From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "..is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 27,560 at the 2010 census. Newtown was founded in 1705 and incorporated in 1711...
Local industry has included the manufacture of furniture, tea bags, combs, fire hoses, folding boxes, buttons, and hats, as well as farming and mica and feldspar mining. The game of Scrabble was developed here by James Brunot...
"Newtown, Connecticut (CNN) -- Dressed in black fatigues and a military vest, a heavily armed man walked into a Connecticut elementary school Friday and opened fire, shattering the quiet of this southern New England town and leaving the nation reeling at the number of young lives lost.
Within minutes, 26 people were dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School -- 20 of them children. Among the six adults killed were Dawn Hochsprung, the school's beloved principal, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach.
The shooter, identified by three law enforcement officials as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, also was killed, apparently by his own hand. Separately, his mother's body was found at a Newtown residence.
"Stuff like this does not happen in Newtown," a tight-knit community of about 27,000 just outside Danbury, said Renee Burn, a local teacher at another school in town. In the past 10 years, only one homicide had previously been reported.
With the death toll at 26, the Newtown shooting is the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind only the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead.
"Evil visited this community today," Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said of Friday's massacre.
How do we stop the violence?
Young students described being ushered into bathrooms and closets by teachers as the first shots rang out. Janet Vollmer, a kindergarten teacher, locked her classroom doors, covered the windows and read a story to her 19 students to keep them calm.
Third-grader Alexis Wasik said police and teachers barged into her classroom and told students to hide in the corner.
"Everybody was crying," she said. "And I just heard the police officers yelling."
One parent who was in the school at the time of the shooting said she heard a "pop, pop, pop," sound around 9:30 a.m. In the room with her were Hochsprung, the vice principal and Sherlach. All three left the room and went into the hall to see what was happening. The parent ducked under the table and called 911.
...Hochsprung, the slain principal, had recently installed a new security system to ensure student safety.
Under the new system, every visitor was required to ring a doorbell at the front entrance after the doors locked at 9:30 a.m. and report to the main office to sign in.
Police began receiving reports of shots fired around 9:40 a.m. Friday.
In 1999, at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, two students shot 13 people to death before killing themselves.
"Newtown, Connecticut (CNN) -- Authorities in Newtown, Connecticut, put together more pieces of the puzzle Saturday to explain what happened inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, one day after a gunman opened fire there, killing 20 students and six adults.
All the victims died from gunshot wounds and were struck more than once, according to H. Wayne Carver II, chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut. Their deaths were classified as homicides.
"I've been at this for a third of a century. My sensibilities may not be the average man, but this probably is the worst I have seen or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues having seen," Carver told reporters.
The deadly school shooting shattered the quiet of this southern New England town and left a nation reeling over the number of lives, particularly young lives lost. It also reignited the perennial debate about gun laws in America.
President Barack Obama spoke tearfully about the massacre on Friday and is scheduled to travel to Newtown on Sunday to meet with families of the victims. He will deliver remarks during an evening vigil.
Law enforcement officials have identified the gunman as 20-year-old Adam Lanza. He apparently took his own life, after taking that of his mother and the 26 people at the school.
Victim's father 'blessed to be her dad'
Timeline: School violence in U.S.Timeline: School violence in U.S.
Investigation to be 'long, painstaking'
Newtown school murders: World reacts Newtown school murders: World reacts
Lanza was found dead next to three guns, a semi-automatic .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle and two pistols made by Glock and Sig Sauer, a law enforcement source told CNN. All belonged to his mother.
Carver, who performed autopsies on seven of the victims, said the wounds he knew about were caused by a "long weapon." Asked by a reporter whether the rifle was the primary weapon, he responded, "Yes."
He spoke as police released a list of the names of ages of the victims. Twelve girls and eight boys were killed, all either 6 or 7 years old. The adults ranged in ages from 27 to 56, and included the school's principal, psychologist and at least two teachers.
Among those killed was Emilie Parker, 6.
"As the deep pain begins to settle into our hearts, we find comfort reflecting on the incredible person that Emilie was and how many lives that she was able to touch in her short time here on Earth," her father, Robbie Parker, told reporters, struggling to speak through tears.
He described his daughter as bright, creative and loving. She loved to draw pictures and try new things.
"Emilie's laughter was infectious and all those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world is a better place because she has been in it," her father said.
Also killed were Dawn Hochsprung, the school's beloved principal, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, a first-grade teacher, and substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau.
Searching for answers in their deaths, major crime investigators police were combing "every crack and crevice" of the school.
They said they're finding some "very good evidence" there, and at the home of the shooter. Lanza's mother, Nancy, was killed at that house, authorities said.
"The detectives will certainly analyze everything and put a complete picture together of the evidence that they did obtain, and we're hopeful -- we're hopeful -- that it will paint a complete picture as to how and why this entire unfortunate incidence occurred," said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police.
Authorities, meanwhile, in Hoboken, New Jersey, were questioning Ryan Lanza, the suspected gunman's older brother, law enforcement sources said, though they did not label him a suspect. Lanza's father, Peter, who lives in Connecticut, was similarly questioned, one of the law enforcement officials said.
Peter Lanza released a statement Saturday expressing condolences to the families of victims.
"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," said the statement.
Two law enforcement sources said Adam Lanza lived with his mother. Contrary to early reports, they said, Nancy Lanza was not a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Nancy Lanza was a gun collector and recently showed off a newly bought rifle to fellow Newtown resident Dan Holmes, who owns a landscaping business in the town.
Besides the three weapons found at the school, Adam Lanza also had access to at least three more guns, a law enforcement source said. Investigators recovered a .45-caliber Henry Repeating Rifle, a .22-caliber Marlin Rifle and a .30-caliber Enfield Rifle, though it's unclear where they were found, the source said.
Investigators believe Lanza killed his mother and then took her guns and made his way to the elementary school wearing black fatigues and a military vest, according to a law enforcement official.
Photos: Connecticut school shooting Photos: Connecticut school shooting
Tragedy strikes at elementary school
Student: I saw bullets going past
According to Vance, Lanza forced his way into the school though he wouldn't say how or whether Lanza used weapons to do it.
Authorities said it's also not clear whether Lanza entered before or after 9:30 a.m., the time each day when the school would lock its doors as part of a security system introduced this year. Authorities say the first emergency call about the shooting came in at "approximately" 9:30 a.m. Friday.
Within minutes, 26 people had been killed with chilling efficiency, leaving only the one wounded survivor. The survivor, an adult, has not been named.
"She has been treated and she'll be instrumental in this investigation, as I'm sure you can understand," Vance said.
The massacre in Newtown is the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting that left 32 dead.
"Stuff like this does not happen in Newtown," said Renee Burn, a teacher at another school in the town, which is roughly 75 miles northeast of New York City.
Until Friday, only one homicide in the past 10 years had been reported in the upscale community of expansive homes surrounded by woods, where many residents commute to jobs in Manhattan and the nearby Connecticut cities of Stamford and Hartford.
Flags were lowered to half-staff in a number of states, and vigils were held at houses of worship and at schools amid a national outpouring of grief.
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Inspirational Stories from Tragedy:
Father of a Sandy Hook Victim Forgives the Troubled Shooter While Fighting Back Tears - Inspirational Videos
" Posted By sharethemessage about 18 hours ago
Robbie Parker only lost his sweet little girl Emilie Parker just days ago, but forgave the man that took her and many other lives. This act of forgiveness is absolutely stunning and comes completely from God.
Teacher Gave Her Life To Shield Children From the Newtown Shooter - Inspirational Videos
"NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Residents of this shell shocked community attended church services and prepared to bury their dead two days after a gunman mowed down more than two dozen people in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
President Barack Obama left the White House mid-afternoon Sunday to head to Newtown, where he was to meet with first responders and families of the 20 children and 6 adults who perished Friday at Sandy Hook School. Funeral directors across the state were lending their help in preparing the dead, including 20 children, for burial.
But the ritual of Sunday worship even turned chaotic for some residents. St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church was evacuated during its noon mass after an unidentified man called in threats to the congregation.
At Newtown United Methodist Church, senior pastor Mel Kawakami said he's not sure he's ready to forgive the suspected shooter, identified by police as 20-year old Adam Lanza. Lanza allegedly shot and killed his mother in the home they shared before blasting into the school he once attended.
"I'm not sure I'm there yet. My heart is still broken," Kawakami told the packed congregation at the 10 a.m. service. Pews were lined with Kleenex boxes in the church, which is located less than a half-mile from the school.
Before Rev. Kawakami's sermon, many parents dropped their children off on a lower floor to shield them from a discussion of the tragedy.
Prayers were offered for the victims and for an end to gun violence. One father asked that the congregation pray for his son's best friend, who died at the school.
The altar was lit with 28 candles, one for each of the dead. "Yes, even the shooter," Kawakami said.
Kawakami said the community might one day find forgiveness. Meanwhile, he said, "We have more to mourn, and children and adults to bury."
Funeral directors across the state were already at work helping the lone Newtown funeral home prepare the victims for burial.
Six Connecticut funeral directors have traveled to Newtown's Honan Funeral Home, a family-owned facility located two miles from the site of the shooting, to help coordinate with families of the deceased.
The Connecticut Funeral Director's Association, which has 220 members, is matching the funeral directors receiving bodies of the deceased with others who have offered support in the form of transportation, caskets and cosmetics, spokeswoman Laura Soll said.
Soll said offers for help have come from all corners—everything from Canadian funeral homes to a tent company offering to donate a tent for guests at the Honan location.
At St. Rose of Lima's early morning mass, signs saying "No Press" greeted churchgoers.
Some hugged each other in the parking lot before making their way into the church, pausing briefly at a table filled with at a table dotted with candles. Others paused, pointing to the crush of media camped along the side of the road....
A Prayer Tribute to the Victims of The Newtown School Shooting - Inspirational Videos
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Tribute to the 27 Victims of the Newtown School Shooting - Forever in Our Hearts - Inspirational Videos
"Posted by sharethemessage
Richard and Krista Rekos lost their sweet angel Jessica in the Sandy Hook shooting last week, but they wanted to share their story of how their little girl has touched their lives...and continues to touch lives from heaven. Her message will warm your heart! "
Reporter: Lanza fascinated by military
Erin Burnett Out Front|Added on December 20, 2012
"Erin Burnett talks with reporter Marian Gail Brown who says Adam Lanza was interested in joining the military."
Conversations with Newtown
CNN|Added on December 20, 2012
"People in Newtown, Connecticut, talk about the impact the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary has left on them."
Associated Press/Seth Wenig - Volunteer Anthony Vessicchio of East Haven, Conn., helps to sort tables full of donated toys at the town hall in Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) "
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Newtown's children were showered with gifts Saturday — tens of thousands of teddy bears, Barbie dolls, soccer balls and board games — and those are only some of the tokens of support from around the world for the town in mourning.
Just a little over a week ago, 20 children and six school employees were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, attacked the school, then killed himself. Police don't know what set off the massacre.
Days before Christmas, funerals were still being held Saturday, the last of those whose schedules were made public, according to the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. A service was held in Utah for 6-year-old Emilie Parker. Others were held in Connecticut for Josephine Gay, 7, and Ana Marquez-Greene, 6.
All of Newtown's children were invited to Edmond Town Hall, where they could choose a toy. Bobbi Veach, who was fielding donations at the building, reflected on the outpouring of gifts from toy stores, organizations and individuals around the world.
"It's their way of grieving," Veach said. "They say, 'I feel so bad, I just want to do something to reach out.' That's why we accommodate everybody we can."
The United Way of Western Connecticut said the official fund for donations had $2.8 million in it on Saturday. Others sent envelopes stuffed with cash to pay for coffee at the general store, and a shipment of cupcakes arrived from a gourmet bakery in Beverly Hills, Calif.
The Postal Service reported a six-fold increase in mail in the town and set up a unique post office box to handle it. The parcels come decorated with rainbows and hearts drawn by schoolchildren.
Some letters arrived in packs of 26 identical envelopes — one for each family of the children and staff killed or addressed to the "First Responders" or just "The People of Newtown." One card arrived from Georgia addressed to "The families of 6 amazing women and 20 beloved angels." Many contained checks.
"This is just the proof of the love that's in this country," Postmaster Cathy Zieff said.
Peter Leone said he was busy making deli sandwiches and working the register at his Newtown General Store when he got a phone call from Alaska. It was a woman who wanted to give him her credit card number.
"She said, 'I'm paying for the next $500 of food that goes out your door,'" Leone said. "About a half hour later another gentleman called, I think from the West Coast, and he did the same thing for $2,000."
At the town hall building, the basement resembled a toy store, with piles of stuffed penguins, dolls, games, and other fun gifts. All the toys were inspected and examined by bomb-sniffing dogs before being sorted and put on card tables. The children could choose whatever they wanted.
Jugglers entertained the children, a dunk tank was set up outside and the crowd of several hundred parents and children sang an enthusiastic rendition of "Happy Birthday" to one child. A man dressed as Santa Claus was in attendance, and high school students were offering arts and crafts such as face painting and caricatures.
Newtown resident Amy Mangold, director of the local Parks and Recreation department, attended with her 12-year-old daughter, Cory. She acknowledged that most people here could afford to buy their own gifts but said "this means people really care about what's happening here. They know we need comfort and want to heal."
She pointed to two people across the room. "Look at that hug, that embrace. This is bringing people together. Some people haven't been getting out since this happened. It's about people being together. I see people coming together and healing."
Many people have placed flowers, candles and stuffed animals at makeshift memorials that have popped up all over town. Others are stopping by the Edmond Town Hall to drop off food, toys or cash. About 60,000 teddy bears were donated, said Ann Benoure, a social services caseworker who was working at the town hall.
"There's so much stuff coming in," Mahoney said. "To be honest, it's a bit overwhelming; you just want to close the doors and turn the phone off."
Mahoney said the town of some 27,000 with a median household income of more than $111,000 plans to donate whatever is left over to shelters or other charities.
Sean Gillespie of Colchester, who attended Sandy Hook Elementary, and Lauren Minor, who works at U.S. Foodservice in Norwich, came from Calvary Chapel in Uncasville with a car filled with food donated by U.S. Foodservice. But they were sent elsewhere because the refrigerators in Newtown were overflowing with donations.
"We'll find someplace," Gillespie said. "It won't go to waste."
In addition to the town's official fund, other private funds have been set up. Former Sandy Hook student Ryan Kraft, who once baby-sat Lanza, set up a fund with other alumni that has collected almost $150,000. It is earmarked for the Sandy Hook PTA.
Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel is raising money for a memorial to the victims. He said one man wrote a check for $52,000 for the project.
Several colleges, including the University of Connecticut, have set up scholarship funds to pay for the educations of students at Sandy Hook and the relatives of the victims.
Town officials have not decided yet what to do with all the money. A board of Newtown community leaders is being established to determine how it is most needed and will be best utilized, said Isabel Almeida with the local United Way, which has waived all its administrative fees related to the fund.
She said some have wondered about building a new school for Sandy Hook students if the town decides to tear the school down, but that decision has not been made.
And while the town is grateful for all the support, Almeida said, it has no more room for those gifts. Instead, she encouraged people to donate to others in memory of the Sandy Hook victims.
"Send those teddy bears to a school in your community or an organization that serves low-income children, who are in need this holiday season, and do it in memory of our children," she said.
Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed, Christopher Sullivan, Eileen AJ Connelly, Susan Haigh and John Christoffersen contributed to this report.