Police: Safety of All CT Schools Being Examined in Wake of Sandy Hook Shootings

Connecticut State Police Lt. Vance said during a Sunday morning press conference that parents should be confident that law enforcement is doing everything they can to make sure all schools are safe.


Updated, 1:05 p.m.

Newtown Police Lt George Sinko told reporters that there is a tenative plan to resume classes for Sandy Hook students, but that the department and the Superintendant of Schools wants to "move forward very slowly and respectfully."

When asked whether Sandy Hook staff and students could ever return to the building one day, Sinko said it was too early to say, but that he "would find if very difficult for them to do that."

Updated, 12:53 p.m.

Lt. Vance told reporters that safety for all schools in Connecticut is being examined by Gov. Malloy.

"There are many plans for emergency purposes in place to ensure the safety of all schools in Connecticut," he said. "All of them are being reexamined and certainly all parents in Connecticut should, in fact, be confident that law enforcement—state police, local police, the educators, the leaders of the school system—are doing everything they can to make sure that the schools in Connecticut are safe."

Updated, 12:33 p.m

Vance stressed to reporters during Sunday's press conference that the police do not have plans to release a timeline of the shooting while the investigation is ongoing because it would be "inappropriate."

Vehicles parked within the secondary crime scene outside of the school are beginning to be released their owners as that portion of the investigation comes to a close, Vance said.

Updated, 12:22 p.m.

Lt. Vance told reporters that although there is nothing new to report, the investigation is "moving forward" and that evidence has been collected is currently being analyzed.

Vance said that the weaponry recovered from the scene is being traced all the way "back to the work bench when they were being assembled."

He added that autopsy results from the Chief Medical Examiner's Office of the last two victims of the shooting could possibly be released Sunday afternoon.

Updated, 12:03 p.m.

Police said Sunday morning warned that misinformation about Friday's deadly shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary is being posted on social media web sites.

Vance said there have been instances of people posing as the shooter on Facebook pages, with "threatening and inaccurate" information.

Vance said these actions are a possible violation of state and federal laws, and people behind these messages could be prosecuted.

Updated, 12 p.m.

During a press conference Sunday morning, Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance told reporters that officers are still at the scene actively working to collect evidence, but that there is nothing new to report that is relative to the investigation.

Original Story

Though officials released some harrowing details of the nightmare that six adults and 20 first-graders endured before they were killed inside a Newtown elementary school Friday—how, when, with what and where they were shot and whether the victims suffered for long—many expect that on Sunday they’ll start to get an answer one question that’s eluded investigators: Why?

Regarding the shooter’s motive, state police have said that they collected “good evidence” at Sandy Hook Elementary School as well as at the neighborhood home of suspected gunman Adam Lanza. He's the 20-year-old who is said to have shot and killed his mother before blasting his way into the school at about 9:30 a.m. Friday, fatally shooting 26 people and then himself.

Multiple media outlets have reported the three guns carried into the school by the gunman as legally registered to his own mother—another piece of this unfolding tragedy that police are expected to address Sunday.

At a media conference late Saturday where some reporters pressed the head of the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for details, a gruesome vision emerged about where the children and six adults were shot, how many times and even what the kids wore to school that tragic day.

Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, the office’s chief, said he expected to finish autopsies on the shooter and his mother early Sunday. State police have said doing so would allow them to confirm the gunman already widely identified in the media. At least as importantly, police have said they’re using evidence collected at both scenes to piece together a “puzzle” that may address the difficult question of motive.

Jack Hornak, a Newtown resident for 35 years and member of St. John's Episcopal Church, told Patch that his questions include: How come here? How come now? Why?

"You run the gamut of crying, anger," Hornak said as he welcomed fellow supporters into the church for a special prayer at noon Saturday.

Asked to describe the emotions he is feeling, Hornak said, "Numbness. I find myself just staring." 

"Right now I'm crying," he added, tearing up. "In 20 seconds I'll want to hit a wall."

Parents such as Margaret Keayes, a mother of five, are grappling with questions about what caused the tragedy. Keayes, whose children attend a different Newtown school, came to Saturday’s press conference, saying she looked into her own kindergartener’s face and thought of those that had perished.

“It's hard to understand that,” Keayes said of the shooting. “I don't think we ever will, and I don't think we have to. But we do need to help those families that are in need right now.”

Keayes described Newtown’s response to those affected by the tragedy as “incredible,” including an offer of counseling sessions to all community members.

Late Saturday, the White House reported that President Barack Obama would travel to Newtown to meet with victims’ parents and to thank first responders.

Parents in town had mixed reactions to that news.

Lorraine Chappell said that though she doesn’t think any one person really can help, “I guess it might help that he does care. He was visibly upset.”

Meanwhile, Brian Cummings, an electrician who has lived in Sandy Hook since 1977, said that a visit by Obama wouldn’t mean much to him.

Roy Low, a father, said he would have liked Obama to come to town Friday.

“I don’t think it’s going to do anything [for the community],” Low said of the president’s visit. “It’s going to be a long time before this community can get back to where it belongs. If it ever gets back.”

Lorna December 16, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I read elsewhere that the shooter's mother was a gun enthusiast and even took her sons to target practice. And yet she expressed concerned about Adam's mental well-being. If that were the case, why didn't she get help for him? And why didn't she keep her arsenal securely locked? What a cruel irony that she was the first to be killed. Perhaps if she had taken precautions, this whole tragedy may never have happened. Adam could have purchased weapons elserwhere, but if he had had compassionate and effective counseling, and perhaps medication, he might not have been driven to commit such a horrific act. My heart goes out to all the victims' families, including the surviving Lanzas.
Prayers for Newtown December 16, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Tons of misinformation from media outlets too, mostly the Danbury News-Times whose reporters jumped the gun by publishing tons of false "facts".
Fairfield Parent December 16, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Speaking to a teacher friend - so many parents are in denial about their children and don't seek proper help before it is too late. My friend is a pre-school teacher who told me she has 2 violent boys in her class - one cut her hair without her permission - he came at her with scissors - and has done other violent things - and yet the parents protect him and the school allows to attend. We are a nation in self denial. The mother of Adam appears to fall in this category or felt she lacked the resources to help her son for whatever reason - but to take a child who had issues to a gun range and not secure the guns is unthinkable!
Ronni McLaughlin December 17, 2012 at 12:32 AM
My heartfelt sympathies go to all the families who are involved. The Compassionate Friends' Chapters in Danbury, Stamford and other locations are here for any of the families. To find a chapter for support please go to thecompassionatefriends.org.
RH December 17, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I'd like to know what lasting and permanent changes will be made with regard to securing our schools. Are Governor Malloy, the police, and school officials looking into incorporating enhanced security features into the school buildings throughout town and the state at large? I worry that, in the weeks ahead, we will become complacent and not take meaningful and effective steps to protect our children better. I don't believe that our school buildings are nearly as secure as they should be. I hope that I'm not alone in thinking that something more needs to be done -- more security precautions must be taken. And all reasonable options should be considered... despite the potential cost. I don't mean to deter our focus from those families who are suffering due to the recent tragedy. They must remain in our thoughts and prayers, and my heart breaks for them. I just believe in the old adage that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. God bless you all.
Martha Outlaw December 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I agree completely with you, RH. Well said.
Fairfield Parent December 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
RH - I agree too. Well said.
Frederick Klein December 17, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Is it possible that she did keep the guns locked up, as required, but that her son knew where the key was or what the combination was? Do we know this information yet?
Fairfield Old Timer December 17, 2012 at 04:31 PM
They should install solid steel doors instead of glass doors on all schools immediately. That way noone can smash their way in!
N.C resident December 18, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I agree! I have 3 children of my own and I feel like our schools are not as secure as they should be! Solid steel doors or even bullet proof doors if possible. Secure playgrounds, and all access points into the building. Most of our schools can be entered by just buzzing people in! Our children should be protected at all costs - I think every parent would put child safety and money spent over securing our schools over anything else! My prayers are with everyone who suffered this tragic event and may God give us all the strength to cope!
Andrew December 18, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I'm glad to see that people in these threads are beginning to look at how we can make our buildings secure because, right now, they are not secure. There are countless vulnerabilities. The only way that our buildings will become secure is if we all come together and demand changes. We need to be creative. Is there a way that we can set up some kind of a fund to raise money for installing metal doors and bullet-proof glass? How can we go about ensuring that we have police officers permanently stationed in our schools? I seem to remember, years ago, the entire town coming together to raise money for artificial turf at the high school. Didn't we come together and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for SmartBoards, too? Look at what we accomplished when we worked together. Shouldn't we do the same thing for something as important as protecting our children's lives? I'm not sure how to go about starting a fundraising event such as this. Perhaps the folks who initiated the fundraisers for the artificial turf and SmartBoards know how to get this started. The time to act is now. If we wait, we will become passive once again and continue to be vulnerable. Please, please begin having these conversations with your friends and neighbors. We cannot sit back and wait for these problems to be solved on their own or for someone else to solve them for us -- that won't happen. There are definite solutions to these problems... but only if we are willing to fight for them.


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