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.
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.
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.”
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.