Though the gunman’s motive remains unclear, some pieces of the timeline, emergency response and ongoing investigation into Friday’s horrifying shooting in Newtown came into focus Saturday morning as state police addressed media members at a park near Sandy Hook Elementary School.
All 20 children and six adults who died as a result of wounds suffered at the Newtown school have been identified by family members, Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said.
Those families are going through “a very difficult and trying time,” Vance said, pleading with the media to respect the survivors’ wishes for privacy. A list that names the deceased will be made available as soon as the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has finished its work. Vance said that the bodies inside the school all have been transported to that office—located in the Hartford suburb of Farmington, about 40 miles from Newtown.
It isn’t clear when the elementary school will reopen. Vance said investigators likely will be on scene for another one to two days. The superintendent of schools in Newtown is expected to address the media Saturday, Vance said.
Echoing what Newtown police told Patch Saturday morning, Vance said investigators are working hard to try and establish the gunman’s motive. Until that investigation is complete, Vance said, no information about its details will be released.
“I have to tell you that there are certain things, that there are simply cards we are holding close to our chest,” he said.
Also echoing Newtown police, Vance confirmed that the gunman appeared to have forced his way into the school by shooting through glass to breach a secure, locked system.
Vance said that “good evidence” was recovered at the school as well as a Sandy Hook home where a woman whose son is believed to be the shooter was found dead Friday.
Multiple news outlets citing police sources have identified 20-year-old Adam Lanza as the gunman. According to NBC News, three weapons used in the shootings—two 9 mm handguns and a rifle—were legally purchased and registered to Lanza’s mother.
“[The school and home] did produce evidence that investigators are able to use,” Vance said.
Vance confirmed that all three weapons were located near the shooter by police responding to the scene Friday.
First responders to the school encountered “several students and staff suffering from gunshot wounds,” according to a press release issued by the state police.
On- and off-duty troopers and Newtown Police Department officers responded to what the world quickly learned was a horrifying, unimaginable scene following a 9:30 a.m. 911 call reporting a possible shooting at the school, Vance said in the press release.
“Upon arrival, teams of Troopers and Officers formed ‘Active Shooter Teams’ and immediately entered the school,” Vance said in the release. “Teams performed rescues of students and staff, removing them to a safe location as they searched for the shooting suspect within the building. The building was evacuated and students walked hand in hand out to a safe location.”
The shooter, whose identity police have not yet confirmed, was found dead inside the school, Vance said. Police have said the gunman shot himself.
Multiple media outlets have identified 20-year-old Adam Lanza as the gunman. Vance also confirmed that a relative of the gunman was found dead at a residence in Sandy Hook. That deceased person is believed to be Lanza’s mother, Nancy. Nancy Lanza, originally reported to be a teacher at the school, is not in fact a teacher there, according to CNN.
In all, 27 people were killed, police said, including 20 children. Among the adults killed were the school’s beloved principal and psychologist.
The identities of all victims have been established, Vance said. Families of those killed have asked that no media members press them for interviews, Vance said.
The bodies of those that perished have been transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner, which is located in Farmington—a suburb of Hartford about 40 miles away.
“State Police Major Crime Investigators are continuing to process the school crime scene, gathering evidence and documenting the entire facility,” Vance said in the press release. “State Police Detectives assisted by Newtown Detectives processed the interior and exterior crime scene. Teams of investigators flooded the community and followed each lead, developing extensive information.”
In addition to the support for families themselves, Vance said, a crisis intervention team is being made available to the larger Newtown community. That team can be reached at 203-270-4283, Vance said.