Sandy Hook: Police say shooter forced his way into school
Police said Saturday they had found "very good evidence" they hoped would answer questions about the motives of the gunman, described as brilliant but remote, who forced his way into the Sandy Hook school, killing 26 children and adults in one of the world's worst mass shootings.
Witnesses said the gunman, Adam Lanza, didn't say a word as he shot children as young as 5 years old and later killed himself. The bodies of victims were still inside the school for some time Saturday morning, and authorities prepared to release their names later in the day.
Reaction was swift and emotional around the world, and many immediately thought of Dunblane — a 1996 shooting in that small Scottish town which killed 16 small children and prompted a campaign that ultimately led to tighter gun controls.
Pressure to take similar action built on President Barack Obama, whose comments on the tragedy were one of the most outwardly emotional moments of his presidency.
"The majority of those who died were children – beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," Obama told a White House news briefing. He paused for several seconds to keep his composure and wiped an eye. Nearby, two aides cried and held hands.
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In tight-knit Newtown, a picturesque New England community of 27,000 people, hundreds of people packed St. Rose of Lima church Friday night 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.
Just 10 days before Christmas Eve, 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."
"People in my neighborhood are feeling guilty about it being Christmas. They are taking down decorations," said Jeannie Pasacreta, a psychologist who was advising parents on how to talk to their children.
Connecticut state police Lt. Paul Vance told reporters Saturday that investigators had found "very good evidence" and hoped it would answer questions about the gunman's motives. Vance would not elaborate.
U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spokeswoman Ginger Colbrun said investigators had not yet found evidence after talking with state gun dealers and gun ranges that the gunman trained for the attack or was an active member of the recreational gun community.
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.
Lanza shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, drove to the school in her car and shot up two classrooms around 9:30 a.m. Friday, law enforcement officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.