- Associated Press - Sunday, December 16, 2012

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The gunman in the Connecticut shooting rampage shot his mother multiple times in the head before going to the school and gunning down 26, authorities said Sunday as details emerged suggesting that Adam Lanza had planned an even more gruesome massacre but was stopped short.

Lanza blasted his way into the building and used a high-power rifle to kill 20 children and six adults, including the principal, who tried to stop him, authorities said.

The unthinkable bloodshed might even have been worse. Gov. Dannel Malloy said Lanza shot himself as first responders entered the building, and a law enforcement official said Lanza had “lots of ammo” on him when he died, enough to carry out significant additional carnage. The official he was not authorized to release details of the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that, decided to take his own life,” Mr. Malloy said on ABC’s “This Week.”


As President Obama prepared a visit and churches opened their doors to comfort a grieving town Sunday, federal agents fanned out to dozens of gun stores and shooting ranges across Connecticut, chasing leads they hoped would cast light on Lanza’s life.

Among the questions: Why did his mother, a well-to-do suburban divorcee, keep a cache of high-power weapons in the house? What experience did Lanza have with those guns? And, above all, what set him on a path to go classroom by classroom, massacring 6- and 7-year-olds?

Mr. Malloy offered no possible motive for the shooting, and a law enforcement official has said police have found no letters or diaries left behind that could shed light on it.

Lanza shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, to death at the home they shared Friday, then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School in her car with at least three of her guns, forced his way in by breaking a window and opened fire, authorities said. Within minutes, he killed the children, six adults and himself.

All the victims at the school were shot with a rifle, at least some of them up close, and all were apparently shot more than once, Dr. H. Wayne Carver, the chief medical examiner, said. There were as many as 11 shots on the bodies he examined. Lanza died of a gunshot wound to the head that was self-inflicted, the medical examiner said Sunday.

All six adults killed at the school were women. Of the 20 children, eight were boys and 12 were girls.

Asked whether the children suffered, Dr. Carver said, “If so, not for very long.” Asked how many bullets were fired, Dr. Carver said, “I’m lucky if I can tell you how many I found.”

Parents identified the children through photos to spare them some shock, Dr. Carver said.

The terrible details about the last moments of young innocents emerged as authorities released their names and ages — the youngest 6 and 7, the oldest 56. They included Ana Marquez-Greene, a little girl who had just moved to Newtown from Canada; Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old teacher who apparently died while trying to hide her pupils; and Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who authorities said lunged at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him.

The tragedy has plunged Newtown into mourning and added the picturesque New England community of 27,000 people to the grim map of towns in which mass shootings in recent years have periodically reignited the national debate over gun control but led to little change.

School officials were trying to determine what to do about sending the survivors back to class, Newtown police Lt. George Sinko said at a news conference Sunday.

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