- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 15, 2012

NEWTOWN, Conn. — One day after the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history, a stunned nation on Saturday began a grim, all-too-familiar process: mourning the loss of innocents, learning more about a killer and looking for answers in the wake of madness.

The White House announced Saturday that the president would travel to Newtown on Sunday to join grieving families at a vigil for the victims killed Friday in the shooting spree that claimed the lives of 28, including 20 children.

Through the day Saturday, more details trickled out on the tragedy – from revelations about the troubled life of Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter, to the horrifying conclusions of the medical examiner who examined the bodies of the dead, to the amazing stories of heroism and sacrifice on the part of students and teachers trapped inside Sandy Hook Elementary with a killer Friday morning.

Police on Saturday released the names of the 26 victims killed inside the school: Six adults, all women, and 20 children, all under the age of 7 – eight boys and 12 girls. The shooter also killed his mother inside the home they shared before ending the spree inside the school by taking his own life.

Chief medical examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver II said he and his staff worked throughout the night to identify the dead children – and he described the carnage as the worst he’s ever seen.

“This is a very devastating set of injuries,” he said.

All the children suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were killed with a rifle the gunman was carrying, he said, one of three semiautomatic weapons the police recovered from the scene.

All three weapons were legally registered to the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza, 52, whose was found shot to death in her Newtown house, not far from the Sandy Hook school.

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said Saturday police found information about the killer’s motivation during a search of the Lanza home, but offered no further details.

“Our investigators at the crime scene did produce some very good evidence in this investigation that our investigators will be able to use in, hopefully, painting the complete picture as to the how and more importantly, why this occurred,” Lt. Vance said.

Officials also said they have found no link between Lanza’s mother and the school, despite earlier news reports that indicated she may have been a teacher or a substitute there.

At least one law enforcement official said he believes Adam Lanza attended Sandy Hook Elementary many years ago, but there has been no official comment on why the gunman went there on Friday.

Authorities, who questioned the shooter’s 24-year-old brother Ryan Lanza on Friday afternoon, have been tight-lipped about their investigation into the life of the killer, but neighbors and classmates who knew Adam Lanza, opening up on social media and in interviews, described him as “socially awkward” and “troubled.”

As authorities pieced together the killer’s life in the days and weeks leading up to the rampage, the parents and families in Newtown struggled to deal with unimaginable loss.

On Friday night, hundreds of people packed St. Rose of Lima church and stood outside in a vigil, holding candles and singing “Silent Night,” according to the Associated Press.

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