Sources involved in a developing investigation say a 20-year-old gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, on Friday morning at a grade school in Newtown, Conn., roughly 60 miles northeast of New York City.
Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police would not confirm the leaked figures. At a news conference Friday morning, he said there were “several” victims, The Washington Post reported.
The gunman, whose mother was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, reportedly killed her first and then later took his own life. The event ranks as one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history.
A photo released by The Newtown Bee showed a group of young, visibly distressed students being led across a parking lot by attending adults.
State police officers say the Newtown police contacted them around 9:40 a.m., according to The Associated Press. The deployment of law enforcement officers included a SWAT team with at least one sharpshooter placed on the roof of the school.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
The New York Times:
A 9-year-old student said he was in the gym when the shooting erupted.
“We were in the gym, and I heard really loud bangs,’’ said the boy, as he stood shivering and weeping outside the school with his father’s arms draped around him. “We thought that someone was knocking something over. And we heard yelling, and we heard gunshots. We heard lots of gunshots. We heard someone say, ‘Put your hands up.’ I heard, ‘Don’t shoot.’ We had to go into the closet in the gym. Then someone came and told us to run down the hallway. There were police at every door. There were lots of people crying and screaming.’’
Another student at the school told an NBC affiliate in Connecticut: “I was in the gym and I heard like seven loud booms, and the gym teachers told us to go in the corner and we huddled. We all heard these booming noises, and we started crying. So the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us. Then a police officer told us to run outside.”
Update: Sadly the number of children killed has been revised upwards to 20. An earlier version of this report had the number at 18.
AP/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks
Connecticut State Police lead children from the school premises after the shooting.