Authorities have cleared up the identity of the suspected gunman in a tragic elementary school shooting in Connecticut.
The nation froze in terror and mourning as news of a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, broke earlier. According to reports, a heavily-armed gunman broke into the school as students congregated in their classrooms for morning meetings.
CNN and ABC News initially identified Ryan Lanza, 24, as the suspected gunman. However, WTNH in Connecticut reports that a law enforcement official has now named Adam Lanza, 20, as the shooter. CBS News reports that Ryan is his brother and he is currently being questioned in New Jersey.
Authorities said that Adam, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, killed 26 people before turning the gun on himself. That total includes 20 children (two of whom were wounded and later died at an area hospital) and six adults. One of the dead was actually Adam’s mother, who teaches at Sandy Hook. She was found dead at a house, but it was first reported that she was among the victims at the school.
Investigators tell WTNH that they expect to be at the school all night and even into Saturday to piece together the event surrounding this tragic shooting, which took place on the last day before Sandy Hook Elementary let out for the holiday break. Lt. Paul J. Vance of the Connecticut State Police told reporters that there is one survivor who may be able to help with the investigation.
President Barack Obama had a visibly difficult time getting through his statement about the tragic matter, stopping several times to compose himself and wiping the corners of his eyes. "I react as anyone else would: as a parent. And that was especially true today," the president stated, promising that the state of Connecticut and the FBI would have every resource needed to investigate the shooting. "I know there is not a parent in America who does not feel the same overwhelming grief that I do."
Pausing to catch his breath, the president recounted the news that most of those killed today were Kindergarten students. "They had their entire lives ahead of them," he said, acknowledging that several teachers were also gunned down. "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."
The president added that the country grieves for the survivors as well. This shooting is one added to a list of horrifying incidents that have occurred this year, including another shooting at a mall in Oregon earlier this month.
"As a country we have been through this too many times," Barack stated. "These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children."
President Obama said that both and Michelle Obama would be hugging their kids a little tighter, grateful to still have the opportunity to show their love and spend time with their daughters. In his estimation, most every parent in America will be doing the same, but it is not lost on him that this is not the case for everyone.
"There are families in Connecticut that cannot do that tonight and they need all of us right now," the president said, encouraging the nation to be a little more caring to one another–especially the parents of the victims. "While nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need to remind them that we are there for them; that we are praying for them."