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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 21 August, 2014

Connecticut school shooter ‘forced his way in’

Candlelit vigils and prayer services for the victims have been held in Newtown Connecticut and in Washington.

White balloons decorate a sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary School, early this morning.
White balloons decorate a sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary School, early this morning.
Image: Mary Altaffer/AP

Updated 15:55

THE GUNMAN WHO shot and killed 26 people in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, “forced his way into the school”, law enforcement confirmed today.

In a press briefing, Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance said the shooter was not voluntarily allowed into the school. Vance said police would not be releasing the names of any of the victims or the gunman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, until the medical examiner’s work is complete.

It is understood that the shooter, who killed 20 children at the school as well as six adults was the son of a woman who worked at the elementary school.

The body of a woman was discovered at the house of the gunman and it has been reported that police suspect he shot his mother before going to the school.

Lieutenant Vance said all of the bodies had been identified and a formal list of names will be released to the media later today.

He said police are still working at the scene of the school and the examination of the scene could take another two days.

Heavy hearts

Earlier today President of the United States Barack Obama today spoke of the country’s grief over the tragedy in his weekly address saying  ”every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt”.

“Our hearts are broken today,” the president said. “We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child’s innocence has been torn away far too early.”

The president’s remarks were similar to those he made during an address in the White House briefing room yesterday where he became visibly emotional and had to stop several times to compose himself.



(YouTube/whitehouse)

Gun control

Today he repeated his appeal for the country to join together “regardless of politics” to take meaningful action to prevent future tragedies like this one.

His comments about taking action have sparked a debate around the country’s gun laws. Obama has supported reinstating a ban on military-style assault weapons but has not pushed Congress, which has a republican majority, for any such laws.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), usually highly vocal on the issue of gun control in the US, was quiet yesterday on the topic.

Mayor of New York City Mike Bloomberg was less quiet calling for sold action by the president. In a statement he said, “Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before.”

Memorials

Meanwhile, a prayer service was held to pay tribute to the victims of the shootings and their families in Newtown and a crowds gathered outside the White House in Washington for a candlelit vigil.

Connecticut school shooter ‘forced his way in’
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  • Sandy Hook School

    White balloons decorate the sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary School as a Connecticut State Trooper stands guard at the school's entrance. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Vigil in Newtown

    Men and women hold candles in vigil outside St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church during a service held in for victims of the elementary school shooting in Newtown. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • 'Come pray'

    Ray Ruzek hangs a sign inviting people to a prayer meeting at the Heaven Ice Cream shop, in Newtown. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Prayer service in Newtown

    As hundreds stand outside St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which was filled to capacity, a couple embrace during a service held in for victims of the elementary school shooting. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Prayer service

    Girls embraces outside St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which was filled to capacity, during a prayer service held in for victims of the shooting in Newtown. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Message board

    A message board stands in the entrance to the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • 'Gone too soon, little angels'

    A message is seen on a candle outside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Newtown. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Connecticut School Shooting

    Cat McDonald, left, of the Long Island borough of New York, holds a candle as she and Emily Prout of Washington, sit by the White House fence mourning the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., in Washington, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. "We're here for the families," says McDonald, "to reflect on the tragedy that's happened." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • Vigil in Washington

    Next to his wife wife Fabiola Cordova, left, Chris Homan of Bethesda, Md., holds his son Leo, 2, on his shoulders while attending a candlelight vigil in front of the White House in Washington yesterday (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin).
  • 'Lives shattered'

    Woman light candles as they hold signs against gun violence at a vigil by the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • 'Stop gun violence'

    Woman wears a button saying "Stop Gun Violence" as she gathers with other supporters of gun control on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, in Washington yesterday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Related: Sympathy over US school shooting stretches globe>

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