The gunman in the Connecticut shooting rampage shot his mother four times in the head before going to an elementary school and gunning down 26 people, authorities said today as details emerged suggesting that Adam Lanza planned an even more gruesome massacre but was stopped short.
Lanza blasted his way into the school 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 when he heard police coming. Authorities said they found multiple 30-round magazines and hundreds of bullets at the school, enough ammunition on him to carry out significant additional carnage.
“There was a lot of ammo, a lot of clips,” State Police Lt. Paul Vance. “Certainly a lot of lives were potentially saved.”
“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,” Malloy said on ABC television’s “This Week.”
President Barack Obama has arrived in Connecticut on his way to a memorial service in Newtown that was set to begin at 7 p.m. EST.
Churches opened their doors to comfort a grieving town Sunday as 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-powered 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?
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said Lanza shot himself as police entered the building.
“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,” Malloy said.
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.
Vance on Sunday officially identified Lanza as the shooter. He also confirmed that Lanza’s mother, Nancy, was one of his victims.
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, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver said. There were as many as 11 shots on the bodies he examined. Lanza died of a gunshot wound to the head from a 10 mm gun, and the bullet was recovered in a classroom wall, said the same official who described the scene at the mother’s house. A Glock 10 mm handgun was among three guns found in the school.
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