The Newtown Massacre~

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, also called the Newtown massacre, was a mass shooting that occurred on December 14, 2012. Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members and wounded two at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the village of Sandy Hook in the town ofNewtown, Connecticut.[4][5] Before driving to the school, Lanza had shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Newtown home.[7][9][10] As first responders arrived, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

It was the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. It also was the second-deadliest mass murder at an American elementary school, after the 1927 Bath School bombings in Michigan.[11][12]


  • 1 Background

  • 2 Shootings

  • 3 First response

  • 4 Investigation

  • 5 Perpetrator

  • 6 Reactions

  • 7 See also

  • 8 References

  • 9 External links


As of November 30, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School had 456 children enrolled in kindergarten through fourth grade.[13] According to school authorities, the school's security protocol had recently been upgraded, requiring visitors to be individually admitted after visual and identification review by video monitor. The doors to the school were locked at 9:30 a.m. each day, after morning arrivals.[14]

Newtown is located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, about 60 miles (97 km) outside New York City.[15] Violent crime had been rare in the town of 28,000 residents; there was only one homicide in the town in the ten years prior to the school shooting.[16]


Some time before 9:30 a.m. EST on Friday, December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, age 52, at their Newtown home.[10] Investigators later found her body, clad in pajamas, in her bed with four gunshot wounds to her head.[17] Adam Lanza then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School.[9][10]

Red circle: Sandy Hook Elementary School
Black circle: Lanza household

At about 9:35 a.m., using his mother's Bushmaster XM-15,[18][19] Lanza shot his way through a locked glass door at the front of the school.[20][21] He was wearing black clothing, earplugs and an olive green utility vest carrying magazines for the Bushmaster.[22][23] Initial reports that he had been wearing body armor were incorrect.[24] Some of those present heard initial shots on the school intercom system, which was being used for morning announcements.[14]

Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach were meeting with other faculty members when they heard gunshots. Hochsprung and Sherlach immediately left the room, rushed to the source of the sounds, and encountered and confronted Lanza. He shot and killed both women.[25]

Hochsprung may have turned on the school intercom to alert others in the building. A nine-year-old boy said he heard the shooter say: "Put your hands up!" and someone else say "Don't shoot!", people yelling and many gunshots over the intercom as he, his classmates, and teacher took refuge in a closet in the gymnasium.[26] Diane Day, a school therapist who was at the faculty meeting, heard screaming, followed by more gunshots. Natalie Hammond, lead teacher in the meeting room, pressed her body against the door to keep it closed. Lanza shot Hammond through the door, in her leg and arm. She was later treated atDanbury Hospital.[25][27] The police reported that a second adult was wounded in the attack, but that individual has not been identified.[6]

In a first-grade classroom, Lauren Rousseau, a substitute teacher, was shot in the face and killed. Fifteen of the sixteen students in her class were killed; a six-year-old girl was the sole survivor. The girl's family pastor said that she survived the mass shooting by playing dead and remaining still until the building grew quiet, and she felt it was safe to leave. She ran from the school, covered in blood, and was the first child to escape the building. When she reached her mother, she said, "Mommy, I'm okay, but all my friends are dead." The child described the shooter as a very angry man.[28]

The events in another first-grade classroom remain uncertain, with varying accounts attributed to the surviving children. Teacher Victoria Leigh Soto was reported to have attempted to hide several children in a closet and cupboards.[29][30] As Lanza entered her classroom, Soto reportedly told him that the children were in the auditorium. Several of the children then came out of their hiding place and tried to run for safety and were shot dead. Soto put herself between her students and the shooter, who then fatally shot her.[30] Six surviving children from Soto's class crawled out of the cupboards after the shooting and fled the school. They and a school bus driver took refuge at a nearby home.[31] As reported by his parents, a six-year-old boy in Soto's class fled with a group of his classmates and the children escaped through the door when the gunman shot their teacher.[32]

Anne Marie Murphy, a teacher's aide who worked with special-needs students, shielded six-year-old Dylan Hockley with her body, trying to protect him from the bullets that killed them both.[33][34]Paraprofessional Rachel D'Avino, who had been employed at the school working with a special-needs student for a little more than one week, also died trying to protect her students.[35]

School nurse Sally Cox,[36] 60, hid under a desk in her office and described the door opening and seeing Lanza's boots and legs facing her desk from approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) away. He remained standing for a few seconds before turning around and leaving. She and school secretary Barbara Halstead then hid in a first-aid supply closet for up to four hours, after calling 9-1-1.[37] Custodian Rick Thorne ran through hallways, alerting classrooms.[38]

First grade teacher Kaitlin Roig, age 29, hid 14 students in a bathroom and barricaded the door, telling them to be completely quiet to remain safe.[39][40] School library staff Yvonne Cech and Maryann Jacob first hid 18 children in a part of the library the school used for lockdown in practice drills, but on discovering that one of the doors would not lock, had the children crawl into a storage room as Cech barricaded the door with a filing cabinet.[4][26][41]

Music teacher Maryrose Kristopik, 50, barricaded her fourth-graders in a tiny supply closet during the rampage.[42] Lanza arrived moments later, pounding and yelling "Let me in", while the students in Kristopik's class quietly hid inside.[43]

Two third graders, chosen as classroom helpers, were walking down the hallway to the office to deliver the morning attendance sheet as the shooting began. Teacher Abbey Clements pulled both children into her classroom, where they hid.[44]

Laura Feinstein, a reading specialist at the school, gathered two students from outside her classroom and hid with them under desks after they heard gunshots.[45] Feinstein called the school office and attempted to call 9-1-1 but was unable to connect because her cell phone did not have reception. She hid with the children for approximately 40 minutes, before law enforcement came to lead them out of the room.[46]

Lanza stopped shooting between 9:46 a.m. and 9:49 a.m., after firing 50 to 100 rounds.[47] He reloaded frequently during the shooting, sometimes firing only fifteen rounds from a thirty round magazine.[23] He shot all of his victims multiple times, and at least one victim, six-year-old Noah Pozner, 11 times.[48][49] He shot mostly in two first-grade classrooms near the entrance of the school, killing fourteen in one room and six in the other.[50] The student victims were eight boys and twelve girls, between six and seven years of age,[51] and the six adults were all women who worked at the school. Bullets were also found in at least three cars parked outside the school.[23] After realizing that he had been spotted by a police officer who had entered the building, Lanza killed himself with a shot to the front of the head from a handgun.[52][53][54][55]

First response



Perpetrator's mother

  • Nancy Lanza, 52 (shot at home)


School personnel

  • Rachel D'Avino, 29, teacher's aide[59]

  • Dawn Hochsprung, 47, principal

  • Anne Marie Murphy, 52, teacher's aide[60]

  • Lauren Rousseau, 30, teacher

  • Mary Sherlach, 56, school psychologist

  • Victoria Leigh Soto, 27, teacher



  • Charlotte Bacon, 6

  • Daniel Barden, 7

  • Olivia Engel, 6

  • Josephine Gay, 7

  • Dylan Hockley, 6

  • Madeleine Hsu, 6

  • Catherine Hubbard, 6

  • Chase Kowalski, 7

  • Jesse Lewis, 6

  • Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

  • James Mattioli, 6

  • Grace McDonnell, 7

  • Emilie Parker, 6

  • Jack Pinto, 6

  • Noah Pozner, 6

  • Caroline Previdi, 6

  • Jessica Rekos, 6

  • Avielle Richman, 6

  • Benjamin Wheeler, 6

  • Allison Wyatt, 6



  • Adam Lanza, 20 (suicide)




  • Natalie Hammond, 40, lead teacher

  • One unnamed adult[6]

Newtown police dispatch first requested officers on the scene at 9:35 a.m.[47] Connecticut State Police received the first call at 9:41 a.m.,[39] and with Newtown police, quickly mobilized local police dog and police tactical units, a bomb squad, and a state police helicopter.[61]

Police locked down the school and began evacuating the survivors room-by-room, escorting groups of students and adults away from the school. They swept the school for additional shooters at least four times. No shots were fired by the authorities.[62] According to a transcript of police radio traffic, Adam Lanza shot himself dead within fifteen minutes of the first 911 call being received.[3]

At approximately 10:00 a.m., Danbury Hospital scrambled extra medical personnel in expectation of having to treat numerous victims. Three wounded patients were evacuated to the hospital, where two children were later declared dead.[63] The other was an unidentified adult.[6]

The New York City medical examiner dispatched a portable morgue to assist the authorities.[14] The victims' bodies were removed from the school and formally identified during the night after the shooting.[64][65] A state trooper was assigned to each victim's family to protect their privacy and provide them with information.


A large quantity of unused ammunition was recovered at the school, along with three semi-automatic firearms found with Adam Lanza: a .223-caliber Bushmaster XM-15 rifle, a 10mm Glock 20 SF handgun and a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun.[18][17][19][66] A shotgun was found in the car Lanza had driven to the school.[19] At home, Lanza had access to three more firearms: a .45 Henry repeating rifle, a .30 Enfield rifle, and a .22 Marlin rifle.[11][67][68][69]

The weapons were legally owned by Lanza's mother, who was a gun enthusiast.[70][71] Police said Lanza used the Bushmaster rifle against most of the victims. According to the state's chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver, many of the victims were shot multiple times with the same "long weapon"—the Bushmaster rifle.[4][72][73] Under Connecticut law,[74] the 20-year-old Lanza was old enough to carry a long gun,[75] but too young to legally own or carry handguns.[76]

Investigators are not believed to have found a suicide note or any messages referring to the planning of the attack.[77] Janet Robinson, superintendent of Newtown schools, said she had not found any connection between Lanza's mother and the school, in contrast to initial media reports that stated Lanza's mother had worked there.[4][78] Lanza removed the hard drive from his computer and damaged it prior to the shooting, creating a challenge for investigators to recover data.[79]Investigators have evaluated Lanza's body, looking for evidence of drugs or medication through toxicology tests.[55] Additionally, although unusual for an investigation of this type and unlikely to provide conclusive information, DNA testing of Lanza is being utilized.[80]

Police also investigated whether Lanza was the person who had been in an altercation with four staff members at Sandy Hook School the day before the massacre. It was presumed that he killed two of the four staff members involved in the altercation (the principal and the psychologist) and wounded the third (the lead teacher) in the attack; the fourth staff member was not at the school that day.[81] The state police stated that they did not know of any reports about any altercations at the school.[82]

Police sources initially reported Adam Lanza's sibling, Ryan Lanza, as the perpetrator. This was likely because the perpetrator was carrying his brother's identification, Ryan told The Jersey Journal.[83] Ryan Lanza voluntarily submitted to questioning by New Jersey police, Connecticut State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Police said he was not considered a suspect, and he was not taken into custody.[9][84] Ryan Lanza said he had not been in touch with his brother since 2010.[85][86] Connecticut State Police indicated their concern about misinformation being posted on social media sites and threatened prosecution of anyone involved with such activities.[87]

According to anonymous reports, authorities were investigating whether Lanza attempted to buy a rifle at a sporting goods store in Danbury, Connecticut, two days before the massacre. Anonymous sources claimed Lanza was turned down because he did not want to undergo a background check or abide by the state's waiting period for gun sales.[88]


Adam Peter Lanza was born on April 22, 1992, in Exeter, New Hampshire.[89] He and his mother lived in Sandy Hook, 5 miles (8 km) from the elementary school.[90] He did not have a criminal record.[7][91][92] He attended Sandy Hook Elementary School for a brief time.[93] Afterward, he attended St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in Newtown,[94] and then Newtown High School, where he was an honors student.[95] Lanza subsequently was home-schooled by his mother, and earned a GED.[96] Lanza's aunt said his mother removed him from the Newtown public school system because she was unhappy with the school district's plans for her son.[97] He attended Western Connecticut State University in 2008 and 2009.[96]

Adam Lanza

Students and teachers who knew him in high school described Lanza as "intelligent, but nervous and fidgety". He avoided attracting attention and was uncomfortable socializing. He is not known to have had any close friends in school.[90]

Lanza's brother told law enforcement that Adam was believed to have a personality disorder and was "somewhat autistic".[98] An anonymous law enforcement official[99] and friends of Nancy Lanza[100] reported that Adam had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.[101] Due to concerns that published descriptions of Lanza's autism could result in a backlash against others with the condition, autism advocates campaigned to clarify that autism is a brain-related developmental problem and not a mental illness.[102] The predatory aggression demonstrated in the shooting is generally not seen in the autistic population.[103]

Following her divorce from Adam's father, a corporate executive, Nancy Lanza was supported by alimony payments.[104][105][106] A relative commented that she did not have to work because the divorce settlement had left her "very well off". There were conflicting reports on whether she had worked as a volunteer at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.[107]

According to Nancy Lanza's sister-in-law, she was a gun enthusiast and owned at least a dozen firearms.[108][109][110][111] She often took her two sons to a local shooting range.[104]

OnlyOneChiquita OnlyOneChiquita
41-45, F
4 Responses Jan 16, 2013

Perhaps if we didn't tell wacko's that our schools are gun-free zones, packed with innocents that provide plenty of victims we wouldn't be seeing crap like this happening! This shooter, the Aurora Co. shooter, the Va Tech shooter, Columbine shooters.. .all gun free zones.. Oh.. all those shooters? All had been on or were on dr. proscribed meds for mental disorders. Not one word about our system utilizing drugs to make the kids more manageable.. no word on parental failure...

I live about 22 miles from Newtown, CT. It has never been referred to as the Newtown Massacre by the local media either channel 8 or 12 TV news, WICC radio or the Connecticut Post. Is that a term you have elected to use? Are you from CT? Why do you have a connection to the story. Here, we were crushed. Local police from all over the state went to Newtown on their own time without pay to relieve and assist the Newtown Police.

I know, Keith. I didn't write about it initially, because it was so horrible. It is unbelievably painful to think about.

I can only say that I still cry each time I think of this eveil piece of trash has done to the familys and the town they is still in shock. which is what is to be now all those lovely kids takin away from us,the docters ,lawyers.and even teachers that will not get the change to make this a better world.