Story Summary

Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

Adam Lanza has been positively identified as the shooter, with Vance, the state police spokesman, saying Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself with a handgun.

Vancy also announced that authorities have identified the woman found dead in a Newtown home as Nancy Lanza, the shooter’s mother. She suffered “multiple gunshot wounds,” and her death is considered a homicide, Vance said. Nancy and Adam Lanza lived together in the same house.

Adam Lanza used an AR-15 “assault-type weapon” made by Bushmaster at Sandy Hook school, Vance said. He fired “multiple magazines” — each with 30 bullets — from that weapon.

Lanza shot his way into the school; he wasn’t buzzed in through the security system recently implemented by Principal Dawn Hochsprung. “He penetrated the building by literally shooting an entrance into the building,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “That’s what an assault weapon can do for you.”

The governor said Sunday that he broke the news to families in Newtown — some of whom had waiting around a firehouse for hours, “clinging to hope” — that their loved ones were not among the dead. “You can never be prepared for that,” Malloy told CNN.

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Sandy Hook Playground Dedicated

A new playground in memory of a Sandy Hook shooting victim was officially opened for play on Sunday, June 15, 2014, at Sea Bluff Beach in West Haven. The new playground is part of the Sandy Ground, Where Angels Play Project, and is in memory of first-grader Charlotte Bacon, who was killed during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

By Matt Campbell, Kaitlyn Naples, West Haven, CT (WFSB) — A new playground in memory of a Sandy Hook shooting victim was officially opened for play on Sunday at Sea Bluff Beach in West Haven.

The new playground is part of the Sandy Ground, Where Angels Play Project, and is in memory of first-grader Charlotte Bacon, who was killed during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“I’m just so glad that it worked out with this location, we loved coming here, to this beach location, with Charlotte, it was one of her favorite things to do,” said Joel Bacon, Charlotte’s father.

This is the 24th playground, and it is full of Charlotte’s favorite things – the color pink and dogs. The playground has slides, swings, bridges and bells.

Charlotte was one of the 26 students and educators who were killed, and each “Where Angels Play” project carries on the memory of those lost.

“I think it’s a really great way to memorialize these kids and to let other kids be a part of that. It’s for kids, in honor of kids,” said Lisa Durand, of West Haven, who added that she had to talk with her 5-year-old after the tragedy happened. “He knew what had happened, and when we explained the playground to him, we said one of the girls who was part of that whole story, this is a playground in honor of her and in dedication to her. This is something very special for her and her family.”

There are two more playgrounds left to open: Noah Pozner’s in New York and Dawn Hochsprung’s in Watertown.

Sandy Hook Victim Dawn Hochsprung

Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47, who became Sandy Hook Elementary School’s principal two years ago, was “really nice and very fun, but she was also very much a tough lady in the right sort of sense,” friend Tom Prunty said. And the students loved her. “Even little kids know when someone cares about them, and that was her,” Prunty said.

 Story by: FOX News
 
Newtown officials called for privacy and asked town residents to honor the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting through acts of service and kindness as the town quietly marks one year since the massacre.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman directed U.S. and state flags to fly at half-staff on Saturday to honor the 20 children and six adults who were gunned down inside the school on Dec. 14, 2012.

Houses of worship around the state rang their bells 26 times as names of each victims were read. St. Rose of Lima, a Roman Catholic church in Newtown that hosted funerals of eight children killed in the massacre, planned a service to include the dedication of a memorial arch and the ringing of peace bells that were also rung at Virginia Tech after the mass shooting in 2007 and in New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Newtown residents prepared for private memorial services and a quiet day of reflection.

“You kind of hope the town can put it behind without actually forgetting about the victims,” Andrew Snow, who grew up in Newtown but lives in Southbury said. “But it’s not easy to do. I think about it every day,” Snow said.

The town had no formal events planned and officials discouraged the news media from coming to Newtown.

“We are trying to respect the world’s interest in us, but we also have a real need in our community to gain a foothold,” First Selectman Pat Llorda said.

President Obama was joined by first lady Michelle Obama in a moment of silence and candle lighting at the White House. Obama also called on Americans to help prevent future violence in his weekly radio address as he said the massacre would be remembered as a tragedy that inspired the nation to make communities safer.

At a joint appearance during the week, some of the victims’ families urged people to find ways to give back to their own communities as a way to honor the victims.

“In this way, we hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world,” JoAnn Bacon, whose 6-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was killed at Sandy Hook.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, killed his mother inside their Newtown home on Dec. 14, 2012, before driving to the school, where he carried out his rampage. He killed himself as police arrived.

At St. Rose of Lima, the Roman Catholic church that hosted the funerals of eight children, a service will include the dedication of a memorial arch and the ringing of peace bells that also were rung at Virginia Tech after the mass shooting there in 2007 and in New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Chilling 911 tapes from Sandy Hook school shooting released. The massacre in Newtown, Connecticut was the second deadliest shooting in U.S. history; 26 people were killed, including 20 children. These 911 calls have been under wraps until today; they could shed new light on what exactly happened last December.

sandy hook

By Susan Candiotti and Rande Iaboni, CNN

(CNN) –A report on the investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will be released Monday, Connecticut state officials announced.

The report will provide a summary of the almost yearlong investigation from the December 14, 2012, shooting that left 26 people dead, including 20 children.

The summary of the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history is expected to be about 50 pages long, according to Mark Dupuis, spokesman for Danbury State’s Attorney, Stephen Sedensky, whose office conducted the investigation.

Click here to read more on the story.

Today, a dozen family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre are in Washington, D.C. pushing Congress to pass gun safety legislation.
This morning, Jillian Soto,who’s sister Victoria died in the shooting,  and Baltimore Police Chief Jim Johnson, chair of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, joined WPMT FOX43 morning news  to talk about how comprehensive background checks would help prevent gun violence.

Learn more at demandaction.org.

Adam Lanza’s mother reportedly found disturbing images of dead bodies in his bedroom just two weeks before the attack.

The gruesome pictures included a drawing of a woman holding a child being murdered, according to a family friend.

Read more here.

By Lateef Mungin and Brittany Brady, (CNN) — Still stinging from the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut lawmakers early Thursday approved what advocacy groups call the strongest and most comprehensive gun legislation in the nation.

Gov. Dannel Malloy is expected to sign the bill, which bans some weapons as well as the sale or purchase of high-capacity magazines like those used in the Newtown shooting. The bill also requires background checks for all gun purchases.

Malloy’s signature will make Connecticut the third state to pass such tough measures since the December rampage in Newtown. New York and Colorado passed gun-control legislation limiting magazine capacity, among other provisions.

Similar legislation appears stalled in Congress despite overwhelming public support for background checks and substantial — although diminished — support for major gun restrictions in the wake of the Newtown killings.

Connecticut’s action Wednesday sends a message to the nation, said Senate President Don Williams.

“Democrats and Republicans were able to come to an agreement on a strong, comprehensive bill,” he added. “That is a message that should resound in 49 other states, and in Washington, D.C., and the message is we can get it done here and they should get it done in their respective states and nationally in Congress.”

Despite disappointment in a provision in the Connecticut bill that allows people who already own high-capacity magazines to keep them, a gun control advocacy group praised the state legislation as historic.

“It doesn’t have everything we wanted, but it was everything that could be done within the political reality we were facing,” Connecticut Against Gun Violence said Wednesday in a statement on its website.

Critics have argued the legislation will do nothing to stop someone like Adam Lanza, who carried out the Sandy Hook school killings December 14 with an assault-style weapon and high-capacity magazines.

“In his case, he stole the guns and went on a murderous rampage,” Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, previously has said. “Limiting magazine capacity or mandating registration will only affect law-abiding persons, not criminals bent on murder.”

Lanza used weapons that were registered to his mother, who he also killed that day.

What the bill does

The Connecticut measure adds more than 100 guns to the state’s list of banned assault weapons, limits the capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds and bans armor-piercing bullets.

While the bill allows current owners of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds to keep them, it requires those people to register the magazines with the state, and forbids owners from loading them with more than 10 rounds outside their homes or while at a gun range.

The legislation also creates the nation’s first statewide registry of people convicted of crimes involving the use or threat of dangerous weapons. The registry will be available only to law enforcement agencies.

It also requires eligibility certificates for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition, and significantly increases penalties for illegal possession and trafficking of guns.

It also requires background checks for all firearms sales, including at gun shows, and creates safety standards for school buildings.

Debate on the legislation was emotional at times.

Sen. Beth Bye spoke for five minutes, noting it was the same amount of time that the shooting lasted at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

She recalled how parents hoping to be reunited with their children were directed to a building near the school after the shootings, but “20 of those parents came back with a state trooper and not their child.”

Some people questioned whether the bill deals enough with the state’s mental health system, a reference to the presumed mental condition of the shooter.

The bill allows school districts to require “mental health first aid” training for school personnel and creates a task force to examine the state’s mental health system. Additionally, it alters state insurance regulations to beef up mental health care coverage.

Reassuring gun owners

Republican House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, a member of the bipartisan task force that drafted the bill, reassured gun owners they wouldn’t lose their guns or ammunition magazines, “so long as they follow our rules and register,” he said.

“Are there tighter restrictions on their use, etc.? Absolutely. We also were able to see as part of this legislation the repeal of early release for violent criminals.”

Families of the children slain in Newtown were disappointed the larger-capacity magazines were grandfathered in. They asked had for an across-the-board ban.

Malloy had backed the broader ban, saying banning the future sale of high-capacity magazines “would not be an effective solution.”

But Wilson said the magazine limits will have no impact on crime.

“It is ludicrous to expect people that have firearms capable of holding 15 rounds to only load 10 rounds inside of them,” he objected. “Do criminals really care about these laws?”

National fight

The move in Connecticut comes as the nation is in a heated gun debate.

President Barack Obama has been waging a public pressure campaign for tougher gun laws, an effort he continued Wednesday in Colorado — site of two of the nation’s most notorious mass shootings, in 1999 at Columbine High School and last year at an Aurora movie theater.

“There doesn’t have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights,” Obama said.

Obama is fighting intense opposition from the National Rifle Association, which sees restrictions as unconstitutional and ineffective.

Lawmakers in 36 states also have proposed legislation that would negate federal gun control initiatives, according to the non-profit Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group.

Despite a spike in support for the strictest gun control initiatives in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown shootings, a CNN/ORC International poll this month found support for major restrictions may be fading.

The poll, released March 18, found that while a majority of Americans favored major restrictions shortly after the shootings, that support had fallen to 43%.

A survey released Wednesday by MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and Marist College found that 60% of respondents want stricter laws governing the sale of firearms.

Support for broader background checks on prospective gun owners remains overwhelming.

The MSNBC poll showed 87% of respondents support expanded background checks, with strong backing from Democrats, independents and Republicans.

A poll out Wednesday from Quinnipiac University pegged support for universal background checks at 91%. That was despite 48% of those polled conceding that such checks could form a database for later confiscation efforts.

CNN’s Tom Cohen, Paul Steinhauser and Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

By Brittany Brady and Jim Kavanagh, (CNN) — Connecticut will likely become the third state to pass a major overhaul of its gun laws when its General Assembly votes Wednesday on a measure crafted in the wake of the December massacre at an elementary school in the state.

Lawmakers announced the legislation Monday, which was drawn up by a bipartisan legislative task force.

According to a draft of the bill, the measure would add more than 100 types of guns to the state’s list of banned assault weapons; limit the capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds; ban armor-piercing bullets; require background checks for all weapon sales, including at gun shows; establish safety standards for school buildings; allow mental health training for teachers; and expand mental health research in the state.

“Nobody will be able to say that this bill is absolutely perfect, but no one will also be able to say that this bill fails the test when it comes to being the strongest in the country and the most comprehensive bill in the country,” Connecticut Senate President Don Williams, a Democrat and a member of the task force, said Monday.

But Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said nothing in the new legislation would stop someone like Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old gunman who killed 26 children and adults December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut.

“In his case, he stole the guns and went on a murderous rampage. Limiting magazine capacity or mandating registration will only affect law-abiding persons, not criminals bent on murder,” Wilson added.

A Republican member of the task force, House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, reassured gun owners they wouldn’t lose their guns or ammunition magazines, “so long as they follow our rules and register,” he said.

“Are there tighter restrictions on their use, etc.? Absolutely. We also were able to see as part of this legislation the repeal of early release for violent criminals.”

The bill would expand the definition of an assault weapon by reducing to just one the number of specified “physical characteristics” that need to be present. Current law requires two.

The legislation would immediately ban any further sale, purchase or importation of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, but would allow current owners of larger-capacity magazines to keep them.

However, those magazines would have to be registered with the state by January 1, and even legally registered magazines could not be loaded with more than 10 rounds outside of the owner’s home or a gun range, no matter what permits the gun owner may hold.

“It is ludicrous to expect people that have firearms capable of holding 15 rounds to only load 10 rounds inside of them,” Wilson objected. “Do criminals really care about these laws?”

Families of the children slain in Newtown were disappointed the larger-capacity magazines were grandfathered in. They asked Monday for an across-the-board ban.

“On behalf of the loved ones who were violently taken from us, please reconsider your approach to large-capacity magazines as part of the comprehensive package of gun legislation,” the families wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

Gov. Dannel Malloy backed the families.

“They’ve asked for an up or down vote on that provision, and, whether it’s in the larger bill or as an amendment, the families, and every resident of our state, deserve a vote,” he said in a statement Monday.

“I have been clear for weeks that a ban on the possession and sale of high-capacity magazines is an important part of our effort to prevent gun violence,” the governor added. “Simply banning their sale moving forward would not be an effective solution.”

In addition, the bill would create the nation’s first statewide registry for people convicted of crimes involving the use or threat of dangerous weapons. The registry would not be public, but available to law enforcement only. Furthermore, it would require eligibility certificates for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition, and would significantly increase penalties for illegal possession and firearms trafficking.

Other parts of the bill establish safety standards for school building projects and require each school in the state to develop a safety and security plan. It also requires safe school climate committees to investigate instances of bullying and other threatening behavior. Other provisions address security at colleges and universities.

The bill allows school districts to require “mental health first aid” training for school personnel and creates a task force to examine the state’s mental health system. Additionally, it alters state insurance regulations to beef up mental health care coverage.

Williams, the Senate president, told CNN he expected strong support for the bill from both sides of the aisle because of the bipartisan task force that put it together.

“We have broken the gridlock on the most controversial issue,” he said in announcing the agreement.

“Democrats and Republicans were able to come to an agreement on a strong, comprehensive bill,” he added. “That is a message that should resound in 49 other states, and in Washington, D.C.. and the message is we can get it done here and they should get it done in their respective states and nationally in Congress.”

Following the Newtown massacre, New York and Colorado passed tougher gun-control legislation limiting magazine capacity, among other provisions.

Connecticut’s task force was made up of Williams and fellow Democrats House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz; along with Senate Republican Leader John McKinney and Cafero, the House Republican leader. It based the draft legislation on proposals created by 16-member bicameral working groups on the topics of gun violence, school security and mental health.

“It’s important for us to act quickly, but it’s more important for us to act intelligently,” Sharkey said. “It’s also critical that we send the message to Washington and to the rest of this country that this is the way to get this job done. To do it in an effective, meaningful, thoughtful way and to do it in a meaningful, bipartisan basis, because our children deserve no less.”

By Susan Candiotti and Ben Brumfield, CNN) — Police released new documents related to the shootings last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, but a motive for the attack by the troubled young man remained elusive.

Included in the information released Thursday is the report that a gun safe was found in the bedroom of 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who took guns belonging to his mother, Nancy, and shot her in her forehead in her bed. Then he went to the school in Newtown, where he gunned down 20 children and six staff members before killing himself.

Investigators found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition in the house, and a holiday card with a check “made out to Adam Lanza for the purchase of a C183 (firearm), authored by Nancy Lanza,” according to a search warrant.

In an interview with a person whose name was redacted, the person said that Lanza rarely left his home and that the speaker considered him to be a shut-in “and an avid gamer who plays Call of Duty, amongst other games.” “Call of Duty” is a computer-based war game.

Some of the documents, released by state prosecutors, have been redacted at the prosecutors’ request, said Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police. Relatives of the victims were briefed Wednesday about the documents.

State police are continuing their investigation, which is not expected to be completed until June, he said.

The killings have led Connecticut legislators to re-examine the state’s gun laws, which are among the nation’s strictest, and have reopened a national debate on gun control.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, has announced plans to introduce legislation requiring background checks to purchase ammunition. He has pressured members of his state legislature to take action to bolster his efforts on a national level.

CNN’s Susan Candiotti and Samira Jafari contributed to this report.

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