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27 Dead After School Shooting

Published On: Dec 14 2012 06:16:00 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 22 2013 06:34:06 AM CST

***UPDATE 5:22 P.M.*** NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation of the Connecticut school massacre says the brother of the gunman has been "extremely cooperative" and is not under arrest. The official tells The Associated Press that Ryan Lanza, of Hoboken, N.J., is still be being questioned but is not in custody and is not believed to have any connection to the school killings. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the investigation. The official says Ryan Lanza's computers and phone records were being searched but only "in an abundance of caution." He says Ryan told authorities he had not been in touch with his brother in recent years. ***ORIGINAL STORY*** NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- A man opened fire Friday inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked as a teacher, killing 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in their classrooms and trembled helplessly to the sound of gunfire reverberating through the building. The killer, armed with two handguns, committed suicide and another person was found dead at a second scene, bringing the toll to 28, authorities said. Police shed no light on the motive for the attack. The rampage, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead in 2007. Panicked parents looking for their children raced to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a community of about 27,000 residents 60 miles northeast of New York City. Youngsters at the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school were told to close their eyes by police as they were led from the building. Schoolchildren - some crying, others looking frightened - were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders. "Our hearts are broken today," a tearful President Barack Obama, struggling to maintain composure, said at the White House. He called for "meaningful action" to prevent such shootings. Youngsters and their parents described teachers locking doors and ordering the children to huddle in the corner or hide in closets when shots echoed through the building. Authorities said the shootings took place in two nearby classrooms, but they gave no details on exactly how they unfolded. They also gave no details on the victim discovered at another scene, except to say that the person was an adult found dead by police while they were investigating the gunman. A law enforcement official identified the gunman as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher. A second law enforcement official said his mother, Nancy Lanza, was presumed dead. Adam Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, the first official said. Earlier, a law enforcement official mistakenly identified Ryan as the shooter. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the unfolding investigation. The gunman drove to the school in his mother's car, the second official said. Three guns were found - a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a .223-caliber rifle in the back of a car. Lanza's girlfriend and another friend were missing in New Jersey, the official also said. State police Lt. Paul Vance said 28 people in all were killed, including the gunman, and one person was injured. Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher. "That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends." He said the shooter didn't utter a word. Mary Pendergast, who lives close to the school, said her 9-year-old nephew was in the school at the time of the shooting, but wasn't hurt after his music teacher helped him take cover in a closet. Richard Wilford's 7-year-old son, Richie, is in the second grade at the school. His son told him that he heard a noise that "sounded like what he described as cans falling." The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle up in the corner until police arrived. On Friday afternoon, family members were led away from a firehouse that was being used as a staging area, some of them weeping. One man, wearing only a T-shirt without a jacket, put his arms around a woman as they walked down the middle of the street, oblivious to everything around them. The shootings instantly brought to mind episodes such as the Columbine High School massacre that killed 15 in 1999 and the July shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead. Obama's comments on the tragedy amounted to one of the most outwardly emotion

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