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On Friday, December 14, 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. Reportedly 28 people were killed in total, including 20 children and the shooter himself.
Lanza had at least three guns with him: a Glock and a Sig Sauer, which he brought into the school, and a .233-caliber rifle, which he left in the back seat of his car. He had hundreds of rounds and no apparent motive. He killed many innocent people before he took his own life. When police arrived, children were led away with their eyes closed, so they could not see the horrors behind them.
The shooter said nothing as he shot students in two classrooms.
Parents rushed to pick up their students, shocked and terrified. Stephen Delgiadice, whose 8-year-old daughter attends the elementary school, said “It’s alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America.”
The Newtown Bee chronicles the heroes that risked their lives to save others. A janitor ran throughout the rooms, warning everyone about what was happening and checking to make sure doors were locked from the inside. Teachers and students locked themselves in classrooms, hiding in closets and corners of the room as gunfire echoed down the halls. Principal Dawn Hochsprung, just coming out of a meeting, warned other teachers behind her to lock the door before confronting Lanza head on. She was shot moments later. Someone in the office had turned on the intercom, broadcasting the shots to the rest of the school as a final warning to protect the students. The quick thinking of these and many more saved the lives of many.
This shooting is the second worst in U.S. history, following the 33 dead in the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. Connecticut citizens remember Columbine school as well, when 15 students were killed in 1999.
According to the Chicago Tribune, police “believed [Adam] to suffer from a personality disorder.” He lived with his mother Nancy Lanza, the first victim of his attack. He then went to the Sandy Hook, where police speculate Nancy may have worked as a substitute teacher, to open fire in the classrooms. A majority of the students were between the ages of five and nine.
A teary-eyed President Obama called for action to stop these senseless killings, adding that “[the students] had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children.” The shooting has brought the subject of gun control up for debate once more as relatives, friends and neighbors mourn their loss.
A candlelight vigil was held at St. Rose of Lima Church, where hundreds of people gathered to pray for the families of the victims.