Live: Gunman kills 20 children in US school, reignites gun control debate

12. 26 pm: 'We don't have a gun problem, we have a sin problem,' says former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee weighed in on the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown saying the crime was no surprise because we have "systematically removed God" from public schools. "We don't have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem," Huckabee said on Fox News. However, this isn't the first time such a shocking statement has come from Huckabee. Read more.

10. 40 am: US must control gun culture, says Anand Mahindra

The tragedy reignited calls from gun control activists for laws restricting access to weapons.

A crowd of about 200 people gathered outside the White House on Friday evening for a candlelight vigil, many of them drawn together through social media sites. Speakers urged President Barack Obama to push for gun control and said the Connecticut shootings were just the latest in a US epidemic of gun violence.

But it's not just the US. India has reacted to the gun culture in the US too. Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra Group tweeted that US being the leader of the world must control gun culture in their country.

Writer Taslima Nasreen also tweets about the gun culture in the US and says Americans will never go against their 'deep-roote gun culture'.

Reflecting the difficult politics of gun control, Obama has not pushed for stricter gun laws, calling instead for better enforcement of existing laws. But Friday's shooting once again stoked the never-ending debate.

Emotions were running high in Colorado, which was rocked by the 1999 Columbine High School and — less than six months ago — the movie theater shooting in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

"Until we get our acts together and stop making these ... weapons available, this is going to keep happening," said an angry Tom Teves, whose son Alex was killed in the theater shooting last July.

11. 45 am: The heavy-duty firearms was registered on Adam Lanza's mother's name

The 20-year-old US school shooting suspect reportedly used heavy-duty firearms that were allegedly registered on his mother’s name.

The life of Adam Lanza will be dissected, analyzed and re-analyzed in the days to come as investigators dig into the background of the 20-year-old, who law enforcement sources say returned to his elementary school and opened fire. Thus far, there are clues, but no answers. Police have not even publicly confirmed Lanza as the assailant.

CBS News reported that the Connecticut school shooting suspect planned attack in advance.

11. 23 am: US school gunman's brother defends himself on Facebook

"It wasn't me I was at work It wasn't me", wrote Ryan Lanza on his Facebook page soon after he was mistakenly named as the man who shot dead 28 people, including 20 children, at a US school. The shooter has been identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the younger brother of Ryan Lanza.

The elementary school shooting left 20 children and 8 adults dead in the US state of Connecticut, the second deadliest in US history only next to the Virginia Tech Massacre in April 2007, which claimed 33 lives.

Ryan Lanza was working at his desk at the Ernst and Young when he saw a TV report that he had fatally shot people at the elementary school in Connecticut. It was at that moment Ryan realized what his brother, Adam, might have done.

Lanza told his boss that: "I need to go."

He then walked out from Times Square office of the tax real-estate group, according to a co-worker who spoke to MailOnline on condition of anonymity. Ryan stoutly defended himself in a series of Facebook posts after he was mistakenly named as the killer.

He wrote on his Facebook page: "I'm on the bus home now it wasn't me." Less than two minutes he wrote in capital letters: "IT WASN'T ME I WAS AT WORK IT WASN'T ME." Ryan has been detained by the police.

10. 30 am: School shooting postpones Cruise premiere in US

The US premiere of the Tom Cruise action movie Jack Reacher is being postponed following the deadly Connecticut school shooting.

Paramount Pictures says "out of honor and respect for the families of the victims" the premiere won't take place Saturday in Pittsburgh, where "Jack Reacher" was filmed.

The premiere would've been Cruise's first US media appearance since his split from Katie Holmes over the summer. It was to be more contained with select outlets covering and a location away from Hollywood or New York.

A proclamation ceremony for Cruise had been planned with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

No new date for the premiere has been set. The movie opens on 21 December.

Will Obama have the courage to stand up to the US gun lobby?

Talk of reining in America’s gun culture is considered politically risky, and Obama avoided making such direct calls during his successful run for re-election this year. However, Friday’s tragedy has led to what is now President Obama’s biggest test: Will he have the courage to stand up to the powerful American gun lobby? Read our piece here.

9.40 am: Australia, Britain express shock, sympathy

Leaders of two of the closest longtime allies of the United States have been quick to express sympathy over a shooting rampage that left 26 people dead, including 20 children, at a Connecticut elementary school.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a statement on Saturday that her country shares America's shock at what she called "this senseless and incomprehensible act of evil."

She said that Australians, as parents as well as friends of the American people, mourned the loss of young children and teachers who were murdered in a place of learning.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that he was "shocked and deeply saddened" to hear of the shootings and that he found it "heartbreaking" to think of those who lost such young children.

9. 15 am: President Barack Obama has issued a Presidential Proclamation to honour the victims of the Newtown shooting

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, December 18, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.


9. 09 am:  Connecticut Governor says the shooting is a "tragedy of unspeakable terms"

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has described the shooting as a "tragedy of unspeakable terms" that left 20 children and six adults dead in one of the most horrific incidents in US history.

"You can never be prepared for this kind of incident. A number of our citizens, beautiful children, had their life
taken away from them as well as adults whose responsibility it was to educate and supervise those children," Malloy said.

The gunman, identified in local media reports as 24-year -old Ryan Lanza, was also found dead inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The shooting caps a year of similar horrific tragedies in which gunmen opened fire on unsuspecting citizens in a theatre in Colorado and a gurdwara in Wisconsin.

Connecticut police lieutenant Paul Vance said the investigation is ongoing and said another person was found dead at a "secondary crime scene" near Newtown.  He, however, did not release further information but media reports said Lanza's brother was found dead in an apartment. Vance said the shooting was concentrated in one section of the school inside two classrooms.

8.54 am: Suspected gunman is school teacher's son

The man suspected of killing more than two dozen people at a school in the US state of Connecticut was an honors student who lived in a prosperous neighborhood with his mother, a grade-school teacher who liked to host dice games and decorate the house for the holidays.

Adam Lanza killed his mother at their home before driving her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School and — armed with at least two handguns — carried out the massacre before taking his own life, officials said. A third weapon, a .223-caliber rifle, was found in the car, and more guns were found inside the school.

The 20-year-old may have suffered from a personality disorder, law enforcement officials said.

Investigators were trying to learn as much as possible about Lanza but so far, authorities have not spoken publicly of any possible motive.

8. 50 am: Witnesses said the shooter didn't utter a word

Catherine Urso, who was attending a vigil Friday evening in Newtown, Connecticut, said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style.

"He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths," she said.

Lanza and his mother, Nancy, lived in a well-to-do part of Newtown, a prosperous community of 27,000 people about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of New York City.

A grandmother of the suspect — who is also the mother of the slain teacher — was too distraught to speak when reached by phone at her home in Florida.

"I just don't know, and I can't make a comment right now," Dorothy Hanson, 78, said in a shaky voice as she started to cry. She said she hadn't heard anything official about her daughter and grandsons. She declined to comment further and hung up.

Adam Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza of Hoboken, New Jersey, was being questioned, a law enforcement official said. He told authorities that his brother was believed to suffer from a personality disorder, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the unfolding investigation.

The official did not elaborate, and it was unclear exactly what type of disorder he might have had.

Ryan Lanza had been extremely cooperative and was not under arrest or in custody, but investigators were still searching his computers and phone records. Ryan Lanza told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.

Brett Wilshe, a friend of Ryan Lanza's, said he sent him a Facebook message Friday asking what was going on and if he was OK. According to Wilshe, Lanza's reply was something along the lines of: "It was my brother. I think my mother is dead. Oh my God."

Adam Lanza attended Newtown High School, and several local news clippings from recent years mention his name among the school's honor roll students.

Sandeep Kapur, who lives two doors down from the Lanza family in Newtown, said he did not know them and was unaware of any disturbances at the Lanza house in the three years that he and his family have been in the neighborhood.

He described the area as a subdivision of well-tended, 15-year-old homes on lots of an acre or more, where many people work at companies like General Electric, Pepsi and IBM. Some are doctors, and his next-door neighbor is a bank CEO, said Kapur, a project manager at an information technology firm.

"The neighborhood's great. We have young kids, and they have lots of friends," he said. "If you drive past this neighborhood, it gives you a really warm feeling."

The rampage in the northeastern state of Connecticut was at least the fourth big shooting spree in five months in the United States. It was by far the deadliest of the year and most heart-wrenching.

The children were among the youngest victims of a mass shooting in recent history.

Frightened students who were rushed from the building by police were told to close their eyes. Children — some crying, others looking frightened — were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders.

Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. AP

"Our hearts are broken today," President Barack Obama said, wiping his eyes during brief comments to reporters in one of the most emotional public moments of his presidency. The children killed were just 5 to 10 years old, he said. "They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own."

Watch Obama's statement on the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

The national debate over the issue of gun control in America exploded once again. Obama said the U.S. had been "through this too many times" with recent mass shootings and that the country has to come together to take meaningful action, "regardless of the politics." He did not give details.

Police shed no light on the motive for the attack. The gunman was believed to suffer from a personality disorder and lived with his mother in Connecticut, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to publicly discuss it.

Law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity said Adam Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, and then drove to the school in her car with three guns, including a high-powered rifle that he apparently left in the back.

Authorities said he shot up two classrooms but otherwise gave no details on how the attack unfolded.

The attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School, just two weeks before Christmas, was the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech university massacre in 2007 that left 32 dead.

This time, the victims were far smaller. Children told their parents they had heard bangs and, at one point, a scream over the intercom. Teachers ordered them to hide in closets or corners.

State police Lt. Paul Vance said 28 people in all were killed, including the gunman, and one person was injured.

Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, but a law enforcement official said he was not believed to have had any role in the rampage.

Investigators were searching his computers and phone records, but he told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the unfolding investigation.

On Friday afternoon, family members were led away from a firehouse that was being used as a staging area, some of them weeping. One man, wearing only a T-shirt without a jacket, put his arms around a woman as they walked down the middle of the street, oblivious to everything around them.

Another woman with tears rolling down her face walked by carrying a car seat with a young infant inside and a bag that appeared to have toys and stuffed animals.

Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.

"That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."

Licata said the shooter didn't say a word.

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs, and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.

Theodore Varga said he was in a meeting with other fourth-grade teachers when he heard the gunfire, but there was no lock on the door.

He said someone turned on the public address system so that "you could hear the hysteria that was going on. I think whoever did that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror that was transpiring."

Also, a custodian went running around, warning people there was a gunman in the school, Varga said.

"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!'" Varga said. "So he was actually a hero." The teacher said he did not know if the custodian survived.

Varga said he tried to kick out an air-conditioning unit in the window so the five teachers in the room could escape, but he only managed to knock out the wood next to it, and the space wasn't big enough for all of them to squeeze through.

He said he smelled gun smoke in the halls as he ran out to escape through a door. Varga then went around to help three other teachers climb out of the window of the first-floor room they had been in.

Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and ran to check on his 9-year-old sister, who was fine. He said she heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.

"Everyone was just traumatized," Bajraliu said.

Richard Wilford said his 7-year-old son, Richie, said he heard a noise that "sounded like what he described as cans falling."

The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle in the corner until police arrived.

"There's no words," Wilford said.

Melissa Makris said her 10-year-old son, Philip, saw what looked like a body under a blanket as he fled the school.

The shootings instantly brought to mind episodes such as the Columbine school massacre in Colorado that killed 15 in 1999.

"I think as a society, we need to come together. It has to stop these senseless deaths," Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis said Friday.

Already this year, a gunman killed 12 people at a Colorado theater, and another gunman killed six people before killing himself at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

"We have endured too many of these tragedies," Obama said. He addressed reporters in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, named in honor of the former White House press secretary who was shot in the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. Brady and his wife, Sarah, have become activists for gun control measures.

"If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don't know when is," one member of Congress, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, said in a statement.

Overseas, there was both shock and sympathy.

In a public statement addressed to Obama, French President Francois Hollande said he was "horrified."

British Prime Minister David Cameron said "it is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them." Queen Elizabeth II sent a message Obama saying she was saddened by the "dreadful loss of life."

With inputs from Agencies

Updated Date: Dec 15, 2012 12:35 PM

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