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“It is an unspeakable scene,” Mr. Occhiogrosso told the newspaper.

Counselors and crisis response staff from state mental health services, children and family services, public health and the Red Cross are working with federal and local officials on the scene, the governor’s office said.

The shooting invoked memories of the deadly incidents at Virginia Tech and Colorado’s Columbine High School. But federal and state officials, citing beefed up security and safety procedures in recent years, say that the country’s K-12 schools have become safer in recent years, according to the most recent statistics.

The U.S. Department of Education reported that the number of people killed in so-called “school-associated” incidents fell from a high of 63 in the 2006-2007 school year to 33 in the latest full school year.

• Jerry Seper and Jim McElhatton contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.