Update: Sandy Hook Shooting

A flag flies at half staff in front of the Reed Intermediate School in Newtown, Connecticut, following a shooting nearby at Sandy Hook Elementary School. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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From the editor, Monday, December 17:


The Mercurial will not be doing any further reporting on the Sandy Hook shooting and will instead be focusing on getting the word out about how to help the Sandy Hook community.  If you have any information on ways to help, send details to editor@themercurial.com.  Our thoughts and our hearts are with those who were lost, those who lost loved ones, and with our community.


4pm update:  


Dr. Wayne Carver II, chief medical examiner in the Sandy Hook School shooting, and Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance spoke at Saturday’s final news briefing at about 3:45pm.  Carver confirmed that all of the children, most or all of them first graders, had been examined and the cause of death for all was homicide, death by gunshot.  He also said that a rifle was used as a primary weapon.  The adults killed in the shooting are expected to be examined tonight, and both Nancy and Adam Lanza are to be examined tomorrow morning.


Carver explained that photographs were used in identifying those who were lost in the shooting and that parents and loved ones did not come into contact with the bodies.


In response to rumors that Adam had had an altercation at the elementary school the day before the shooting, Vance said that police had found no reports indicating an altercation had occurred.  Vance also released a list of the deceased to the media and urged the media to respect those who had lost loved ones.  The list of those deceased from the shooting can be found at the bottom of this article.


2:30pm update, Saturday, December 15


Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut left 28 people dead, including 20 students and six staff at the school.  It has been determined that the shooter also killed his mother, whom he lived with, at their home in Newtown prior to arriving at the school and then turned the gun on himself after shooting through school offices and classrooms.  Sandy Hook Elementary is a kindergarten through fourth grade school located on Dickson Street in the borough of Sandy Hook in Newtown.


As events unfolded yesterday, misinformation became an issue among news organizations big and small, including The Mercurial.  Here is an update on yesterday’s turn of events and what we can expect to learn the rest of the day.


The 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, acted alone – police are not looking for any additional suspects.  The gunman was initially reported to be 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, Adam’s brother, who lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Upon being taken into custody in New Jersey, Ryan told authorities that he had been at work in New York City at the time of the shooting, and that he hadn’t seen his brother in years.  He also described his brother as “somewhat autistic”.  The confusion in the gunman’s identity may have been due to Adam having Ryan’s ID on his person.


There was also misinformation early in the day surrounding possible additional victims in New Jersey.  It was reported that Lanza’s father was dead in Hoboken and friends and a girlfriend of one of the Lanza brothers was possibly missing.  None of this is true.


It appears that Adam Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, in their home nearby the elementary school then drove to the school in his mother’s car shortly after 9am.  Reports indicate that  Lanza shot through glass to get into the school.  He had at least three guns with him, including a high-powered rifle.  The guns were bought legally and were owned by Nancy.


It appears that upon entering the school, Adam first went to the school’s offices and began shooting.  Someone in the office was able to turn on the intercom, alerting the rest of the school to what was happening.  It has been reported that Adam then went to two classrooms and opened fire.  Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung and counselor Mary Sherlach have been named among the dead.  Many reports have been made of teachers’ heroism in protecting their students – barricading children in bathrooms and corners and keeping everyone quiet and calm.  A nearby firehouse was used as a base for students and staff after the shooting took place.


Three people were brought to Danbury Hospital for emergency care following the shooting.  Two were children and both died from their injuries.  An adult woman is recovering from injuries at the hospital and police say that she will be crucial to the investigation.


It was initially reported that Nancy was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but investigators are not finding a connection between her and the school.  It’s possible that Adam once attended the school, and one parent of a Sandy Hook student was reported to have said that Nancy had been a substitute teacher at the school.  Reports indicate that Adam may have suffered from a personality disorder.  He was an honors student and graduated from Newtown High School.  It has been reported that Nancy and Adam’s father, Peter Lanza, were divorced in 2008.


Officials have stated that detectives at the two crime scenes have uncovered significant evidence as to what happened on Friday and why.


There were also reports early on Friday that additional suspects were being sought in and around the Newtown area.  Reports were made that a person who had gone into the woods by the school had been taken into custody.  At one point, police were on the lookout for a maroon or purple van that was thought to be connected with the shooting, and Danbury Police reportedly stopped about 20 such vans within the city.  A maroon van was not involved in the case, and police have explained that anyone found nearby the school was taken in and questioned at the time of the crime.  It’s possible that a maroon van was seen nearby the crime scene on Friday morning.


A number of local schools went into lockdown following reports of the shooting.  An increased security presence is expected at area schools in the upcoming days.


The bodies were removed from the Sandy Hook school overnight after the victims had been positively identified.


A number of counseling services are available to anyone in the Newtown community.  Newtown Youth and Family Services is open 9am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday at 15 Berkshire Road in Newtown.  Appointments are not necessary.  Counselors are also available at Reed Intermediate School, located at 3 Trades Lane, until 7pm Saturday.  The Yale Crisis Intervention Team is set up in Newtown and can be reached at (203)270-4283, and Danbury Hospital’s crisis line is open at (203)739-7007.




Those who were lost:




Sandy Hook Elementary Staff:


Dawn Hochsprung, principal, 47


Mary Sherlach, school psychologist, 56


Lauren Rousseau, substitute teacher, 30


Victoria Soto, first grade teacher, 27


Anne Marie Murphy, 52


Rachel Davino, 29






Emilie Parker, 6


Ana Marquez-Greene, 6


Grace McDonnell, 7


Jesse Lewis, 6


Charlotte Bacon, 6


Daniel Barden, 6


Olivia Engel, 6


Josephine Gay, 7


Dylan Hockley, 6


Madeleine Hsu, 6


Catherine Hubbard, 6


Chase Kowalski, 7


James Mattioli, 6


Jack Pinto, 6


Noah Pozner, 6


Caroline Previdi, 6


Jessica Rekos, 6


Avielle Richman, 6


Benjamin Wheeler, 6


Allison Wyatt, 6



Also Lost:


Nancy Lanza


Adam Lanza


by & filed under Local, Local News, Top Stories.