Washington: In one of the deadliest mass shootings in the US, at least 27 people, including 18 children, have been killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, about 60 miles northeast of New York yesterday.
President Barack Obama has been informed of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and will receive regular updates throughout the day, the White House said.
His spokesman Jay Carney said the president had “enormous sympathy for families that are affected” and pledged federal support for state and local law enforcement.
The shooting appeared to be the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, in which 32 people, including two Indians, were killed and 17 others wounded.
The shooter is dead and his body is in a classroom at the school, CNN said citing a source. Police have recovered two weapons from the suspect, a Glock and a Sig Sauer. It’s unclear if police killed the suspect.
The news channel cited a law enforcement official as saying the suspect is named Ryan Lanza and he is in his 20s. Dozens of law enforcement officials are outside the suspect’s home, it said and his neighbors are “shaken”.
The news channel cited a parent who was inside the school at the time of the attack as saying she heard what sounded like at least 100 rounds being fired. She said she saw two school employees who had died.
The shooting began about 9.30 a.m., the parent said. There was a “pop pop pop” in the hall outside the room. Three people went out of the room into the hall where the sounds had come from. “Only one person came back,” she said.
The witness told CNN that she then called 911. She said she never saw the shooter but she later was escorted outside the room past two bodies lying in blood.
Hospital officials in neighbouring Danbury said they were treating three people wounded in the shooting. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said the victims were in “very serious” condition.
The Newtown Bee newspaper said one child had been carried out by a police officer and emergency crews had set up triage facilities, expecting additional patients. The Hartford Courant newspaper said one victim had “numerous gunshot wounds”.
All schools in the city were on lockdown Friday as police assessed the situation, state police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said.
Students were evacuated to a nearby firehouse, the Danbury News-Times newspaper reported.