The shooter responsible for killing at least 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school has been identified by the media as 24-year-old Ryan Lanza. Lanza was reportedly wearing black military gear when he entered the main office of Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary this morning and opened fire. He then moved to a classroom where he was later found dead. It remains unclear if Lanza killed himself, or if he was killed by police.
Authorities say 26 people, including 18 children, were killed. Media reports also indicate that Lanza’s mother, a teacher at Sandy Hook, is also among the dead along with the principal and a guidance counselor. Police also reportedly found Lanza’s brother dead in a Hoboken, New Jersey home.
President Obama spoke about the tragedy this afternoon. He said in part: “We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years and each time I hear the news, I react not as a president but as a parent. And that was especially true today. 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 ten years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings [wipes away tears], kids of their own.
Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. So our hearts are broken today. For the parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children. And for the families of the adults who were lost.
Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well. For as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
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 love them. And we'll remind each other of how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us, right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as President to help.”
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