Investigators, world wonder what drove Conn. gunman to schoolhouse massacre that killed 26
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The massacre of 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, a 20-year-old described as brilliant but remote, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.
Investigators were trying to learn more about the gunman, Adam Lanza, and questioned his older brother, who is not believed to have been involved in the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary. Police shed no light on the motive for the nation's second-deadliest school shooting.
In tight-knit Newtown on Friday night, hundreds of people packed St. Rose of Lima church and stood outside in a vigil for the 28 dead — 20 children and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself, who committed suicide. People held hands, lit candles and sang "Silent Night."
"These 20 children were just beautiful, beautiful children," Monsignor Robert Weiss said. "These 20 children lit up this community better than all these Christmas lights we have. ... There are a lot brighter stars up there tonight because of these kids."
Lanza is believed to have suffered from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation.
Talk with kids about Conn. shooting, make them feel safe, limit exposure to media, experts say
The killings at a Connecticut elementary school left parents struggling to figure out what, if anything, to tell their children.
President Barack Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, would tell their daughters that they love them and hug them a little tighter. Experts say that's a good example to follow. Parents also should allow children to talk about their feelings in the coming days while sheltering them from the 24/7 media coverage of the event, they say.
A man gunned down more than two dozen people Friday, most of them kids at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. The shooter was among the 28 people left dead, apparently from a self-inflicted wound.
Whitney Finucane wasn't sure how and when she would talk with her son, Nico, about the shooting. She kissed and hugged him when he came out from kindergarten at Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary in Providence, R.I., on Friday.
"I don't know how to explain insanity and evil to a 5-year-old," she said. "I don't know that he can really grasp it."
Districts across US review security plans, reassure parents after deadly Connecticut shooting
The mass killing inside a Connecticut elementary school has educators across the country reviewing their security measures, reassuring parents and asking, "What if?"
"Every principal will be going through their own protocols, the things they do on a daily basis to protect their students and staff," said Dr. Will Keresztes, associate superintendent for student support in the school system in Buffalo, N.Y.
Amid grief and condolences for the 20 children fatally shot Friday by a gunman in Newtown, Conn., school leaders nationwide sent emails and text messages and phone recordings assuring parents and children their schools are safe, while acknowledging the difficult balancing act in keeping that promise.
"It's just very difficult to be able to, in today's world, to eliminate all those risks," said Rick Johnson, superintendent of the 3,000-student Mahomet-Seymour Community Schools district in rural eastern Illinois.
Driven by previous school shootings, many district officials say they already lock building doors, require identification from visitors, employ safety officers — some of them off-duty police officers — and have established text or other notification systems for parents. There are metal detectors at some public schools considered at risk for violence, including some schools in New York City and Milwaukee. Portable detectors are brought out as needed in some districts.
What we know about the Connecticut elementary school shooting that left 28 dead
Key facts from the scene of the Connecticut elementary school shooting:
THE TOLL: 28 dead, including the gunman, Adam Lanza; his mother, Nancy Lanza; the elementary school's principal, Dawn Hochsprung; and 20 schoolchildren. A woman who works at the school was wounded.
THE SUSPECT: 20-year-old Adam Lanza wore a pocket protector when he was in high school and was an honor student, and was called "remote" and "one of the goths" by classmates. A law enforcement official said he may have had a personality disorder. He grew up in an affluent neighborhood of well-tended homes with neighbors who worked as executives at companies like IBM. Police shed no light on his motive.
First, he killed his mother — and then, he unleashed evil on an elementary school
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — First, he killed his mother.
Nancy Lanza's body was found later at their home on Yogananda Street in Newtown — after the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School; after a quiet New England town was scarred forever by unthinkable tragedy; after a nation seemingly inured to violence found itself stunned by the slaughter of innocents.
Nobody knows why 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother, why he then took her guns to the school and murdered 20 children and six adults.
But on Friday he drove his mother's car through this 300-year-old town with its fine old churches and towering trees and arrived at a school full of the season's joy. Somehow, he got past a security door to a place where children should have been safe from harm.
Theodore Varga and other fourth-grade teachers were meeting; the glow remained from the previous night's fourth-grade concert.
Connecticut school shooting suspect was honors student who lived in prosperous neighborhood
WASHINGTON (AP) — He was an honors student who lived in a prosperous neighborhood with his mother, a well-liked woman who enjoyed hosting dice games and decorating the house for the holidays.
Now Adam Lanza is suspected of killing his mother and then gunning down more than two dozen people, 20 of them children, at a Connecticut grade school before taking his own life.
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 and questioned his older brother, who is not believed to have any involvement in the rampage.
Lanza shot 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, officials said.
Egyptians vote on an Islamist-backed constitution that has polarized their nation
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptians were voting Saturday on a proposed constitution that has polarized their nation, with President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist supporters backing the charter, while liberals, secular Muslims and Christians oppose it.
With the nation divided by a political crisis defined by mass protests and deadly violence, the vote has turned into a dispute over whether Egypt should move toward a religious state under Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and an ultraconservative Salafi bloc, or one that retains secular traditions and an Islamic character.
"The times of silence are over," said bank employee Essam el-Guindy as he waited to cast his ballot in Cairo's upscale Zamalek district. "I am not OK with the constitution. Morsi should not have let the country split like this."
El-Guindy was one of about 20 standing in a line for men waiting to vote. A separate women's line had twice as many people. Elsewhere in Cairo, hundreds of voters began queuing outside polling stations nearly two hours before the voting started at 8 a.m.
"I read parts of the constitution and saw no reason to vote against it," said Rania Wafik as she held her newborn baby while waiting in line. "We need to move on and I just see no reason to vote against the constitution."
President's marijuana comments prompt calls for review of federal enforcement policy
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — President Barack Obama says he won't go after pot users in Colorado and Washington, two states that just legalized the drug for recreational use. But advocates argue the president said the same thing about medical marijuana — and yet U.S. attorneys continue to force the closure of dispensaries across the U.S.
Welcome to the confusing and often conflicting policy on pot in the U.S., where medical marijuana is legal in many states, but it is increasingly difficult to grow, distribute or sell it. And at the federal level, at least officially, it is still an illegal drug everywhere.
Obama's statement Friday provided little clarity in a world where marijuana is inching ever so carefully toward legitimacy.
That conflict is perhaps the greatest in California, where the state's four U.S. Attorneys criminally prosecuted large growers and launched a coordinated crackdown on the state's medical marijuana industry last year by threatening landlords with property forfeiture actions. Hundreds of pot shops went out of business.
Steve DeAngelo, executive director of an Oakland, Calif., dispensary that claims to be the nation's largest, called for a federal policy that treats recreational and medical uses of the drug equally.
As year ends, US commanders offering glowing assessments of 2012 Afghanistan efforts
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. commanders are offering glowing reviews of their 2012 war campaign, upbeat assessments that could be interpreted as leeway for President Barack Obama to order another round of troop withdrawals next summer.
Obama faces a tension between calls by Democrats and even some Republicans to wind down the war more quickly and the military's desire to avoid a too-fast pullout that might squander hard-won sacrifices.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not yet recommended to Obama a specific pace of withdrawals for 2013. But during the Pentagon chief's two-day visit to the war zone this past week, commanders suggested that things are going better than is generally believed by an American public weary of war after 11 years.
Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams, for example, cited "astounding" progress in the Zaray district of Kandahar province, where the Taliban once held sway. He said Afghan forces are now "dominating" in that district. Abrams is the top coalition commander in southern Afghanistan.
Abrams told reporters he foresees a smaller coalition force by next summer, but he was not recommending or predicting any U.S. reductions. He was arguing that Afghan forces are performing so well that they should be able to hold their ground in 2013 with less coalition combat power.
NFL planning for moment of silence at this weekend's games as sports world reacts to shooting
Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant wrote "Newtown CT" on both of his shoes. Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott struggled with his composure as he talked about the tragedy. Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett called it "a tough day."
The school shooting in Connecticut hit close to home for several sports stars, and they extended their condolences over social media websites such as Twitter. Some were visibly shaken as they went about their business on Friday night, and the NFL asked each of its teams to observe a moment of silence before this weekend's games.
"I'm all over the place. Today's been a crazy day," Garnett said following a 101-89 loss at Houston. "I just want to say that my condolences go out to the families that are in Connecticut. Anybody that has kids, a niece, any kind of siblings or any kind of someone that they love, it's just been a tough day. I just wanted to get it off my chest and say my condolences go out to all the parents out there. ... It's been an emotional roller-coaster today."
A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside an elementary school, slaying 26 people, including 20 children. The 20-year-old killer, carrying two handguns, committed suicide at the school.
"It's a sad day. ... It has impacted all of us," Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I got kids, who we take for granted waking them up and sending them to school. It's just a tragedy."