Investigators found “very good evidence” to help explain why a 20-year-old gunman opened fire on a Connecticut grammar school yesterday, police said this morning. Lt. J. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police, declined to elaborate on the whether the shooter left a note or other messages explaining why he forced his way into a Newtown, Conn., school. But police are continuing to comb through the crime scene.
“It is going to be a long and painstaking process,” Vance said at a packed press conference shortly after 10 a.m. this morning. The names of the victims are expected to be released later today, as soon as the local medical examiner concludes his investigation, police said. The local school superintendant and other town officials are also expected to address the media.
Vance said state police troopers have been assigned to each of the victims’ families as dozens of reporters, photographers and camera crews arrived in Newtown to cover the aftermath of the tragedy. “They have asked for you to please respect their privacy,” Vance said.
Police say the massacre began yesterday when Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old that some friends and neighbors say had a personality disorder, shot and killed his mother at her home. Then, Lanza went to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown carrying at least two handguns.
Lanza killed 26 people — 20 children and six adults — before shooting himself. It was the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre where 33 people died.
Children at Sandy Hook Elementary hid under desks and in closets with their teachers during Lanza’s shooting spree, according to witnesses. Some children were told to close their eyes as they were led from the building, to avoid seeing the carnage.
Police briefly detained Ryan Lanza, Adam’s older brother, at his home in Hoboken yesterday. In the confusion after the shooting, some media outlets and law enforcement officials identified Ryan Lanza as the shooter. Before he was led from his home in handcuffs, Ryan Lanza posted “IT WASN”T ME I WAS AT WORK IT WASN’T ME” on his Facebook page.