelis, who works at Columbine High School, the scene in 1999 of the nation’s worst high school shooting.

 “It’s close to home and just makes us realize how vulnerable we really are as a society," DeAngelis says. "It’s unfortunate that this continues to happen. We saw what happened up in Portland this past week. I think what all of us are feeling right now as a parent, as a grandparent, as an educator, just imagining what it would be like for those people right now so our thoughts and prayers are there.”

[Updated 5:21 p.m. ET]: The gunman was dressed in black battle fatigues and a military vest, HLN has learned from law enforcement. His mother was found dead at her home – not at the school, as was originally reported.

Photos: Tragedy in Newtown

[Updated 5:06 p.m. ET]: Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance is updating the media again and said he will do so once more in about an hour. He calls the school shooting “a very horrific and difficult scene.”

“As I told you the families have been assigned a trooper or officer as a means of communication,” Vance said. He said the procedure was done so that families wouldn’t have to learn about news related to loved ones from the media.

“Police are not prepared to confirm the identity of the shooter. We will identify the shooter at an appropriate time,” Vance said. 

Addressing why a bomb squad was activated, Vance said, “Yes, we brought all our assets in case they were needed.”

[Updated 4:57 p.m. ET]: HLN has obtained a statement from Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair Thomas M. Menin, who is the mayor of Boston:  

“As a parent and grandparent, I am overcome with both grief and outrage by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. This unspeakable act of violence will forever imprint this day in our hearts and minds."

"Now is the time for a national policy on guns that takes the loopholes out of the laws, the automatic weapons out of our neighborhoods and the tragedies like today out of our future.”

[Updated 4:51 p.m. ET]: “Children at close range massacred -- it’s unbelievable -- unbelievable that we live in that world now,” says HLN’s Dr. Drew.

[Updated 4:47 p.m. ET]: New York Major Michael Bloomberg says in a statement, “With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it’s still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe.”

[Updated 4:43 p.m. ET]: Three guns were found at the scene of the shooting: A Glock, a .223 Bushmaster and a Sig-Sauer, according to police.

[Updated 4:35 p.m. ET]: HLN has obtained a statement from the American Federation of Teachers in wake of the school massacre in Newtown:

“The entire AFT community is shaken to its core by this massacre of young children and the educators and school employees who care for and nurture them,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement.

“We’ll never be able to prevent every senseless act of violence, but our children, educators and school employees go to school believing it is a safe sanctuary. We’ve been through this too many times. Everything we can do, we must do, including a renewed focus on gun control and preventing gun violence.”

[Updated 4:30 p.m. ET]: There’s going to be a candlelight vigil Friday night at a Catholic church not far from Sandy Hook Elementary, HLN has learned.

[Updated 4:28 p.m. ET]: Police are questioning two people about the shooting, but they are not persons of interest, reports CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

[Updated 4:17 p.m. ET]: Police officers responding to the shooting did not discharge their weapons at any time, police Lt. Paul Vance tells HLN.

Read more: Obama says 'Our hearts are broken today'

[Updated 4:10 p.m. ET]: Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly has released a statement regarding the Newtown tragedy. “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the entire community of Newtown, CT. I just spoke to [wife] Gabby [Giffords], and she sends her prayers from Tucson.

“As we mourn, we must sound a call for our leaders to stand up and do what is right. This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws -- and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America. This can no longer wait.”

[Updated 3:53 p.m. ET]: Vance confirms that the gunman killed 26 people at the school. One person is dead at a secondary scene. In total, 28 people are dead so far. The breakdown of fatalities is as follows: 20 children and six adults at the school; one male -- believed to be the suspect's brother -- killed away from the school; and the gunman.

[Updated 3:44 p.m. ET]: “There’s a secondary crime scene … there is an adult deceased there,” Police Lt. Paul Vance said at a news conference.

[Updated 3:39 p.m. ET]: “Earlier today, a tragedy of unspeakable terms played itself out in this community,” Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said to reporters. 

[Updated 3:21 p.m. ET]: Wiping tears from his eyes, President Obama addressed the Connecticut school massacre, saying “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies the past few years. Each time I’ve heard the news I react as the president, but as anyone else would, as a parent.”

"I know there is 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 5 and 10 years old. 

“This evening Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and tell them that we love them," he, dabbing his eyes, said. He ended his speech by saying, "May God bless the memory of the victims, and in the words of Scripture, 'Heal the broken hearted'."

[Updated 3:14 p.m. ET]: Among the dead is the mother of the shooter, HLN has learned. She was a teacher at the school. It is unclear whether she was killed at the school or some other location.

[Updated 2:58 p.m. ET]: President Obama will address the nation at 3:15 p.m. ET in relation to the shooting.

[Updated 2:53 p.m. ET]: The shootings “happened relatively quickly and in the same concentrated area of the school. He was not running the halls,” a federal law enforcement official tells CNN, referring to the gunman.

Our reporting as of 2:45 p.m. ET:

A law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation tells HLN "closer to 30" people, including 18 to 20 children, have been killed in Friday's Connecticut elementary school shooting.

Police Lt. Paul Vance, speaking to reporters at a midday news conference, said, “There were several fatalities at the scene,” including children. “The shooter is deceased inside the building ... there’s a great deal of search warrant activity” going on, he said.

In addition to the gunman, the school’s principal and a guidance counselor are dead, according to police and a parent who witnessed the incident.

The shooting took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which is about 60 miles north of New York.

Meredith Artley, the managing editor of, has a friend who's a parent of a student at the school. “She volunteers with the school as well,” Artley said on CNN air.

The woman was in close vicinity to the shooting, which happened in the hallway, according to Artley. “She described it as a ‘Pop, pop, pop’ in the hall… she said three people went out into the hall [the principal, the vice principal and a guidance counselor] and only one person came back, the vice principal, she said, who was shot in the leg or the foot, who came crawling back."

The witness said she "cowered under the table during that moment and called 911, as did the other people in the room. She never saw the shooting. There must have been a hundred rounds ... she said, at least.”

"This is still an active crime scene," CNN’s Susan Candiotti said, who added that investigators found the body of the gunman in a classroom. Police have recovered two weapons. It is still unclear how many victims there are, but multiple media outlets are reporting fatalities at the scene. The nature of their injuries are unclear.

Danbury, Connecticut, Mayor Mark Boughton tells CNN at least three people have been hospitalized. “There are very serious injuries.”

Sandy Hook is on lockdown, a Newtown police spokesman tells CNN. Live aerial shots show police officers walking around the school with canines. Authorities will hold an afternoon news conference.

Mike Branchflower, a local parent with four kids, told HLN he got an automated phone call from the school about the incident. His children attend other schools in the district. He said parents are shaken over the shooting.

“It’s a numbness at the moment. Your first thought is with the families that are there,” he said.

Christine Wilford, a parent at the school, told HLN, “We got a phone call from the emergency number that all the schools were being put into lockdown due to reports of a shooting,” she said.

Wilford said she was reunited with her 7-year-old son shortly after. She described the feeling as “Relief, tears.” When asked how her son was doing, she said, “He said he was OK, that he had been brave, that he didn’t cry,” he said.

“I do have friends who are still searching for their children,” she said. “They’re not telling them much,” she said, referring to authorities.

The FBI and ATF are now assisting with the investigation, a law enforcement source tells HLN.

President Obama has spoken to FBI Director Robert Mueller about the incident and has expressed condolences to Connecticut's governor.

Teary-eyed parents are streaming from the local fire station, which has been transformed into a makeshift triage, according to CNN’s David Ariosto, who is on the scene. Many of the parents are being told that their children were killed.

“It just seems so unreal; my heart is in a million pieces right now,” a parent said on air.


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How do I mail support, condolences to Newtown?
Newtown: Surviving Tragedy | See all 102 items How do I mail support, condolences to Newtown?