President Obama Visits School Killings Town
20 children and 6 women died in Friday’s assault on Sandy Hook school in Newtown by a lone gunman who then took his own life.
President Obama met with victims’ families and emergency service workers. He is also expected to speak at an inter-faith vigil at the town’s high school.
Ahead of the president’s visit, a service for the victims at St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church was abandoned and the church evacuated because of an unspecified threat, thought to have been a hoax called in by telephone.
The gunman behind Friday’s shootings has been identified by police as Adam Lanza, 20. He shot dead his mother before driving to the school in her car, opening fire on his victims and then killing himself.
Reports say the weapons found at the scene – a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns, as well as a shotgun recovered from the car – were registered to the gunman’s mother.
Education officials say they have found no link between the gunman’s mother and the school, contrary to earlier reports that said she was a teacher there. Investigators said they believe Adam Lanza attended Sandy Hook many years ago.
Officials say the gunman, armed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, used the semi-automatic rifle as his main weapon. All the victims were shot several times, some of them at close range.
All 20 children who died in the shootings – eight boys and 12 girls – were aged between six and seven, according to an official list of the dead. The school’s head teacher, Dawn Hochsprung, was among those killed.
Connecticut State Police say the process of releasing the victims’ bodies to their families is under way, and have condemned what they term “misinformation” being published on social media about the tragedy – including people wrongly claiming to be the gunman.