tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 14, 2012 11:00am-1:00pm PST
hours been getting reports directly from the scene, and he says consistently those reports say the number of dead, closer to 30 than to 20, and sadly most of them are children. >> and, john, does he have a sense of when we might be able to learn exactly what that number, that final number is going to be? does he have a sense this might be hours away we'll learn this news? >> he believes it will be sometime this afternoon. he believes they are settled pretty closely on a number at the scene, but they want to do two things. number one, have the governor and state police inform the families and number two, just do a second and a third sweep of that school to make sure they have looked everywhere. >> all right, thank you very much, john, appreciate it. witnesses and parents, they're starting to talk about how this is all unfolding. their own experiences, really, the emotions just pouring out and you can't believe the kind of tragedy they're feeling. these are some of the folks this is what they're telling us. i want to bring them in. >> you've been crying. >> yes. >> is it because of what you saw? >> no, they wouldn't even let us
in the building. all i can say is that one of the cops that, you know, the worst thing he had ever seen in his entire career, but it was when they told the parents, all the parents were waiting for their children to come out, they thought they were, you know, still alive. and there is 20 parents that were just told their children are dead. it was awful. >> and you were unable to do anything. >> right. we knew at one point they asked the ambulances to leave, that they didn't need them and we knew that wasn't a good sign. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we're continuing our breaking news coverage of a dramatic, horrific story, unfortunately, unfolding in connecticut right now. in newtown, connecticut, at a small elementary school. the sandy hook elementary school. for those of you who are just tuning in, we are now getting
numbers, our own john king reporting, quoting law enforcement sources as saying at least 20, but perhaps closer to 30 individuals, many of them children, have been killed in this incident. individual suspect, a 20-year-old, is -- the suspect, the shooter is a 20-year-old. law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation telling our susan candiotti, that suspect, we believe, is dead right now. you just heard police at a small briefing, didn't provide a lot of information, but they did tell us the area now appears to be secure, but this has been a horrific, horrific mass killing at an elementary school in connecticut. a school for kids from kindergarten through fourth grade. we're watching all of this unfold. lisa procachini is on the phone right now. she's a parent of an 8-year-old at the school, the sandy hook
elementary school. your 8-year-old is fine, i take it, lisa. tell us what happened. walk us through what you saw and what you heard. >> well, i had a call from one of the teachers who was with my daughter at the time. and locked themselves in a bathroom. they kept my child calm, and told her it was just some hammering going on. and this is all what my daughter told me what happened. next thing you know, the police came in and they, i guess, kn k knocked on the door and let the students -- my daughter and her teacher out and as my daughter is walking out, she did see blood and glass. and that's what her -- as much as she saw, that's what she saw. and i got a call from a teacher who was wonderful enough to give me a call and let me know my
daughter was safe. >> and she's home with you right now. >> yes. >> and how is she dealing with this? i assume this has been a pretty traumatic experience for her. >> i don't really think she gets it right now. i don't -- i don't think she understands how serious things are. i'm kind of even numb to the fact of what has gone on. i'm just in a state of shock, still. so, you know, i think time will tell. i just don't know how i'm going to handle having her know all the, you know, the whole situation. so -- >> your little 8-year-old has been a student at this school, sandy hook elementary school, what, since kindergarten. so you presumably knew a lot of the teachers and the principal as well, right? >> yes, i did. she was -- >> tell us about the principal. >> she was a wonderful,
beautiful person. she's pretty new with the school. and you couldn't ask for a better principal. she's very warm, and personable. and she is always making you feel comfortable about your child at the school. >> did you -- in your wildest imagination, and i know this is a tough situation, lisa, could you ever imagine a mass shooting in connecticut in your small town, not far away from danbury? did it ever cross your mind something like this could happen? >> well, no. but, however, it is happening so much that, you know, it is those towns that you would least suspect it happening that it is happening to. and why is it happening so much and what are we going to do in the future for other schools? how are we going to stop this? >> what do you think? what do we need to do?
>> i wish i knew the answer to that. you know, just having the principals, teachers, more aware, more equipped perhaps with things. i don't -- you know, i'd like to see something like that take place. >> it is a horrific -- >> the children to be safe. >> lisa, thank god your little girl, your 8-year-old girl is okay, with you, at home, lisa joining us on the phone. good luck dealing with all of this, obviously. a horrific, horrific situation. just a little while ago, one of the young students at the school spoke out and said this. >> i was in the gym at the time. and so the teacher -- we hear lots of bangs and we thought that it was the custodian knocking stuff down. we heard screaming.
and so we -- we went to the wall, and we sat down and then a police came in and is like, is he in here, and he ran out, and our teacher, when somebody yelled get to a safe place, so we went to the closet in the gym and we sat there for a little while. and then the police were knocking on the door and they're, like, we're evacuating people, we're evacuating people. so we ran out, there is police at every door, they're leading us down this way, down this way, quick, quick, come on. and we ran down to the firehouse, and there was a man pinned down to the ground with handcuffs on. and we thought that was the victim. we really didn't get a good glance at him because he was -- there was a car blocking it. plus we were running really quick. so then we got to the firehouse
and we sat in our classes and we were all really happy that we were all alive. >> hard to believe this could happen in newtown, connecticut, not far from danbury, connecticut, a small elementary school, a few hundred kids in there, kindergarten through fourth grade. the police chief spoke to reporters a little while ago and said this. >> i will give you some very basic and brief information as we know it now. and we will set up regular press briefings as appropriate. just after 9:30 this morning, newtown police received a 911 call for an emergency at the elementary school. newtown pd upon obtaining information as to the status of the situation contacted the connecticut state police and requested assistance from state police and surrounding police departments. on and off troopers responded to the school and with newtown police immediately upon arrival entered the school and began a
complete, active shooter search of the building. that included checking every door, every crack, every crevice, every portion of that school. our main objective was to evacuate as quickly and as efficiently as possible any and all students and faculty in the school. the entire school was searched. that was accomplished, a staging area was set up, students and staff were put into that staging area. and soon there after the children were -- and staff were reunited with parents and loved ones. there were several fatalities at the scene. both students and staff. there is no information relative to that that is being released at this time until we made complete and proper notification. the shooter is deceased inside the building. there is a great deal of work that is undertaken immediately upon locating the shooter and that is there is a great deal of search warrant activity, great deal of law enforcement activity, in and out of state, to be sure we cover all the bases relative to that specific
individual. suffice it to say the scene is secure. the state police major crimes squad and newtown police department, danbury state attorney and many agencies are working together to answer all the questions surrounding exactly what happened. as mr. occhiogrosso said, we'll keep you briefed, we'll keep you informed on a regular basis, we'll put everything out via our website and with the press conferences. >> that was the police chief in newtown, connecticut. law enforcement source close to the investigation tells our own susan candiotti that the suspect who is deceased is a 20-year-old. we don't know the precise connection, the relationship he may have had with the small elementary school. we are working that. susan candiotti will be joining us momentarily. she's with us right now. you're on the scene, susan. update us on what you know. >> reporter: well, wolf, the latest information we have now, and i didn't hear your earlier reports just now, but is that
the death toll is now rising. earlier we had heard that it was about 20 people, now we're hearing the number of fatalities of adults and children is closer to 30. and 18 to 20 of those dead are children, wolf. we're hearing also that the dead shooter in this case, already dead, is someone in his 20s, we do know according to the state police, they announced the news conference, that the search warrant is being executed at that suspected shooter's home. the shooter has been identified to me by a source as ryan lanza, in his 20s, apparently, we're told, from the source, from this area however that has not been confirmed by the state police who did say that a search warrant is being executed at this time. just a horrific day here in newtown, connecticut, athis commuas this community is coming to grips with this terrible
massacre, wolf. >> so ryan lanza, you know the spelling of his last name, susan? >> ryan. it is ryan. i don't know whether you said brian, but ryan lanza with an r, exactly in his 20s. we're still trying to find out more information, get confirmed information about what connection he may have if any to the school, and we do know that would be standard operating procedure, that police would be actively searching his home for any clues as to what may have allegedly led him to this. we do know, according to another source, that at least two weapons were recovered from his body, which was discovered in a classroom. we do not know whether he took his own life or whether he was shot by police or in some other way. those two weapons described to me as a glock and a six haur and we don't know the caliber of weapons, but we heard multiple shots were fired. eyewitnesses talk about that as well.
and they are still conducting searches throughout the school. you heard authorities say they're satisfied that there are no other victims inside that school. we do not know the numbers of those wounded. >> they say the area is now secure. though the horrific scene obviously needs to be investigated thoroughly. just to recap, closer to 30 confirmed dead now, susan, based on your reporting. 18 to 20 of them children. we don't know how many individuals, children, adults, were injured. we do know that several were taken to nearby hospitals, especially in danbury, connecticut. is all that correct, susan? >> reporter: that's correct. that's correct. and, of course, counseling services are already being made available to the surviving children and adults who have gone through this terrible experience as they try to wrap their arms around what happened. imagine all these young children as well as adults who heard gunfire, who were hurried out of
the school, just as soon as police said it was safe for them to do so. while police conducted a thorough search of that school. they said they're satisfied that that school has been cleared. however, they still need all the additional information to try to find out what led to the shooting, precisely who this shooter is and what may have led to this. wolf? >> and where this shooter got those two weapons that were used in this mass murder at this elementary school. susan, stand by for a second. i want our viewers to listen to what a nurse who rushed to the scene to help, what she just said. >> i see you've been crying. >> yes. >> is it because of what you saw? >> no, they wouldn't even let us in the building. all i can say is that one of the cops said, you know, the worst thing he had ever seen in his entire career. but it was when they told the parents, all these parents were waiting for their children to come out, they thought that they were, you know, still alive.
and those 20 parents that were just told that their children are dead. it was awful. >> and you were unable to do anything. >> right. we knew at one point they asked the ambulances to leave, that they didn't need them, and we knew that wasn't a good sign. >> alexis, you told me you were sitting in class this morning, and you saw a lot of police. tell me how you found out what was going on. >> well, we found, like, there was all these people, and we found because it was right near the window in our classroom, and, like, we saw, like, police officers and we heard them on the roof and in our building. >> was everybody crying, scared, wanting their parents to come get them? >> yeah. they were. and then some people were even, like, they kind of felt they got a stomach ache. >> did you hear any gunshots or anything like that? >> well, the police officers, like, they were -- they were kind of, because they were
police officers, like right out the door trying to find the guy. >> what a horrific scene indeed, just to recap. the shooter in this case, the suspected gunman identified now as ryan lanza. in his 20s. that according to a law enforcement source who told that to cnn, the shooter died at the scene. we don't know the circumstances on how he died. we're working those details as well. we do know that the president of the united states, president obama, has been briefed on what is going on right now. he wants to get a firmer grasp on what is going on before he speaks out publicly according to our white house correspondent brianna keilar. but he will be making a statement, jessica yellin, our chief white house correspondent, does tell us. i think based on our reporting the president wants to wait until the governor of connecticut has actually spoken up on this issue, the white house anxious to get
information, the president has been fully briefed on what we know right now. and, remember, a lot of times in a situation like this, a developing situation, some of the initial information proves to be inaccurate, so we want to be as precise as we possibly can be. based on our reporting from susan candiotti, though, who is now on the scene in newtown, connecticut, close to 30 people are dead. of them, 18 to 20 children at that sandy hook elementary school. susan candiotti is still with us. susan, parents who have rushed to that school, especially those parents who are getting the awful news about their kids, do you know where they are, how this is being handled? >> reporter: well, i know that when the children were first led from the school, and this was after police said they had searched every crack and crevice, they said, of the school, to make sure that it was safe to evacuate the children, they were led, some of them in lines and maybe you've seen
pictures or videotape of this, with the small children, we're talking about kindergarten to fourth grade, placing one child on the shoulders in front of them and being led to a nearby firehouse which is used as a staging area where they had adults who had already begun to try to comfort these children, and use that space as some place for parents to go to be reconnected, reunited with their children. we know that some of the parents told us they found out about this, the news media, but others quickly got information via their text phone, or e-mails, something that they could sign up for to receive immediate messages from the school, which is common place these days. we also know, wolf, that after the school was cleared, police and investigators continue to look through the area, to make sure that, in fact, there might not be a second shooter involved. they had isolated one car in particular, but were continuing to walk down the street and
search and look at other vehicles, other buildings in that area. also, according to a source, we know that someone else was being questioned, who was not being called a suspect at this time, but someone else is being questioned in connection with this investigation. that's all we have on that for now. however, the state police do say that they have an active search, we presume they mean a search warrant being conducted at the home of the dead shooter. wolf? >> and the dead shooter came in not only with two weapons, but also with armor, i take it, right? is that the information you're getting, this ryan lanza, in his 20s, who is dead, but he came in with not only weapons, but with armor? is that right? >> reporter: well, there are reports to that extent. i don't have that confirmed information, but some people are reporting that at this time. we're calling those unconfirmed reports right now. >> stand by.
i want to bring in briana kee b keeler our white house correspondent. the president will make a statement to the american people. what do you know? what is going on over there? >> he's been receiving regular updates from his homeland security team, specifically this morning. he was first briefed of the situation in connecticut at 10:30 a.m., his homeland security adviser john brennan alerted him as to the developments. and he since has been receiving regular updates according to the white house spokesman jay carney. we do know, wolf, he's expected to address this, to actually come out before the cameras, perhaps, and give some sort of statement to speak to this. he's been in touch with the governor of connecticut. he's been in touch with his fbi director. the white house has been waiting to get a firmer grasp on the facts. as you know, it is a very fluid situation and the president certainly wants to know he has a firm grasp on the facts of the case, what is going on before he
addresses the nation, wolf. >> it looks like this may be the worst mass killing at a school in u.s. history, based on the information i'm getting over here. columbine high school, littleton, colorado, back in 1999, dylan klebold and eric harris killed 12 fellow students and one teach brother before committing suicide in the school library. in this case, john king reporting close to 30, we believe, are now dead. and 18 to 20 of them children, if those numbers hold up. this looks like it could be the worst mass killing in american history, something no one anticipated would be happening at any point, but listen to the white house press secretary jay carney speak about this, just a little while ago. >> the president was notified by
his homeland security adviser, john brennan, of the shooting in newtown, connecticut, at a school. the president is receiving regular updates as more information becomes available about this incident. and as the day proceeds, if we get more information and as we get more information, we'll certainly provide it to you. i do not have anything to confirm for you at this point. the fbi is supporting state law enforcement, which has the lead as well as local law enforcement as they respond to and begin to investigate this incident. and as i said, the president will receive regular updates as the day progresses. >> jay carney, the white house press secretary, the president going to have to deal with this mass killing in newtown, connecticut, sandy hook elementary school.
other presidents have dealt with tragedies like this one. this president certainly is getting ready to deal with it in in an address to the american people. give us a perspective on what is going on behind the scenes over there at the white house. >> reporter: it is something the president has already dealt with in -- i don't want to say in a similar situation, wolf, because obviously every tragedy is different, but following the shooting of congresswoman giffords, and following the terrible shooting at the movie theater in colorado, these were points in time where president obama, as other presidents before him, had to step in and give a unified message and certainly a voice of sympathy and understanding for the people who are affected by a shooting like this. you covered virginia tech. i was there as well. that was something where we saw then governor caine and president george bush come in as
voices because in a tragedy like this, obviously, there are a lot of questions that are raised. there are a lot of concerns that are raised in that sort of -- that's one of the roles of the president in a situation like this, to try to speak to that and be a unifying voice. behind the scenes, we know, wolf, president obama is being regularly updated on this. you know, prior to this morning, obviously the concerns were very much surrounding something very different, trying to figure out a deal or trying to figure out where to go with the issue of the fiscal cliff. at this point, obviously, president obama's attentions have been changed, unexpectedly, to how to deal with this shooting in connecticut and exactly grasping -- this is something his team around him is working on, the details of the investigation, obviously. some of the information will be something that the white house, that the president and his advisers are privy to before members of the public are, wolf.
>> and the president will be making a statement. we don't know exactly when or where. some place in the white house he'll be speaking out. are they preparing for that already? we know he wants to -- he wants to hear from the governor first, the governor of connecticut. >> reporter: let me tell you that, because i reported that, that he was waiting to hear from the governor. i'm now told by the same senior administration official that i spoke with before that he may not be waiting for the governor to speak first because he's had this phone conversation with governor malloy. it is entirely possible that president obama comes out and makes a statement before the governor. i think that may be an indication that perhaps the timeline could be moved up, but beyond what it was before, but at this point, it is very fluid. it doesn't appear to be set and it is certainly not public as to when the president will make a statement, wolf. >> we'll stand by, have coverage obviously of that. and we have been told by the governors aid, one of the governor's aids that he is
meeting with families, trying to console them. he's on the scene. at some point the governor, dannel malloy will be speaking as well. david arioso is on the scene. from your advantage point, david, tell us what you're seeing. >> i'm right outside the firehouse being used as a makeshift shelter for which family members, including parents and children, are holed up. you do see parents walking back and forth on a wooded stretch that leads up toward the school, oftentimes clutching their children, clutching each other, talking on cell phones and almost all the while they're teary eyed. most people won't speak with us, we did get a chance to speak to one little girl, an 8-year-old, third grader, who was inside the school when all this transpired. police essentially barged in, the teachers barged in and ordered them to hide in the classroom. they were all crying as police
and authorities tried to figure out what the situation was, what the crisis was. and essentially their parents were informed by an automated phone call that there had been a shooting at a school. they didn't indicate which school, and so many of the parents here in the region frantically flocked to the schools where they had children attending. this particular parent i spoke to was frantic, arrived here at the school and fortunately found her daughter unharmed. so when we met up with her, she was clutching her, throwing this oversized coat around her as they walked up the road and away from the school. and it is really one of those scenes, wolf, that you really just can't put your finger on and ask enough questions as to why all this transpired. the community here is still very much in shock. there are questions not only of what actually transpired in terms of the details, but why someone would do this. a lot of tears here in this town, sort of the sleepy new england town, about an hour north of new york city.
>> about 60 miles or so, not far away from new york city as well, much closer to danbury, connecticut. david, hold on for a moment. mary snow is in newtown as well, outside the suspect's home, what are you seeing over there, mary? >> we're being kept far back from the suspect's home. the police have cordoned off this area. there are multiple law enforcement vehicles lined up and residents, wolf, are being kept away from their homes as well and looking at a car, a line of vehicles lined up of residents who are told they cannot go to their homes because police tape has been put up. and there are more than a dozen law enforcement vehicles here. >> the suspect, mary, now deceased, died at the scene, we don't know the circumstances surrounding that, ryan lanza, in his 20s. are you getting any information
at all if he had a direct connection to the sandy hook elementary school, where this mass killing took place? >> not as yet. and i have to tell you, wolf, we approached some of the residents here. they're so shaken to the core as you can imagine. one woman filling up with tears saying there are so many small children in this area, that she couldn't really bring herself to talk to us when i asked her about the lanzas and their connection. we don't have any information just yet from here about any connection to the school. >> mary, we're going to check back with you. mary snow is not far away from the suspect's home in newtown, connecticut. ryan lanza in his 20s, died at the scene. one of our cnn executives, meredith artily, has been on the scene as well and she spoke with an eyewitness. listen to this. >> she conveyed to me that she was in a meeting this morning, said it was around 9:30, 9:35,
and she -- there were about seven people in the room, and it was a meeting regarding one of her kids, she has children at the school. and she volunteers at the school as well. and she heard -- she described it as a pop, pop, pop in the hall. and they all heard it. there was seven people in the meeting room. they heard the sound in the hall. and they -- she said three people went out into the hall, the principal, the vice principal and the school psychologist. and to hear her describe it, she said three people went out into the hall, and only one -- only one person came back, the vice principal, she said, who was shot in the leg or the foot, who came crawling back. and she said that she cowered under the table during that moment, and called 911. as did the other people in the room. she said she never saw the
shooter, that she was, you know she was under the table, that the shooting happened in the hallway. and to hear her describe it, she said there must have been 100 rounds. and i asked her to clarify that, i said, really, truly, 100 rounds, she said at least. >> when the vice principal came crawling back, what happened at that point? what did she say? how did the vice principal manage to move or escape? did she describe what was the situation as he was crawling back? >> she described -- she said that -- she said there was confusion there was yelling and understandably, she said there was yelling in the hallway, and she couldn't -- she couldn't tell for a while if it was the police or the shooter it. when i talked to her, she was still inside the school, the school was on lockdown she didn't know if the shooter was dead yet or still there.
>> what did the vice principal look like? when she saw him return? >> i didn't -- i didn't hear her describe that. she said, you know, she said, listen, this is a nice town, this is a nice school, these are the kind of things that don't happen there. she noted this was not some high powered meeting. it was, you know, about my -- about one of my children who was in second grade there. and she -- she was tearful, she's, you know, just understandably panicked, and she said they marched, at some point, i don't have the length of time, but she said at some point after the shooting they marched us out in the hallway, right past the two bodies, laying in the hallway in a pool of blood. >> when she talked about the two bodies, is that of the principal and the school psychologist when she said those two had not returned? are those the two individuals
that she -- >> that's right. that's right. >> and did she say or describe in any way what their conditions looked like when she passed in the hallway? >> no, she did not. she did not. she -- we had a short conversation, she is understandably emotional. those are pretty much the gist of -- that's the gist of our conversation. >> that conversation, meredith artley, the managing editor of cnn.com had. we're standing by, we're now told about an hour or so from now the governor of connecticut, dannel malloy, will be making a statement, and answering reporters' questions. we'll, of course, have live coverage of that. we're also getting more information on what has happened, just to update our viewers who may just be tuning in now at the bottom of the hour. cnn now has been told by law enforcement authorities close to 30 people have been killed, killed in this mass shooting
incident in connecticut at the sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. that's not far away from danbury, 60 miles outside of new york city. of those 30, nearly 30 killed, we're told 18 to 20 of them are children. we don't know how many people have been injured. we're getting more information coming in from eyewitnesses and law enforcement authorities, but right now want to bring in ronald stevens, the executive director of the national school safety center, who deals with school safety all over the country. puts out protocols, what should be done. when you heard about this, ronald, what did you think? >> this was truly tragic that someone would attack the most innocent of all children, particularly with these youngsters being in grades k through 4. a lot of the violence we deal with is with those at the high school level, but truly a tragic and difficult situation for
everyone in connecticut. >> so what do we do about this kind of -- your job is to make sure our schools, whether little elementary schools, like this one, or middle schools, or high schools, they are safe for parents to drop off their kids, not have to worry about these kinds of incidents. what do you do in the aftermath of this horrific mass murder? >> well, in the aftermath we need to go back and take a look at what did unfold. when you have shooters who are committed to come on to a campus with high powered semiautomatic weapons, there is not a whole lot that can be done when this staff is unarmed and when they attack children who are so young. and oftentimes our elementary schools are the last of the schools to ever get an arms school resource officer or someone like that. this is a tragic reminder of how vulnerable our children continue to be. and, you know, there are just limitations on what the school
can do. they need to have good safe, school plans in place. adequate supervision, but when you have someone who is deranged and comes on the campus like this, it is truly tragic. >> this is a small school, a kindergarten through fourth grade, less than 600 students attend this sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. ronald, hold on for a moment. john king is getting more information for us. what are you learning, john? >> reporter: wolf, i want to pass on some information. this is from a second federal law enforcement source i spoke to in washington, d.c., getting information from fbi officials on the scene, other federal and state authorities on the scene. this source now saying that 27 is the new, but still preliminary number. they are working off now. they believe 27 killed in this school shooting. they call that number new but preliminary, but there could be additional information. in a breaking news tragedy like this, often the numbers change as the day goes on and more n information becomes available. of the 27 this source said at least 18, at least 18 of the
dead are children at the school today. this source going on to say that information from the scene is the shooter you've been talking about with other reporters was born in 1988, believe he's 24 years ole. that's information from the scene. they believe that is reliable information. and that the shooter who is dead at the scene is, quote, not a stranger to the school, not a stranger to the school. this official said. he also said the shootings, quote, happened relatively quickly and in the same concentrated area of the school. he was not running the halls, meaning not running the halls firing the weapon. so the source, again, i want to reiterate say happened relatively quickly and in the same concentrated area of the school, and, again, this source saying 27 is the number now operating on. you mentioned. we'll hear from the governor shortly, he's asked state police at the scene and others at the scene not to release the firm number until he can speak to all of the families involved, but we're getting at roughly consistent in that area, this source saying 27 is the number they believe. a federal official, a second source i spoke to earlier said he was hearing 26 or 27 and
certainly said they are convinced from the reports they're getting from the scene that the number of dead, wolf, closer to 30 than to 20. >> any word at all on injuries? we know local hospitals have received injured students and others. >> reporter: i was told by one of the first source earlier that several people were wounded and taken to local hospitals because they were so focused on trying to get the number of fatalities and trying to deal with making sure that they had doubled, triple checked that school, both for evidence and to make sure there were no other bodies, no other people hiding, that in my conversations with the sources, that was their urgent concern. the source i did speak to earlier, this is a little more than an hour ago, the first source said that several people were wounded, did not have any information on the severity of those injuries. >> awaiting word from the governor of connecticut, dannel malloy, also awaiting word from the president of the united states, both, we're told, will be making statements soon. we'll get more information from both the president and the governor. john, stand by. i know you're working your
sources, getting more information as well. brooke baldwin is joining us from the cnn center right now. brooke, what a horrific, horrific moment. at the beginning, i'm sure like you, when we first heard word of what was going on, we thought, you know, another incident, but then the horrific numbers start coming in and you think of these little kids, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade in a small elementary school like this, and you say, how could this happen? >> exactly. my heart is heavy today and i think many people around cnn, around the nation, around the world, are feeling for these parents, the parents, of course, of the survivors, but i'm thinking particularly of these parents who are sitting in this firehouse, near this school, wondering if one of their children is one of those who is no longer with us. as we continue to watch these pictures and pray and think about this community, this sleepy new england community here in connecticut, i want to bring in victor blackwell, who
has been sort of combing through some of the day, as this has been a very fluid story. we have been hearing from little ones, adults, parents, police, it is horrific. >> and it is a national tragedy. but as you look at the children, and their parents, you realize this is also a very personal tragedy. a small town, a relatively small school, and these children were just going to school on a normal day. their parents got a robocall, an automated call there had been a shooting. >> at a school. >> at a school. and then you imagine the feelings, the rush to the school. so we put together from these parents, from the children, from law enforcement this horrific morning in newtown. >> when i was getting in my car, i heard sirens going off continuously, car after car after car, some of them were flying up past my house and coming back around again and going to the school. this house is three houses away from the school. >> just after 9:30 this morning
newtown police received a 911 call for an emergency at the elementary school. newtown pd upon obtaining information as to the status of the situation contacted the connecticut state police and requested assistance from state police and surrounding local police departments. >> we saw a police officer and we heard them on the roof and in our building. >> did you hear any gunshots or anything like that? >> well, police officers, like, they were kind of, because they're police officers, like, right out the door, like trying to find the guy. >> it was shocking. i got the call at work this morning and i can't believe a small town like this would ever have anything like this happen. and to be in an elementary school, it's unheard of. >> doesn't even seem real. it just does not seem like it is even possible. it is like you read it in the paper, see it in the news and you think, my god, that poor family and then you have something happen so close to home, it's, like, i think i'm still in shock. >> i can tell you that first of all, obviously, our hearts and
prayers go out to the victims of this terrible incident. very tragic. our police are currently working closely with the newtown police department, we have mutual aid agreements in place. along with the state police that have taken a lead in this investigation. >> the scene is secure. the state police major crimes squad and newtown police department, danbury state attorney and many agencies are working together to answer all the questions surrounding exactly what happened. >> was everybody crying, scared, wanting their parents to come get them? >> yeah. they were. and then some people were even, like, they kind of felt they got a stomach ache. >> a stomach ache. that just puts into context, we're not talking aurora. this is not ft. hood. this is not virginia tech. this is k through 4, 5 through 9, maybe, and you imagine that without being maudlin that though that mother of alexis, she said her heart was in a million pieces, when she heard about the shooting, and even up
to this moment of all this happening, she doesn't -- she said it doesn't seem real there are still all the parents who will go home today, and possibly, because it is the holiday season, already have the house decorated for the holidays. >> the gifts for the kids. >> the gifts for the kids not coming home. if that number holds, 27 from john king's sources, that would make this the second deadliest mass shooting and would have been the second deadliest just with the 18 children who were killed today. >> it is horrendous. i was -- i covered the -- a couple of itty-bitty kids killed in the amish shooting, but there is no comparison. there is absolutely no comparison as you point out, we're talking kids as young as kindergartners. wolf blitzer, you have a daughter, i can't begin to imagine. my heart is bleeding for these families right now. >> so sad. everyone around the country, dare i say around the world, our hearts are so filled with sadness right now. and it is only going to get
worse as we get more details and just imagine, brooke, once we start seeing the pictures of these dead little kids, it is going to be an awful, awful scene for people in connecticut all over the world, that we will all have to endure and learn some painful lessons from what has just happened. we just got this comment from a young kid who was there on the scene, witnessed what was going on, and said this. >> there was, like, police officers, like, down on the roof and there was also in the hallways. >> what were they kelling you guys? >> they didn't really tell us anything. just keep in the classroom. >> they removed you. >> they moved them to the firehouse. that's where all the parents and everybody came. >> were all the kids brave like you were? >> some of them were, like, a little scared.
but we had to go through it. >> how did you know they were scared? >> everybody was, like, crying and stuff. >> ronald stevens is with us, the executive director of the national school safety center. ronald, we know there are some schools in urban areas, but elsewhere, that have metal detectors at the doorways. are we going to be seeing more of this now? should we see more of this now? >> it's possible we might see more. but even with metal detectors, things happen so quickly, you can think of the situation at red lake, minnesota, where they had officers and metal detectors at the door and yet the shooter still came in. it is one of those tragedies that is just simply unfathomable, and i don't know of any school in america that would be prepared to handle an assault-like incident that we have been hearing about this morning. >> so does that mean we just throw up our hands and say there is nothing we can do? >> i don't think it means that.
when we start looking into this matter and doing the investigation, i think we're going to find, i will predict we'll find that there were a number of warning signs, in advance, most of the shootings like this reflect that there generally are more than one -- is more than one person involved, and that there were some signals perhaps along the way, but once again, we have such incredible freedom in this country, and yet that comes with enormous responsibility and to even fathom this kind of tragedy visited upon young children of this nature is stunning. >> it looks like now based on the latest information we're getting, john king reporting 27 dead, 18 or so of them children in this mass shooting in newtown, connecticut. we just got this reaction in from a father and a son who were
on the scene, the father obviously was rushing there and panicked. watch this. we don't have it yet. but we're going to get it ready for our viewers. more reaction coming in, ronald stevens still with us, the executive director of the national school safety center. ronald, is there any advice you want to give to parents who are watching right now? because kids are in school all over the country. >> well, i would just encourage parents to tell their children that they love them, spend some time with them, try to offer some form of comfort, and just realize how precious they are. i know from my own perspective this morning i saw three of my grandchildren between the same ages, 5 to 9 or 10, in school go
away. it is a parent's and administrator's worst nightmare. the administrators say they never thought it would happen here, who experienced this. and parents just don't think it could happen in their communities. but this is a vivid reminder of where our society is today. >> we're now told the president will be in the white house in the west wing, he'll go into the press briefing room at 3:15, less than a half an hour from now. 3:15 p.m. eastern and deliver a statement on this mass killing in connecticut. listen to this clip. we just got it in, a father and son at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. >> it was terrifying. i'm still terrified. i think i'm in shock about it all. i still don't know everything that happened. i know there were some people missing, they have been taken to the hospital. i don't know if everyone has been accounted for. it is terrifying. you know, the -- you rush over here, and you can't get to where you need to go and you have to
park down here and walk. i'm glad my son is okay. he seems to be handling it actually pretty good right now. i know my son's teachers have been okay as well. but i've heard other teachers are not okay. >> once again, the preliminary reports coming in right now, 27 dead, that number potentially could change. 18 to 20, we're told, children. others, teachers and others at the small sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. the president of the united states will be speaking on this issue at 3:15 p.m. eastern from the white house press briefing room. we'll have live coverage of that. we're also awaiting remarks from the governor of connecticut, dannel malloy. much more coming up. we're following the breaking news, a horrific, horrific story, one of the largest mass killings in a school in the united states, in u.s. history, the story is unfolding right
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this morning, a gunman walked into this school. the latest number we have, and, again, these are loose numbers, these are preliminary numbers, because let me stress this, police, law enforcement, they want to get the information to the victims' families first, the numbers could change. we're hearing closer to 30 sk l killed at the school. as far as children, little children, kindergarten through fourth grade, somewhere between 18 and 20 children. there is a firehouse, a makeshift shelter for a lot of these families who some of whom have their children, some of whom do not. we were hearing from john king, from some of his federal law enforcement sources, that the shooter, this -- in his 20s, ryan lanza, let me quote this federal law enforcement officer, saying ryan lanza not a stranger to the school, saying that the shootings, quote, happened relatively quickly and in the same concentrated area of the school. he was not running in the halls.
we're getting new information. we also know that the president of the united states has spoken with the head of the fbi. he has spoken with the governor of connecticut. he may be speaking shortly. want to take you to our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin standing by. jessica, do we have any idea if and when the president will speak? >> hi, brooke, yes. president obama is going to speak at 3:15 p.m. eastern time. that's about 25 minutes from now. he will come to the press briefing room in the white house and address cameras. and, you know, this is one of the times when the president is really able to really touch a chord. you know he spoke very movingly after the shootings around gabby giffords, the attack on gabby giffords and so many people on her staff, when he said at that time, remember, it is part of our nature to demand an explanati explanation. he said at that time, bad things happen. we have to guard against simple
explanations in the aftermath. already today, the white house press secretary jay carney made clear that this is not a time to talk about political and policy responses, but think about the families and how they are reacting, how they feel in the aftermath and i expect that's what the president will address, both the federal response, federal help, the law enforcement, and how the nation will come together to help those families heal. brooke? >> jessica yellin, we'll wait and watch for the president to speak there from the white house briefing room in just about 25 minutes from now. and, wolf blitzer, back to you, but something else that jay carney said earlier today, vis-a-vis the president, the president has two young daughters, he's sympathetic to these parents who, i'm sure, are just absolutely reeling right now. >> yeah. he says those two young daughters of his, sasha and malia, to school every day like millions of other parents do every day, they don't expect what has happened in connecticut to unfold. it is a shocking, shocking story
that we're watching. once again, 3:15, 20 minutes or so from now, 3:15 p.m. eastern, the president will be in the briefing room, making a statement to the nation. joining us now on the phone is rabbi praver, a rabbi in the area in connecticut. you're at the firehouse where parents have been brought. is that right? tell us what is going on there. >> okay, we're all gathered here at the firehouse. first, we were speaking with the teachers to tafind out the students who were absent, not absent, and there is another room where there are parents whose children were taken to the hospital after the shooting. and they're waiting for the governor to return to provide further information about their condition. >> has the governor been inside that firehouse with you, speaking to parents? >> yes.
the governor was with us and is coming back at 3:00. >> these are parents who may have lost their children, who may have been killed in this incident. is that what you're -- >> yes, that's what i'm saying. their children were taken to a hospital, and there is a certain amount of children taken to the hospitals and a certain amount already, i think, might, well, i don't think they know conclusively, but many of them suspect, you know, that their children were victims, but we're just holding out hope that the injured will, you know, be okay. >> rabbi praver, stand by for a moment. mary snow is outside the suspect's home, we're told, ryan lanza. mary, tell us what you're learning. >> well, wolf, it is an active
crime scene and there is more than a dozen law enforcement vehicles here. we're being kept back from the home. it is cordoned off. we did see an ambulance leave this scene about 15 minutes ago. and neighbors have been told to -- that they can't go back into their homes. one neighbor i spoke with said that around 11:00, police came and told her to evacuate right away. she said she was back an hour later, where police escorted her to her home, but she was told again to leave and there is no indication of when these residents are going to be allowed back into their home, in terms of what people are saying about the lanzas, i only found one neighbor so far who knows of the family. she did not want to be named but the only thing she would tell me is that there were two brothers, and she described them as troubled. but didn't want to go any
further than that. but that is the scene. and it is a beautiful new england town, very quiet road. the houses are set apart from one another. and right now there is yellow police tape, but it is blocking anyone from going through. and the law enforcement vehicles and police are standing guard preventing anybody from getting any further to the house. >> newtown, connecticut, is a population of under 2,000 people. it is located in fairfield county, 45 miles southwest of hartford, about 80 miles northeast of new york city. mary, we'll get back to you. the suspect -- the suspected gunman, ryan lanza, in his 20s, he died at the scene. we don't know the circumstances. we'll be getting more information on that. joining us now, steve hardy, former police detective, who worked, unfortunately, these kinds of homicides over the years. walk us through what police are going through right now, steve.
>> well, first of all, wolf, they certainly already have tended to the wounded, get the injured out of there, secure that area, locate as many witnesses as possible. that school is going to be closed down for probably a lengthy period of time, while they conduct their investigation. they're going to put the pieces together, in chronological order, see how this happened, was he killed in self-inflicted gunshot or did the teachers and the principal fight back, disarming and possibly killing him? >> now they will go ahead and try to figure out why this happened, why a gunman in his 20s, went into this particular school, with weapons, and started killing kids. >> yeah, unfortunately this is the platform that people like this are seeking out, educational institutions, soft targets. if you want to commit a crime like this. unfortunately we don't have in place right now the mechanism to protect our young and our loved ones. >> what should we be doing, steve, as someone who used to work in law enforcement, what should we be doing?
>> matter of fact, wolf, back at virginia tech, i re-created virginia tech and how to take that back. we have to educate the teachers. we all -- all of our institutions have plans for something like this, however when it happens, it is beyond comprehension. we have to train our teachers to be able to direct the children, especially at this age, direct them and tell them what to do because they can't act on their own. they are defenseless against something like this. it is the adults that have to pick up this process. our education system, law enforcement, and it has got to go beyond the education department to the president's office because the institutions and just imagine what is being planted in people's heads and why they're doing this. >> steve hardy, stand by. we'll continue this conversation. let me welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. we're following breaking news in the united states. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. a horrific mass killing at a small elementary school in newtown, connecticut. not long ago.
and unfolded in the 9:00 a.m. eastern hour. and now we're beginning to get information that close to 30 people have been killed in this mass killing. in this mass shooting incident, about 18 to 20 of them, we're told, children. children in this elementary school, kindergarten through fourth grade, under 600 children in this school, outside of danbury, connecticut, newtown, connecticut, small town population under 2,000. a little while ago, and we're going to be hearing from the president of the united states within the next 15 minutes, he'll be making a statement to the nation from the west wing of the white house, the press briefing room there. we'll also be hearing from the governor of connecticut, presumably getting more details. but a little while ago we heard this from the police chief in newtown. >> i will give you some very basic and brief information as we know it now. and we will set up regular press briefings as appropriate. just after 9:30 this morning,
newtown police received a 911 call for an emergency at the elementary school. newtown pd upon obtaining information as to the status of the situation contacted the connecticut state police and requested assistance from state police and surrounding local police departments. on and off duty troopers responded to the school and with newtown police immediately upon arrival entered the school and began a complete active shooter search of the building. that included checking every door, every crack, every crevice, every portion of that school. our main objective was to evacuate as quickly and as efficiently as possible any and all students and faculty in the school. the entire school was searched. that was accomplished. a staging area was set up. the students and staff were put into that staging area and soon thereafter the children and staff were reunited with parents and loved ones. there were several fatalities at the scene. both students and staff. there is no information relative
to that that is being released at this time until we made complete and proper notification. the shooter is deceased inside the building. there is a great deal of work that is undertaken immediately upon locating the shooter and that is there is a great deal of search warrant activity, a great deal of law enforcement activity both in and out of state to ensure we cover all the bases relative to that specific individual. suffice it to say the scene is secure. the state police major crimes squad and newtown police department, danbury state attorney and many agencies are working together to answer all the questions surrounding exactly what happened. as mr. occhiogrosso said, we'll keep you briefed, we'll keep you informed on a regular basis. we'll put everything out via our website and with these press conferences. >> the gunman has been identified as ryan lanza in his 20s. someone from the town of newtown, mary snow, is now joining us.
mary is outside the suspect's home there. we're getting the first images now from that home. mary, update our viewers on what you have learned as we await the president of the united states. >> wolf, we are on the road where the lanza home is located and as you can probably see there are police lines behind me. police are keeping residents out, reporters out. there are more than a dozen law enforcement vehicles here. we did see an ambulance leaving the scene about 15 minutes ago. and what we can tell you from neighbors is this, they say that about 11:00, one neighbor told us police came and told her that they had to evacuate right away, left their home, some people have been able to be escorted back to their homes, but then leaving again. this is an active crime scene, unclear when residents will be able to return to their homes. in terms of what people are saying about ryan lanza, talked
to several people here who live in the area, they said they were unfamiliar with the -- >> we just lost our connection with mary snow. but we'll reconnect with her. david arioso, one of our cnn producers, is also on the scene. david, where exactly are you in newtown? >> wolf, i'm standing directly in front of the firehouse right now. and that's been essentially used as sort of a makeshift holding place. for a lot of these families and children and parents who essentially just are trying to cope with what has transpired, i can count probably at least half a dozen emergency vehicles. so it is still very active scene down here. helicopters flying overhead, fbi, atf and local and state officials are all on scene as is the media here, as families walk out. many people tried to speak with them, but many are just inconsolable. you see people walking out, parents clutching their
children, tears in their eyes, speaking on cell phones and just trying to convey the gravity of the situation here. and i had an opportunity to speak with a local teacher, not a teacher at the elementary school where the shooting took place, but in the nearby school system and she said the people move here, often for the schools, so you have people coming from in and around the state, for the quality of the education that students get in this area. and so it became such a shock when you see something like this transpire. it is -- it leaves you at a loss for words, both what she said and in my own reporting here, just not something that you're accustomed to, to be reporting on, on this many fatalities of children at that age at an elementary school. wolf? >> we're getting this horrific information from a source close to the investigation, david, i want to be precise with our viewers, the suspect in this case, ryan lanza, in his 20s, from newtown, connecticut, we're
told that the suspect's mother was a teacher at this small school, of sandy hook elementary school. and she, we're told by this source, has been shot and killed in this incident. what a horrific, horrific development. all of a sudden, we're beginning to get a connection between ryan lanza, the shooter in this case, he himself died at the scene. we don't know precisely the circumstances, how he died, but we know he's dead. ryan lanza went into this school, started shooting children and adults, close to 30 people have been killed. we're told maybe 18 or 20 of them children. and now we're told that ryan lanza's mother, a teacher at this elementary school, was shot and killed herself. david, i want you to hold on for a second, because you're outside that firehouse, inside the firehouse, trying to comfort these families as rabbi sha
shaul praver, has a small congregation in newtown, connecticut, rabbi, are you succeeding, are you able to comfort some of the parents who are inside, some of whom may have lost their children? >> very much in shock. it is very, very difficult. some of them do not know the condition of their children at the moment. we're awaiting -- it is terrible anxiety. some of them, we hope, will survive. they're at hospitals and the governor will come back and provide us more specific information at 3:00 or around then on their condition. it is very hard to console parents in this situation, but we're trying and members of our congregation, psychologists, social workers, have come immediately to try to help. >> rabbi, what do you say to parents who may have already
been told that their little daughter or little son was killed? >> there is no theological answer to this. you ahave to hug them and just e with them and cry with them. >> are any of these families members of your congregation in newtown? >> we're awaiting for the news on one child, noah, that's his name, and he's a first grader. and his classroom was near the principal's office, so we're worried about that. and we're awaiting to see if he survived the attack. >> how many parents, rabbi, are inside that firehouse being consoled right now, awaiting word on the fate of their little children? >> i'm sorry, i didn't hear the question. >> i said, how many parents, how many family members are inside that firehouse where you are
right now? >> i would say at least 30 adults are here, so you have parents and then their parents are with them, supporting them. so there is at least 30, perhaps even more there. hard to know exactly, you know, who is awaiting the news and who is there as a friend, so it is hard to give a precise number. but the room is pretty full. >> and they're getting the information directly from governor malloy? >> i don't really know how that all works. i just know that the governor briefed us all. and said that he was going to tell us as soon as he found anything out and that he said he would be back, you know, around 3:00. so i don't know if it is specifically the governor that is providing any information or not. >> rabbi praver of congregation of israel out of newtown, connecticut, he's in that firehouse, he's trying to console some of these parents
who may have lost children in this mass shooting today at the sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. rabbi, we'll continue our conversation. what a painful conversation it is. i'm sure it must be so painful for you to be with these family members, with these parents of children who may have been killed in this mass murder. that's what we have to call it. susan candiotti is on the scene for us as well. susan, are you getting more information on what happened? >> yes, wolf. i have some new information to report now from two law enforcement sources that among the dead is the mother of the shooter in this case. the mother of the shooter is also dead. she is a teacher at the school. now, we don't have confirmed whether she was found dead at the school, or at some other location. but two sources tell us that she, too, is among the dead. also some additional new
information to report to you, wolf, is that the shooter, ryan lanza, is 24 years old, 24 years old. to remind our viewers. he was found dead at the scene, in a classroom. and additionally he was found with at least two weapons. i am hearing there may be even more weapons that were found. and also as we have previously reported, another person is being questioned by police in connection with this shooting, but we have no additional information on that at this time to report. wolf? >> is the working assumption, and i know this information is preliminary, subject to change, is the working assumption there among law enforcement, susan, that ryan lanza, after opening fire, killing all these people, took his own life? >> reporter: that is the working assumption here. but we don't have that confirmed information that he took his own
life. but that certainly is the working theory here. and so they have a lot of pieces to put together. we also know, for example, that authorities have been executing a search warrant at ryan lanza's home. and they have been doing that for quite some time now. we have no information yet about what kind of information they have found. for example, had they found any additional weapons at the house. it is very likely if he had a computer there, they certainly would have seized that and the hard drive and would be hard at work examining that. so common that so many of us have computers these days. and so we're waiting for another update, we hope to get more information. of course, in the coming minutes, hours, we'll have to see. and as you know, the governor will also be holding a news conference, scheduled in less than an hour from now, expected to happen around 3:30 or so, wolf. >> and in the next few minutes we'll be hearing from president obama at the white house as well. but, susan, quickly, i want to be precise on this, is it your
information that the shooter, ryan lanza, went to the school and among others actually shot his own mother there, that she is a teacher at this school, and you're now reporting she was shot and killed. i assume he must have shot her, but correct me if i am wrong. >> reporter: you know, the only information we have now is that his mother is a teacher at the school. and she was -- she has been found dead. interestingly we don't have our law enforcement sources telling us that she is among the dead at the school. only that she is dead. >> what a horrific story. susan, i know you'll be working your sources, getting more information. mary snow is work her source. she's outside the suspect's home in newtown, connecticut. we'll check back with her. david ariosto, our producer on the scene, we'll check back with him. i want to go to our chief white
house correspondent jessica yellin in the white house briefing room right now, awaiting the president. set the scene over there. momentarily he'll be walking out, making a statement, jessica. >> that's right, wolf. we just got the two-minute warning here in the white house for the president to enter the press briefing room here and address this shooting. tragically we have all too much experience of the president speaking to the nation after shooting rampages such as this one. and in these instances he generally -- he often tries to bring it to a personal level, talk about that it is like as a father, to relate to what -- to the experience that parents are feeling across the country right now, watching this story unfold, and try to tell a story from inside that school, usually tries to find a story of heroism if he can, to reassure the nation that there are positive stories of american resilience,
but this is such a grim day, it is a hard one for the president, no doubt, and for the white house here, wolf. the president found out about this at 10:30 this morning from his director of homeland security. he's received updates throughout the day. he spoke to the fbi director, to the connecticut governor, and has been briefed consistently. the white house has admonished us not to talk about policy and gun control issues today. this is a day for grieving and concern for the families of those involved. and i expect the president to come out here and make some brief remarks, wolf, much more personal in nature. wolf? >> we just have gotten word, release from the white house, that the president has ordered all flags flying at half-staff at the white house, all u.s. institutions, public grounds, all over the country. there you see the flag over the white house flying at half-staff right now in his order. he says i also direct that the flag shall be flown at
half-staff for the same length until december 18th, 2012, same length of time at all u.s. embassies. here is the president. >> i offered governor malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation. and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families. we have endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. and each time i learn the news, i react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a parent. and that was especially true today. i know there is not a parent in america who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that i do. the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.
they had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. so 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. our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well. for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their
children's innocence has been torn away from them too early. and there are no words that will ease their pain. as a country we have been through this too many times. whether it is an elementary school in newtown, or a shopping mall in oregon, or a temple in wisconsin, or a movie theater in aurora or a street corner in chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. this evening michelle and i will do what i know every parent in america will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. but there are families in connecticut who cannot do that tonight and they need all of us
right now. in the hard days to come, the community needs us to be at our best as americans, and i will do everything in my power as president to help. because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend the hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours. may god bless the memory of the victims and in the words of scripture, heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds. >> very, very emotional moment for the president of the united
states. dare i say for all of america. much of the world right now. you don't often see the president of the united states showing such emotion, wiping away tears as he speaks of these little kids, 5 to 10-year-old kids, the majority of the victims who were killed in this mass shooting in connecticut today. got to tell you, i covered a lot of presidents, i haven't seen a president emerge as emotionally charged and this is a president who has two daughters, he sends to school every day, like millions of other parents all over the country, how much they can identify with what is going on right now, this insanity that has occurred in this small elementary school in connecticut. today, john king is joining with us more information. we have covered presidents, not often -- dare i say, i don't remember a time i've seen a president start literally crying like that in the middle of a major statement. >> as the president himself noted, wolf, i think he was addressing the nation more as a
father than as a president. and i can -- i've been texting my teenage daughter all afternoon. i get what the president says about hugging your children a little tighter tonight. this is incomprehensible and that's one reason the president was so sad, as he delivered that statement there. as we get more information, wolf, it becomes more incomprehensible. i'm told by federal law enforcement source that most of those killed were killed in the classroom of the alleged shooter's mother who was a teacher at the school, nancy lanza. and that he went into that classroom and, again this is according to police at the scene, reporting back to federal law enforcement officials here, shot and killed his mother and then shot and killed students and this source saying most of those killed were killed in that classroom and she was a kindergarten teacher at the school, wolf. that is again the incomprehensible information we're getting as more and more details of the investigation emerge. >> we're getting this information, john, as well, from our justice producer, terry
frieden, let me be precise in what he has learned, senior law enforcement official familiar with the investigation, he tells us, says a brother of the shooter, the alleged shooter, was found dead in the residential location, near searched in hoboken, new jersey, across the river from new york city. in addition, the mother of the alleged shooter was found dead in the elementary school. the father who was divorced from lanza's mother lives elsewhere in connecticut. the official said. the official declined to provide further details. so, john, now we're learning not only was the mother found dead, as you've been reporting inside the small elementary school, the sandy hook elementary school, and many of the children were who were killed were in her classroom, she was a teacher at this school, but the brother of the alleged shooter was found dead in a residential location in hoboken, new jersey. this has been obviously very, very off, even more awful than you can imagine. >> and you were speaking, wolf, i'm sorry, a short time ago to
the school security expert who predicted something similar to this, said as more details emerge, you're likely to find a profile of somebody who was having a very troubled issues in his or her family life. now we know the shooter, of course, 24-year-old, i believe, young man, ryan lanza, according to police at the scene and you have from terry frieden's reporting, a brother killed, his mother was a teacher at the school, and is believed that she was the primary target, according to federal law enforcement officials and he shot her and then shot children in her classroom at the school, most of the deaths i'm told by the law enforcement source occurred there in that one concentrated area of the school. and the police will try to put this together. and obviously there will be detailed investigation into what thing or what things may have been the trigger here for this horrific event. and that is part of the investigative detail that we'll try to put together, and it is always the big question, the president just asked it quite poignantly and i think parents around the country as well as all those law enforcement
officials were showing on our screens at the scene today will be asking very short question, why. >> we don't know. we have no idea, though i suspect we'll learn a lot more in the coming minutes, hours and certainly days. john, stand by. jessica yellin is our chief white house correspondent. you were in the briefing room when the president delivered the powerful, very emotional statement. we saw him repeatedly pausing, trying to control himself, wiping away tears as he spoke to the american people. >> wolf, i've simply never seen the president that emotional. publicly he's never cried like that in my presence. he was consistently wiping away tears as you say. beautiful little kids, he called them, and pointed out, again, as he always does, during these instances, but it seemed to really hit home for him here, the white house, and for so many of his aides that we saw actually holding hands and crying by the side, that he is a
parent who can now go home and hug his children tonight, but these families cannot. obviously this is not a story about the white house. but when he speaks as the consolar in chief, it is sort of representative of what so many people around the country are experiencing tonight and this is, in a way, one of those stories that wrenches everybody out of the moment, out of the stories that we have been covering, and reminds us all that whatever partisan politics we have been going through in reporting on, this is a time to just pause and appreciate our families, appreciate what we do have, comfort those who are struggling right now and going through loss. president obama is clearly struggling to do that himself right now because he is clearly shaken by this. personally. and i would point out that he did make a veiled reference to trying to take some action in the wake of this. he said whatever our politics, we have to do something to make sure these tragedies stop. we will have to follow up on another time to see exactly what that means for him, wolf.
>> and there is no doubt that the president is emotionally moved. i suppose he's anxious to go to connecticut, console the parents. we're awaiting word from the governor of connecticut, dannel malloy, speaking momentarily. let's take this quick break. we'll resume the breaking news coverage right after this. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still "stubbed" up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant. no way. [ male announcer ] sorry. alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast acting decongestant to relieve your stuffy nose. [ sighs ] thanks! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus. ♪ oh what a relief it is! ♪ [ male announcer ] to learn more about the cold truth and save $1 visit alka-seltzer on facebook. [ male announcer ] to learn more about the cold truth social security are just numbers thinkin a budget.d...
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newtown, connecticut, where a shooter, ryan lanza, 24 years old, went into that school, and started killing people. we are now told according to law enforcement authorities the suspected gunman shot his mother, a teacher, at the school, and then opened fire on children in that classroom and others inside, we're told, close to 30 people have been confirmed killed. maybe 18 or 20 of them children. we're also told that the mother of ryan lanza, nancy lanza, was shot and killed in this classroom as well as earlier the brother of ryan lanza in a residential area of hoboken, new jersey. what can we say? this kind of situation is powerful and awful and we just saw the president of the united states make a -- deliver a statement to the american people in which he choked up. he had to pause on several
occasions. he started crying, wiping back tears, speaking as a parent who sends his two little girls, his daughters to school every single day. this is a story that millions and millions of people all over the united states will appreciate. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states, and around the world. let's get some perspective on what is going on here. dr. drew is joining us from los angeles right now. dr. drew, what can we say? how do you console parents who are going through a tragedy, a crisis like this at that firehouse. we heard from that rabbi who is there, meeting with these parents, they have been told that their 5-year-old, 6-year-old, 7-year-old has been killed. >> wolf, there are no words. there are no words. it is simply the worst experience imaginable. there is no way to console. we just have to be present while people grieve. we are in a new world today.
we have crossed over to a world where somebody feels justified in acting out their rage by killing children at close range. i spent a lot of time in the media trying to figure out why random acts of violence occur, why a kid in oregon seems disconnected from reality for a while and does senseless things. this is something different. this is sinister. this is somebody purposefully planning, going, killing his family, and killing small children. that's the world we live in right now. we live in a world where people feel justified in pushing somebody on a subway tracks and killing small children. this has got to change. this has got to change. we all have to be aware of this. our culture is sick. there are sick amongst us. and we have to begin to address this. >> it looks, dr. drew, like as if what happened was this individual, ryan lanza, 24 years old, was at hoboken, and, you
know, this is -- it looks like the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together, shot and killed his brother. then drove, what, about 80 miles from hoboken, to newtown, connecticut, went inside the small elementary school, and shot his mother and then opened fire on children. this is something -- you can imagine driving from hoboken to newtown, connecticut, thinking about what he's about to do. he was well armed. he had assault weapons. he had a lot of ammunition. and, you know, he's obviously dead. we're not going to get his side of the story, unless he leaves some sort of evidence, a note or something to give us an indication. >> really doesn't matter. this sort of purposeful, goal-directed, rageful action, people talk about it as evil, this is truly in that zone. this is psychopathy. there must have been evidence that this was a problematic person long before, and i'm saying now, we have to help people help them. we have to prevent people from
doing these things. we have to break down parents' denials who don't want to admit their kid may be -- have tendencies in this direction. we must take action before something horrible like this happens. this is not like an oregon, where the kid seems out of context, doesn't seem understandable. that's what you call a psychotic episode. there may have been something of that nature going on here. we'll learn as we go along, but the purposeful, goal-directed nature of these actions suggest something far worse, far more sinister, and far more chronic. in other words, far more potentially predictable. listen, i was thinking about this, wolf, just sitting here in the chair waiting to talk to you, when we're treating -- when we operate a hospital or in a treatment environment, we try to operate like a healthy family, in order to decrease the tendencies for the most vulnerable amongst us, the ones we're trying to treat from acting out. it is time for our government and our culture to act like a
healthy family. divisiveness is starting to have its effect amongst the most vulnerable amongst us and it is time to stop. we have to lead our way out of this, and we need our leaders to behave in a healthy manner. >> we're awaiting, dr. drew, the governor of connecticut, dannel malloy, he's been inside that firehouse meeting with parents whose kids were killed today. first graders, second-graders, third graders and he's about to make a statement there, he's walking up to the microphone. momentarily we're told we'll hear what he has to say. but what i'm interested in you telling us, maybe you'll tell us after we hear from the governor, what do parents tell their children tonight because this is -- these kinds of incidents, how do you explain what happened here? >> right. feel free to interrupt me if the governor starts speaking. the fact is we have to begin to operate healthy within our families, within our communities, within our states,
within our government. we have to start in our families and helping kids understand that they're loved, they're in a stable environment, we're committed to them, and we have to be committed to them, we have to be parents, and that they are safe. sometimes you may pick -- depending on the age of the child, maybe that child will want to take action, take self-defense classes, want to do something where they can feel like they're in control of their environment. but fundamentally, the safety and security and the commitment to the family needs to be reassured. it is the holiday season. we need to let the kids have their holiday season. but i'm telling you, we need to operate on the macro level as well as on the individual family level. we, as parents, need to take a page from our leaders -- >> hold on. >> let's see what they have to say. >> earlier today a tragedy of unspeakable terms played itself out in this community. lieutenant governor and i have
been spoken to and in an attempt we might be prepared for something like this playing itself out in our state. you can never be prepared for this kind of incident. what has happened and what has transpired at that school building will leave a mark on this community and every family impacted. i only ask that all of our fellow citizens here in the united states and around the world who have already offered their assistance remember all of the victims in their prayers. to all of you in the media, we will do our best to keep you as informed as we can. after i'm done speaking, a representative of the state police will speak to you and give you some additional information. earlier today, a number of our
citizens, beautiful children, had their life taken away from them. as well as adults whose responsibility it was to educate and supervise those children. the perpetrator of the crime is dead. as is an individual who the perpetrator lived with. with that, i'm going to turn it over to paul vance, who will answer or will give you some additional information and then later in the day perhaps we'll speak again. again, i think on behalf of the people of the state of connecticut, we extend our condolences as i have at the firehouse to the parents of these children, as well as the adults that are there. i want to thank the president, who has been on the phone with
us today, for his statement released to you a little while ago as well as the statements he made to me earlier -- much earlier today, as the hours raced by. and with that, i should also say that there are a number of public officials including the first select woman who has been on site throughout the day, we have state representatives, state senator, other select people who are here. we have the superintendent of the school who has done
ancillary things that may be attached to the identity and the individual. the scene has been secured. major crime units have responded and are working with several agencies to process this scene. it is not a simplistic scene as you can certainly understand. we need to establish identity, we need to document the entire scene, and simply stated we need to answer every single question surrounding exactly how and why this incident occurred. as the governor said, we will be here through the night, certainly through the weekend and we're not even putting a time stamp on this as to when we will complete this project. we'll work with the medical examiner's office, we have to establish positive identification, and, again, a great deal of work that needs to be done here at the school. we'll take some very -- again, very brief questions but understand this is an active ongoing case and there are many things we cannot and will not discuss at this time. yes, sir. [ inaudible ]
>> there is a secondary crime scene here in newtown. that is, in fact, correct. there is an adult deceased at that location. i can't discuss any further information on that at this time. there is assistance being lended to us by new jersey. i don't have the details on that. so i can't answer that. i'm sorry. yes, ma'am. >>. [ inaudible ] -- the children were in one classroom and in one space? >> i can simply state that the information that we have right now that we want to publicize that the shootings took place in one section of the school, in two rooms. that's as much as we want to go in right now as far as location. our personnel are documenting that entire scene and we'll have literally everything mapped out in a final report, and we'll report the answers to those questions. right now i don't have any more
details than that. you had a question, sir. someone -- right now there is one shooter, but, again, we're still looking at every ancillary fact and circumstance related to the deceased shooter at the scene. yes, sir. [ inaudible ] >> i don't have that information, i'm sorry. [ inaudible ] >> to be determined. i don't have the answer to that question either. the next step will be the medical examiner's office will assist us in answering a lot of those questions, manner and cause of death of all of the decea deceased. that's it. 26 deceased. >> lieutenant, once again, the children -- >> i'm sorry, one injury. one person was injured, yes. >> one classroom? >> i'm sorry? >> were the children in one classroom? >> one section, one area of the school. that's the best i can do on that answer. i don't know specifically how many rooms are involved. i was told that there were two, but in one section of the school building. >> the adults -- >> everyone was in that same section of the building. >> was that kindergarten. >> that is to be determined. a section of the building is as far as we want to go.
[ inaudible ] >> that's to be determined once more examinations are complete. >> -- the shooter as well. >> excuse me? >> does 26 include the shooter? >> 26. >> just at the school? >> that's at the school itself. there is one more as we said, a secondary crime scene, a deceased adult at a secondary crime scene. yes, ma'am. [ inaudible ] to be determined. that's something our investigators are going to have to look at thoroughly and completely and that will take some time to try and answer that question. [ inaudible ] we haven't established any of that, ma'am. we have not made any positive identifications. we're working on that. there is preliminary identifications made, but we have, as i said, a great deal of work. that's one thing we have to do is establish positive identification on all the deceased and that's a time consuming process. >> do we know the ages of the victims? the ages, the age range?
>> i don't know. it is a k through 4 elementary school. okay. >> when police went into the school, were there school shots being fired at that time? >> that i don't know. i don't know the time sequence. that will be something we will provide. what i would like to do is -- no, we did not. what i would like to do then is tell you this is a briefing. we'll be back in 60 minutes. myself and the lieutenant from newtown will be back in 60 minutes, see if there is any more details. i have? of t some of the questions you posed. i'll try to get answers to provide you with information. that will be just about 20 to 5:00, quarter to 5:00. >> you say that's 20 children, 6 adults and the shooter, correct? >> 20 children, 6 adults in the facility, plus the shooter, that's 27, and then a secondary scene with an additional adult victim at that secondary scene. >> 28. >> okay. >> 28. >> about 20 of, quarter to 5:00. >> do you have an age range?
>> i do not. i do not. one thing i would like to say is that we have been meeting with all of the family members, it is a very, very difficult scene for the family members, for all the responding, first responders, it is a tragedy. it is a tragic scene. i would -- we have been asked by the family members to ask the members of the press to respect their privacy, and to please leave them alone at this time. they're going through a tremendous amount of grief which i'm sure you can appreciate. i would -- i've been asked to ask you that, personally, by the family members. all right? i'll be back in 60 minutes with the lieutenant and we'll answer any additional questions we can. i don't know. >> the police chief in newtown, connecticut, updating us, giving us the latest information, the latest numbers and these are awful, awful numbers, 26 people elementary school in newtown, connecticut, the sandy hook
elementary school. he said one other individual was killed at a different location. we suspect that is the location of hoboken, new jersey, where the brother of this suspected shooter, ryan lanza, has been found, so altogether 27 on the scene, 26 there, plus the shooter. another person will be 28 dead people as a result of what has happened. 20 of those 26 who were killed, children, according to the police chief there in connecticut. we also heard from dannel malloy, the governor of connecticut, earlier from the president of the united states who held back tears as he spoke, not only as the president of the united states, but as a parent, as a father of two girls himself, he appreciates as so many millions of people do the tragedy, the enormity of what has happened. dr. drew pinsky has been listening and watching. dr. drew, what can we say? i don't think there is anything we can say that can console the
parents who have lost a first grader or second-grader or third-grader. 20 children were killed, another six adults including a teacher, one of those teachers being the mother of this suspected shooter. >> yeah, when you say it, wolf, it just takes your breath away. i feel -- i'm afraid i'll lose my lunch thinking about how awful it would just be to be one of those parents. there is nothing that can be done from here to help those people other than to say our prayers and to keep them in our thoughts. it is the people close to them that are going to get them through this. not us. but each of us has been affected by this experience. frankly, wolf, i'm sorry, i'm still disappointed by our leaders. i genuinely appreciate president obama's display of emotion, that was a very big step forward. but they -- they have to do what each of us, what i will have to do as a head of a household tonight in my family, we need that from our leaders, today,
that things are going to be okay, that we are going to get along, that we are going to model healthy behavior going forward, and that this has -- this will stop. we have had a year of unconscionable violence that is ending in a violent episode that, in my opinion, puts us in a new place. close range violence against children. somebody willfully, in a goal-directed fashion, thought this was an okay behavior. it is okay to push someone on a sub we must require people to get help if they have any tendency towards violence or to be disconnected from reality. there is such a thing as healthy and not healthy. you know, wolf, i was explaining to somebody earlier that these days no one would allow someone in the workplace or at school if they were having chest pain and shortness of breath or had an
infectious illness. they would have to take care of their medical condition. get a letter from a doctor in order to come back. we need the same sort of attention to our mental health and we need to each of us redouble our efforts to have healthy families to which we are committed and then again on a macro level, we need our leaders to show us the way. show us the way to a healthier future where this kind of thing is not okay and not contemplated. >> because what we see -- see these horrific crimes unfolding, whether at the movie theater or here, immediately law enforcement over the years has always said to be careful of copy cats. how big of a problem do you, dr. drew, think copy-cats are in these kinds of mass killings? >> wolf, i am sorry to say i think it is a major issue. and it's a major issue today especially. i was riding on an elevator yesterday night here in cnn los angeles with a security guard who looked at me and said, you
know, in a very sort of, you know, sorrowful voice, there's going to be copy-cats. i looked at him. it was a guard i didn't know. and i said really, are we there? that's how bad we've gotten? not only was he right, he was right and we've crossed over with a copy-cat into something truly evil, something unimaginable, where children are killed at close range. i can't even say the words. the president of the united states is brought to tears by this. all of us are brought to tears by it. each of us has to pay attention today, pay attention to our families, pay attention to our communities and start to say no more of this. we have to focus on our health. if somebody is aware of someone right now who's struggling, do not be afraid to enlist the help of law enforcement or mental health professionals. they are not there to be punitive, they are there to help. people in authority are there to help. you need -- they are your friend. you need to use them. do not let this happen in your
community. >> and, dr. drew, as we take a look at what you say there are signs, in this shooter's life what you're suggesting is in recent months or years there may have been signs of evil intent that were obvious to people who knew him, maybe close family members and others, and this could have been prevented if folks would have done something, is that what you're suggesting? >> i'm suspicious of that. of course i don't know this case. again, as i said, wolf, i spent a lot of time in the media trying to help people. it's important to make sense of all these things. part of leading us out is to say what happened, how do we make sense of this. that's good leadership. so we're trying to understand this today as quickly as we can. i have no direct knowledge, but my suspicion is this is somebody who has been struggling for a while and for whom probably there was a certain amount of denial on behalf of his parents or family or even his community and that these people who have
histories of lack of empathy for others, aggression, criminality of any type, they need to be addressed in a cohesive, thorough and a manner without denial. you don't pretend that things are different than you wish they were. you really go after these things, because if you don't, horrible things can happen. >> we have the picture now of the principal of the sandy hook elementary school that we want to show our viewers. susan candiotti is on the scene for us as well. susan, a heart-breaking, heart-wrenching story unfolding. what a tragedy. there she is, the principal at this school, dawn hochsprung was killed, she was also a psychologist at this small elementary school, kindergarten through fourth grade. as the president of the united states said, 5-year-old to 10-year-old children. 20 of them killed now according
to the police chief in newtown, connecticut. 26 people killed altogether plus the shooter, that makes 27. and another person at a different -- at a different location. we expect in hoboken, new jersey. i want to show our viewers some of the images of what has happened. >> car after car after car, some of them were flying up past my house and coming back around again and going to the school. this house is three houses away from the school. >> when we first arrived there, there was not a lot of security to guard and there were three children that came out. one of them was -- had a very bloody face. >> we immediately jumped in the car and headed down here, so
this is troubling. it was really kind of may hem in the room with the kids and the teachers, trying to identify your kid, making sure they were safe, find out what the situation was. it started with the neighbors and the rest of their friends at school and that sort of thing. >> what did your daughter say to you? >> they were immediately crying. petrified of what happened and what did it mean. they're both older than some of the other kids in the school, so understanding what happened. my son was in the gym when it happened, so i think that he heard the gunshots. >> we saw police officers and we heard them on the roof and in our building. >> did you hear any gunshots or anything like that? >> well, police officers, like they were kind of -- there were police officers right out the door trying to find the guy. >> it was shocking. i got the call at work this morning and i can't believe a small town like this would ever have anything like this happen. and to be in an elementary school, that's unheard of.
>> it doesn't even seem real. it just does not seem like it's even possible. it's like you read it in the paper or see it in the news. you're like oh, my god, that poor family. and then you have something happen so close to home, it's like i think i'm still in shock. >> i can tell you that, first of all, obviously our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of this terrible incident, very tragic. our police are currently working closely with the newtown police department. we have mutual aid agreements in place that allow us to provide assets they may not have, along with the state police who have taken the lead in this investigation. >> it's terrifying. i'm still terrified. i think i'm still in shock about it all. >> was everybody crying, scared, wanting their parents to come get them? >> yeah, they were. and some people were even like -- they got a stomach ache. >> they wouldn't even let us in the building. all i can say is one of the cops said it's the worst thing he'd ever seen in his entire career, but it was when they told the
parents. all these parents were waiting for their children to come out. they thought that they were still alive. there's 20 parents that were just told that their children are dead. it was awful. the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. >> when we first arrived there, there was not a lot of security to guard, and there were three children that came out. one of them was -- had a very bloody face. it was a very violent scene. there were two other ones that
they were, you know, they were in the arms of a state trooper. they did not move. their face was very pale. it was very tragic. >> terror at an elementary school in connecticut. a gunman opens fire. 20 children, six adults dead. the shooter dead as well. i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. we're continuing the breaking news coverage of a horrific story here in the united states. let's bring in our national correspondent, susan candiotti. she's on the scene. susan, update our viewers what we know right now. what happened around 9:30 a.m. eastern this morning at that small elementary school in newtown, connecticut. >> reporter: it's a school, wolf, that has the grades kindergarten through the fourth grade. a place that is supposed to be for learning and for fun for these young children ended