Victims' names released in Conn. elementary school massacre

12:52 AM, Dec 16, 2012   |    comments
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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Late Saturday afternoon, authorities in Newtown, Connecticut, released the names of the victims in Friday's tragic elementary school shooting rampage.

All six adults killed in the shooting were women, police said Saturday afternoon. They said eight of the 20 children who were gunned down were boys, the remaining 12 were girls. All 20 of them were either 6 or 7 years old.

The names and birthdates of the adults killed were: Lauren Rousseau (June 1982), Mary Sherlach (2/11/56), Victoria Soto (11/04/85), Anne Marie Murphy (7/25/60), Dawn Hochsprung (6/28/65) and Rachel Davino (7/17/83).

The names and birthdates of the children: Charlotte Bacon (2/22/06), Daniel Barden (9/25/05), Olivia Engel (7/18/06), Josephine Gay (12/11/05), Ana M. Marquez-Greene (4/4/06), Dylan Hockley (3/8/06), Madeleine F. Hsu (7/10/06), Catherine V. Hubbard (6/8/06), Chase Kowalski (10/31/05), Jesse Lewis (6/30/06), James Mattioli (03/22/06), Grace McDonnell (11/4/05), Emilie Parker (05/12/06), Jack Pinto (05/05/06), Noah Pozner (11/20/06), Caroline Previdi (9/07/06), Jessica Rekos (5/10/06), Avielle Richman (11/17/06), Benjamin Wheeler (09/12/06) and Allison N. Wyatt (07/03/06).

Newtown officials said Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung was gunned down while lunging at the gunman as she tried to overtake him. Board of Education chairwoman Debbie Liedlien says administrators were coming out of a meeting when the gunman forced his way into the school and ran toward them.

Authorities continued Saturday to try together put a reason for the shooting.

Connecticut State Police said the lone gunman, identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and killed 26 people, including 20 children Friday morning. Newtown is about 60 miles northeast of New York City in Fairfield County.

Lanza died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Late Friday afternoon, police said that Lanza's older brother, Ryan was being questioned in connection with the shooting. Authorities in Hoboken, NJ, are saying that Lanza's girlfriend and another friend of his have been reported missing. There is no word as to whether or not that is connected to the shooting.

NBC News says the weapons used by Lanza in the shooting were registered to his mother.

Late Friday evening, The Associated Press said they had learned that Lanza's mother did not have any connection to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Most news organizations had reported that Lanza's mother was a kindergarten teacher at the school.

NBC News reported that most of the shooting occurred in a single classroom, along with the school's main office.

An emotional President Barack Obama, speaking from the White House about the tragedy Friday afternoon, said the nation had endured too many tragedies like this one in the past few years.

"Each time I learn the news I react not as a president but as anybody else would as a parent.

"That was especially true today.

"I know there's not a parent in America that doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

Our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these children and the families of the adults we lost."

Shots broke out at the school after 9:30 a.m., according to Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance. He confirmed there were several fatalities, but said final numbers wouldn't be released until all next of kin had been notified.

PHOTOS | Conn. elementary school shooting

NBC News reported Lanza among the dead and that he was dressed all in black. 

Two 9mm handguns were recovered at the scene, which Lt. Vance said had been secured. The school superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools as a preventive measure to ensure the safety of students and staff immediately after the shooting.

Groups of students - some crying, some holding hands - were escorted away from Sandy Hook by their teachers. Some witnesses reported up to 100 shots.

"I heard a boom-boom,'' said 5-year-old Eva.

Her mother, Terese Lestik, was relieved to find her daughter unhurt. A reverse 911 call went out to parents about the incident.

"I'm horrified,'' Terese Lestik said. "I just pray for whoever is hurt." Sandy Hook has 39 teachers and about 650 students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

Fourth-grader Bear Nikitchyuk was heading back to his classroom when he heard someone kicking a door. "I looked behind me and all I saw was smoke and I smelled smoke. I heard shots fired. The second grade teacher grabbed me and pulled me into her room."

The unidentified teacher locked the door and huddled about 20 kids in cubbie closets until police banged on the door. The teacher first balked at letting the police in until she was convinced they were police. The children eventually exited out the school's back door, through playground and walked to a nearby firehouse used as a staging area for fleeing kids and faculty.

Alexis Wasik, a third-grader at the school, said police were checking everybody inside the school. She said she heard shots and saw her former nursery school teacher being taken out of the building on a stretcher, but didn't know if the woman had been shot.

"We had to walk with a partner," said Wasik, 8. One child leaving the school said that there was shattered glass everywhere. A police officer ran into the classroom and told them to run outside and keep going until the reach the firehouse, The Hartford Courant reported.

Counselors and crisis response staff from state mental health services, children and family services, public health and the Red Cross are working with federal and local officials on the scene, Gov. Dan Malloy's office said.

A spokesman for Malloy said the governor had received a call from President Obama and was assured he would receive whatever federal assistance he needed. The president was expected to address the nation at 3:15 p.m.

Friday's shooting was one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history and the latest in a series of mass shootings in the U.S. this year, including Tuesday's shooting shopping mall outside Portland, Ore. and this summer's movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

In Georgia, flags will fly at half-staff to mourn the victims of Friday's shooting. Gov. Nathan Deal signed an order Friday that requires U.S. and state flags be flown at half-staff through sunset on Dec. 18.

Extra precautions are being taken at schools in Metro Atlanta in the wake of the shooting. Gwinnett County Police said Friday they plan to provide an extra presence in and around school buildings next week to prevent copy-cat incidents.

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