First, he killed his mother, Leaves 27 Dead.

NEWTOWN, Conn. – First, he killed his mother.

Nancy Lanza’s body was found later at their home on Yogananda Street in  Newtown — after the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School; after a quiet New  England town was scarred forever by unthinkable tragedy; after a nation  seemingly inured to violence found itself stunned by the slaughter of  innocents.

Nobody knows why 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, why he then took  her guns to the school and murdered 20 children and six adults.

But on Friday he drove his mother’s car through this 300-year-old town with  its fine old churches and towering trees, and arrived at a school full of the  season’s joy. Somehow, he got past a security door to a place where children  should have been safe from harm.

Theodore Varga and other fourth-grade teachers were meeting; the glow  remained from the previous night’s fourth-grade concert.

“It was a lovely day,” Varga said. “Everybody was joyful and cheerful. We  were ending the week on a high note.”

And then, suddenly and unfathomably, gunshots rang out. “I can’t even  remember how many,” he said.

The fourth-graders, the oldest kids in the school, were in specialty classes  like gym and music. There was no lock on the meeting room door, so the teachers  had to think about how to escape, knowing that their students were with other  teachers.

Someone turned the loudspeaker on, so everyone could hear what was happening  in the office.

“You could hear the hysteria that was going on,” Varga said. “Whoever did  that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror  that was transpiring.”

Gathered in another room for a 9:30 meeting were principal Dawn Hochsprung  and Diane Day, a school therapist, along with a school psychologist, other staff  members and a parent. They were meeting to discuss a second-grader.

“We were there for about five minutes chatting, and we heard Pop! Pop!, Pop!”  Day told The Wall Street Journal. “I went under the table.”

But Hochsprung and the psychologist leaped out of their seats and ran out of  the room, Day recalled. “They didn’t think twice about confronting or seeing  what was going on,” she said. Hochsprung was killed, and the psychologist was  believed to have been killed as well.

A custodian ran around, warning people there was a gunman, Varga said.

“He said, ‘Guys! Get down! Hide!’” Varga said. “So he was actually a  hero.”

Did he survive? The teacher did not know.


Police radios crackled with first word of the shooting at 9:36, according to  the New York Post.

“Sandy Hook School. Caller is indicating she thinks there’s someone shooting  in the building,” a Newtown dispatcher radioed, according to a tape posted on  the paper’s website.


In a first-grade classroom, teacher Kaitlin Roig heard the shots. She  immediately barricaded her 15 students into a tiny bathroom, sitting one of them  on top of the toilet. She pulled a bookshelf across the door and locked it. She  told the kids to be “absolutely quiet.”

“I said, ‘There are bad guys out there now. We need to wait for the good  guys,’” she told ABC News.

“The kids were being so good,” she said. “They asked, ‘Can we go see if  anyone is out there?’ ‘I just want Christmas. I don’t want to die, I just want  to have Christmas.’ I said, ‘You’re going to have Christmas and Hanukkah.’”

One student claimed to know karate. “It’s OK. I’ll lead the way out,” the  student said.

In the gym, crying fourth-graders huddled in a corner. One of them was  10-year-old Philip Makris.

“He said he heard a lot of loud noises and then screaming,” said his mother,  Melissa Makris. “Then the gym teachers immediately gathered the children in a  corner and kept them safe.”

Another girl who was in the gym recalled hearing “like, seven loud  booms.”

“The gym teacher told us to go in a corner, so we all huddled and I kept  hearing these booming noises,” the girl, who was not identified by name, told  NBC News. “We all started — well, we didn’t scream; we started crying, so all  the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us.”

An 8-year-old boy described how a teacher saved him.

“I saw some of the bullets going past the hall that I was right next to, and  then a teacher pulled me into her classroom,” said the boy, who was not  identified by

Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in  and shot the teacher. “That’s when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran  out the door,” he said. “He was very brave. He waited for his friends.”

He said the shooter didn’t utter a word.


“The shooting appears to have stopped,” the dispatcher radioed at 9:38 a.m.,  according to the Post. “There is silence at this time. The school is in  lockdown.”

And at 9:46 a.m., an anguished voice from the school: “I’ve got bodies here.  Need ambulances.”


Carefully, police searched room to room, removing children and staff from  harm’s way. They found Adam Lanza, dead by his own hand after shooting up two  classrooms; no officer fired a gun.

Student Brendan Murray told WABC-TV it was chaos in his classroom at first  after he heard loud bangs and screaming. A police officer came in and asked, “Is  he in here?” and then ran out. “Then our teacher, somebody, yelled, ‘Get to a  safe place.’ Then we went to a closet in the gym and we sat there for a little  while, and then the police were, like, knocking on the door and they were, like,  ‘We’re evacuating people, we’re evacuating people,’ so we ran out.”

Children, warned to close their eyes so they could not see the product of his  labours, were led away from their school.

Parents rushed to the scene. Family members walked away from a firehouse that  was being used as a staging area, some of them openly weeping. One man, wearing  a T-shirt without a jacket, put his arms around a woman as they walked down the  middle of the street, oblivious to everything around them.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other public officials came to the firehouse. So  did clergymen like Monsignor Robert Weiss of Newtown’s St. Rose Roman Catholic  Church. He watched as parents came to realize that they would never see their  children alive again.

“All of them were hoping their child would be found OK. But when they gave  out the actual death toll, they realized their child was gone,” Weiss said.

He recalled the reaction of the brother of one of the victims.

“They told a little boy it was his sister who passed on,” Weiss said. “The  boy’s response was, ‘I’m not going to have anyone to play with.’”


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