Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

School victims shot multiple times

Adam Lanza was the gunman who fatally shot his mother at their home and then opened fire at a primary school, killing 25 others (AP)
A mourner places flowers at a makeshift memorial at a sign for the Sandy Hook school (AP)
Mourners gather for a candlelight vigil at Ram's Pasture to remember shooting victims in Newtown, Connecticut (AP)

The victims of the Connecticut school shooting have been shot multiple times with a semi-automatic rifle, the medical examiner has said, and he called the injuries "devastating".

The details came as police released the identities of the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary school. All of the 20 children killed were six or seven years old.

Police said they had found "very good evidence" they hoped would answer questions about the motives of the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, described as brilliant but remote, who forced his way into the school in one of the world's worst mass shootings. Witnesses said Lanza did not speak during the attack and later killed himself. The Lanza family released a statement Saturday night expressing "our heartfelt sorrow".

The medical examiner, H Wayne Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found."

Townspeople took down Christmas decorations and sang Silent Night at memorials. World reaction was swift and emotional, any many immediately thought of Dunblane - a 1996 shooting in a small Scottish town which killed 16 primary school children and prompted a campaign that ultimately led to tighter gun controls.

Pressure to take similar action built on president Barack Obama, whose comments on the tragedy were one of the most outwardly emotional moments of his presidency. He has promised "meaningful action" on the issue of mass shootings, "regardless of the politics", but national debates after past shootings have led to little change.

Stunned residents and exhausted officials continue to fill in the details of the attack. Town education officials said the well-liked school principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was killed while lunging at the gunman as she tried to overtake him. In Newtown, a small and picturesque New England community about 60 miles north east of New York City, nearly everyone seemed to know someone who died. Investigators said they believe Lanza attended the school many years ago, but they had no explanation for why he went there on Friday.

Connecticut state police Lieutenant Paul Vance told reporters that investigators had found "very good evidence" about the gunman, but another law enforcement source said investigators had found no note or manifesto of the sort they have come to expect after murderous rampages. Just one person, a woman who worked at the school, survived after being shot - an unusually small number in a mass shooting - and Lt Vance said her comments would be "instrumental".

Detectives said two pistols, a Glock and a Sig Sauer, and a .223-calibre Bushmaster rifle were found in the school and a fourth weapon was found outside the school.

President Barack Obama will attend a memorial service later on Sunday in Newtown. Mr Obama's visit to Newtown for an interfaith vigil will be the fourth time he has travelled to a city after a mass shooting.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz