Shock, Anger Continue as Shooting Details Emerge

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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Connecticut's governor said Sunday that the man suspected of gunning down 26 children and adults at a Newtown elementary school committed suicide just as authorities closed in.

"We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he (suspected gunman Adam Lanza) heard responders coming and apparently at that, decided to take his own life," Gov. Dannel Malloy told  ABC's "This Week."

On Saturday, state law enforcement officials said Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday.

"It's believed he was not voluntarily let into the school at all, that he forced his way into the school," Lt. Paul Vance, a spokesman with the Connecticut State Police, said.

Please join us in praying for the families and parents in Connecticut who have lost their children and loved ones. Share your prayers on CBN's on Pray for Newtown, special page.

Vance said they've found evidence which could help them establish a motive but declined to share the specific details.

"Our investigators at the crime scene, the school and secondarily at the secondary crime scene, did produce some very good evidence in this investigation that our investigators will be able to use in hopefully painting the complete picture as to how and more importantly why this occurred," Vance said.

The nightmare started early Friday morning when 20-year-old Lanza reportedly shot his mother, drove her car to Newtown, then killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, some 60 miles from New York City.

The children killed were aged between 5 and 10 years old. Lanza, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a semi-automatic assault rifle and two handguns, then turned one of the guns he was carrying on himself.

"Everyone was scared and really big kids in my class I"ve never seen him cry and he was crying," said Ethan Paley, one of the kids who attends Sandy Hook Elementary. "It was really scary for all of us."

Soon after the incident, teachers led the students from the schoolhouse to a nearby firestation.

"We got in a line and had to close our eyes. We all put our hands on other people's shoulders and our teacher held the first person's hand and she led us out," shooting survivor Ella Seave said.

According to local law enforcement, all the victims have now been identified. The school's principal, Dawn Hochsprung, is believed to be among them.

Saturday residents were trying make sense of the evil that had visited their sleepy town.

"It's just like should I be pinched to see if it really is real and just heart wrenching," said one mother. "It feels like a dream and a bad dream. It's a nightmare, feels like a nightmare."

"It's horrible that such evil exists, but that's the nature of the world we live in," another Newtown residen said.

President Barack Obama used his weekly address to express his sadness in the wake of the shooting.

"We grieve for the families of those we lost," he said. "And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child's innocence has been torn away far too early."

The president has ordered all flags in the United States to fly at half-mast.

Newtown is now one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which 32 died.

Friday's shooting is the third major gun attack in the United States this year. In July, an attacker killed 12 people at a premiere of a Batman film in Aurora, Colo. In August, six people died at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.  Then just this week, two people died in a shooting at a shopping mall in Oregon.

Hours after the Newtown massacre, hundreds gathered late Friday evening in a local church that was filled to capacity and spilling outside its doors.

"Parents are really going through a tremendous amount of pain and hurt right now trying to deal with not only their own personal loss, but what happened to their child in the last moments of their life," said Monsignor Robert Weiss of Newtown's St. Rose of Lima Church.

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CBN News
George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Sr. Reporter

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