Pastor: 'Our Hearts Desperately Go Out For The Victims'

Dec 14, 2012
Originally published on December 17, 2012 9:27 am
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. We have an update now on the tragic shooting this morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-eight people are confirmed dead - 20 children, six adult victims at the school, including the shooter's mother, and the gunman himself. Another adult is also confirmed dead elsewhere in Newtown. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The mother of the gunman was not at the school; she was the adult found dead elsewhere.]

For more, we're joined now by NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. And, Carrie, I want to talk first about the gunman. There's been a lot of misinformation out there about who this young man is and who he is. And what do we know?

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Robert, in tragedies such as this that are so fast-moving and then involve state and federal authorities, there sometimes can be very conflicting streams of information early on. It appears that's happened in this case as well. Early on, there were misreports about the number of fatalities. We now know 27 dead at the school and one dead adult in another location in Newtown. Initial reports had identified the alleged gunman as a 24-year-old who was the son of one of the teachers in the school. We're now hearing that may not be the case and another family member may be implicated. However, the Newtown - the Connecticut State Police have not confirmed that. And we are being advised to be very careful at this point until they do.

SIEGEL: But what is confirmed though is that one of the victims was a teacher who was the mother of the shooter. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The mother of the shooter was not a teacher at the school.]

JOHNSON: That's right. Lieutenant Paul Vance, who has been doing these media briefings in Connecticut, has said that most of these shootings took place in one area of the school - two rooms of the school. We believe the mother of the suspect was teaching in one of those rooms. We also know that something Lieutenant Paul Vance has described as a family home in Newtown is a secondary crime scene. There's an adult dead there too.

SIEGEL: The weapons that were used?

JOHNSON: Three weapons have been found at the scene, including a .223 caliber rifle. The ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has been tracing those weapons. They appear to have been legally purchased. And authorities, as part of their investigation, are going to be looking at who may have had their hands on those weapons.

SIEGEL: So, as you've said, there's been much confusion and some details are still quite unclear here. What happens now? What are the big questions, obviously, outstanding?

JOHNSON: Big questions moving forward, whether this attack involved a lot of planning, whether there were clues electronically in social media, like Facebook and Twitter or elsewhere, whether the suspect had any help in planning and what exactly happened in that family home in Newtown before this person went to the school and, in a very short period of time, managed to kill 27 people?

SIEGEL: Thank you, Carrie.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

SIEGEL: That's NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.