Elementary school shooting in CT leaves at least 27 dead, including 18 children

State police leading children away from shooting. Photo: Shannon Hicks, NewtownBee.com.

A large number of adults and children have been shot to death in a massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The number of dead is not yet clear, but at least 20 people have been shot, according to local sources. CBS News and the AP are reporting that 27 people are dead, including 18 children.

This is believed to be worst shooting at an elementary school in American history, in terms of fatalities.

Most of the attack took place in a kindergarten classroom. A person believed to have been a gunman is reported to have killed himself at the scene; police earlier searched for a second gunman. Multiple sources are reporting that the deceased shooter was in his early twenties, armed with 4 weapons, and was wearing a bulletproof vest. He is said to have had some kind of connection to the school. News outlets are reporting that he went from classroom to classroom, shooting adults and children.

Update: The shooter was first identified as Ryan Lanza, 24, of New Jersey, but now many reports are confirming the shooter was Adam Lanza, 20. A police officer earlier transposed their names when speaking to reporters, according to this AP report and this local news item; there is some question about whether Adam took Ryan's ID to the scene of the crime. Adam is reported dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

ABC News reports that among the dead in the school was the gunman's mother, Nancy. A quick public records search shows one brother, Adam, 20; Ryan John Lanza, 24; mother, Nancy (reported shot dead at the school where she worked as a kindergarten teacher); a dad, Peter (who divorced and remarried in recent years); all connected to Newtown, and to the address of a home in CT where a "family member's body" was found. Multiple news organizations are reporting that a dead body was found in a Newtown area home owned by Lanza's parents, Nancy and Peter Lanza.

Ryan has been questioned by authorities, and says his younger brother 'is autistic, or has Asperger syndrome and a 'personality disorder.' Neighbors described the younger man to ABC as 'odd' and displaying characteristics associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder."

The state government of Connecticut has asked surrounding states to make more medical examiners available, because there are not enough within CT to conduct autopsies on all the dead.

CNN reports that one parent who was inside the school when the attack happened "heard what sounded like at least 100 rounds being fired." She said she saw two school employees die. CNN is liveblogging tweets and first-hand reports here; the Chicago Sun-Times has a liveblog here.

The Hartford-Courant has photos and video from the scene. Here is live video coverage on local news. Here's a letter emailed to parents of children at the school. Currently, at least one entire classroom of children and teachers is "missing."

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