Today, the country was hit with one of the worst tragedies it’s seen this year, as 27 people lost their lives after a gunman opened fire in an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut. Eighteen kids and nine teachers were killed, with a number of others being treated for their injuries in nearby hospitals.
The shooter has been identified as Adam Lanza (mistaken as his brother Ryan in earlier reports), the 20-year-old son of one of the kindergarten teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Ryan targeted his mother and her students, killing 18 kids in her class. The school’s principal and another staffer were also reportedly killed and the school’s vice princial, shot in the leg.
Moments ago, the President addressed the tragedy in an emergency press conference, wiping tears from his eyes as he talked about the victims and the loss of innocent lives:
The majority of those who died 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, 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 and 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.
[…] This evening Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter. We’ll tell them that we love them and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut that 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.
Meanwhile, a few kids have been interviewed by media outlets and have recounted what they heard and saw. One student recalls:
We were in the gym, and I heard really loud bangs. We thought that someone was knocking something over. And we heard yelling, and we heard gunshots. We heard lots of gunshots. We heard someone say, ‘Put your hands up.’ I heard, ‘Don’t shoot.’ We had to go into the closet in the gym. Then someone came and told us to run down the hallway. There were police at every door. There were lots of people crying and screaming.”
Another student: “I was in the gym and I heard like seven loud booms, and the gym teachers told us to go in the corner and we huddled. We all heard these booming noises, and we started crying. So the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us. Then a police officer told us to run outside.”
Adam’s brother Ryan Lanza was originally said to be the shooter and his photo was plastered all over the internet before he took to his Facebook to claim his innocence. He has been questioned by police but is not a suspect.
Our hearts and prayers goes out to the families affected by this senseless shooting in Connecticut.