NPR

Ct. Authorities Release Few Shooting Details

Police continue to investigate why Adam Lanza killed 26 students and staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct. Lanza then killed himself. Police are holding the details of their investigation close.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

It is Monday morning, and the nation is still waiting for answers, struggling to understand why a 20-year-old man would massacre 27 people, most of them children.

On Friday, Adam Lanza killed 20 kids, first graders, and also seven adults in the quiet community of Newtown, Connecticut. Last night, President Obama, speaking at an interfaith service in Newtown, said he will use whatever power this office holds to prevent more tragedies like this. And we'll hear more from the president in a few minutes.

First, NPR's Quil Lawrence reports on what is known so far in an investigation where details of a motive have still not emerged.

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: Newtown, Connecticut is a quiet New England community - old stone walls, clapboard houses. A shallow river runs through it on the East, by a village called Sandy Hook.

About five miles away, in a large home on a suburban, almost country road, 52-year-old Nancy Lanza lived with her son, Adam. Sometime before 9:30 last Friday morning, Lanza shot his mother several times in the head. He then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary. Shortly after, a school staffer called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Caller is indicating she thinks there's someone shooting in the building.

LAWRENCE: The school doors were locked. Adam Lanza shot his way through a pane of glass.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The front glass has been broken (unintelligible). They're unsure why.

LAWRENCE: He left a shotgun in the car, and carried a semi-automatic assault rifle and two pistols, all legally owned by his mother. He packed hundreds of rounds of ammunition in many high-capacity magazines.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: All units, the individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire.

LAWRENCE: The school had a drill for something like this. The teachers went into lock-down. They hid their children in classrooms and told them to be quiet. A clerk, Mary Anne Jacob, was working in the library.

MARY ANNE JACOB: One of our doors wasn't locked, we discovered. So we went into a back storage room and locked the kids in there. There was crayons and paper in the storage room in the back, and we tore some up and gave them clipboards and had them color. And they were asking what's going on. We said we don't know. Our job is to say quiet. We knew, because I called the office and she told me there was a shooter.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: C112. Respond, 12 Dickerson Drive, Sandy Hook School.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Medical emergencies.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

LAWRENCE: Lanza opened fire with the assault rifle, which shoots as fast as he could pull the trigger. Inside two classrooms and the hall outside, he killed 12 girls and eight boys, all first-graders, along with six women who worked at the school: teachers, the school psychologist and the principal. He then shot himself in the head with one of the pistols.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: The shooting appears to have stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: We have a suspect down.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: I got bodies here. Let's get the ambulances.

LAWRENCE: Police arrived and also forced their way into the still-locked building. One eight-year-old witness told NPR that his teacher refused to unlock the door until a policeman pushed a badge underneath to prove who he was.

Teachers rushed the children out of the school and toward the fire station, where dozens of parents waited anxiously. Ambulances took several victims to a hospital in neighboring Danbury. Two adults wounded in the attack are still recovering. That's about everything that police and government officials have confirmed about the crime.

State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance.

LIEUTENANT PAUL VANCE: We did seize a great deal of evidence. Our detectives have executed numerous search warrants in this case. We do not detail the contents of what we seize in any criminal investigation. I can tell you that we were successful in seizing a great deal of evidence in this investigation. All that evidence, every stitch of it needs to be analyzed, and it will be, whether it's in our forensic laboratory or by specialists within our department or other departments, as time goes on.

LAWRENCE: Vance said police are satisfied with their progress so far. And he said the evidence suggests a motive, which, in the coming days, will be made public. That may offer some sort of explanation for the deaths of 20 six and seven-year-old children and seven adult women in the small community of Newtown.

Quil Lawrence, NPR News, Danbury, Connecticut. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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