They were reportedly killed after a gunman opened fire on them in what has been described as America’s worst mass school shooting. NBC reports that the killer was a teacher’s son who was clad in black. Carrying two guns, he rampaged through the school during morning classes killing 20 small children and six adults, including his mother. The gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, 20, was also found dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Lanza’s mother is a kindergarten teacher at the school, and it was inside her classroom where most of the casualties were found.
Another body was found at a separate crime scene in Connecticut, with CNN reporting the identity of that person as the gunman’s mother, Nancy. This raised the death toll to 28.
Eighteen of the children were pronounced dead at the scene, while two died in hospital.
One student told NBC that she was in the gym when she heard “seven loud booms.” “The gym teachers told us to go in the corner, so we all huddled,” she said. “And I kept hearing these booming noises. And we all started crying. All the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us,” she added. “So then a police officer came in and told us to run outside. So we did and we came in the firehouse.”
The high death toll and the young age of the victims sent shock waves all the way to the White House, where the flag was lowered to half staff.
According to Reuters, President Barack Obama, wiped away tears and paused to collect his emotions while speaking about the killings. “Our hearts are broken today,” he said. “The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old.”
“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would – as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.”
It is quite hard to imagine what the families of the deceased children and adults must be going through. Indeed, America is in a state of mourning right now and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to the entire nation.
May the souls of the departed Rest In Peace.
President Barack Obama makes a statement on the school shooting