NEWTOWN, CT – On December 14, 2012, a gunman killed twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, before committing suicide. The gunman, identified by authorities as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, had first killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their nearby Newtown home. He then drove to the school and shot the students and employees before killing himself. The total death toll was 28, including the perpetrator.
It was the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. It was also the second-deadliest mass murder at an American elementary school, after the Bath School bombings of 1927.
Sandy Hook Elementary – Newton, CT
As of November 30, 2012, the school had a total of 456 students between kindergarten and fourth grade. According to a letter sent to parents at the beginning of the year, the school had recently upgraded its security protocol, requiring visitors to be individually admitted after visual and identification review over a video monitor. The doors to the school were locked at 9:30 a.m. each day after morning arrivals.
Newtown was described by residents as being known for its “rural charm” and its family-oriented environment. Violent crime was rare in the town of 28,000 residents: there had been only one homicide in the town in the ten years prior to the school shooting.
Timeline of Events*
Some time before 9:30 a.m. on December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza is believed to have fatally shot his mother Nancy Lanza, aged 52, in the face at their Newtown home. Investigators later found her body in her bed, wearing pajamas, with evidence of four gunshots to the head.
Adam apparently then drove his mother’s car to the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he shot his way in through a locked glass door. He was wearing black military-style gear, including a bullet-proof vest and mask.
Lanza started shooting at about 9:35 a.m. Some of those present reported that initial shots were heard on the school’s intercom system, which was being used for morning announcements.
Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach were in a meeting with several other faculty members when gunshots were heard from outside the room. Hochsprung and Sherlach immediately left the room, rushing to the source of the sounds and were fatally shot in the nearby hallway. Diane Day, a school therapist who was present in the meeting, reported hearing screaming, followed by more gunshots. Natalie Hammond, the vice principal and lead teacher who was also present in the faculty meeting, pressed her body against the door to keep it closed. Hammond was shot from the other side of the door in the leg and arm, and later treated at Danbury Hospital.
Teacher Victoria Soto attempted to hide several children in a closet and cupboards. Lanza entered Soto’s room, whereupon Soto put herself between him and her students. She was fatally shot. Lauren Rousseau, a substitute teacher since October, was reported to have been shot in the face and killed. Anne Marie Murphy’s body was found in her classroom among the bodies of her students, in a shielding position.
Elsewhere in the building, a custodian ran through the hallways alerting classrooms. First grade teacher Kaitlyn Roig, age 29, hid 14 students in a bathroom and barricaded the door, telling them to be completely quiet in order to keep them safe. Maryann Jacob, the school’s library clerk, first hid 18 children in a part of the library that had been chosen for school lockdowns in practice drills, but on discovering that one of the doors would not lock, she instructed the children to crawl into a storage room and barricaded the door using a filing cabinet. Laura Feinstein, a reading specialist at the school, gathered two students from outside her classroom and together they hid under desks after gunshots were heard. Feinstein made two calls, one to the school office and the other, unsuccessfully, to 9-1-1. After approximately 40 minutes, they were led out of the room.
Lanza stopped shooting between 9:46 a.m. and 9:53 a.m., after firing approximately 50 to 100 shots. All victims were shot multiple times, and at least one victim was shot 11 times. Most of the shooting took place in two first-grade classrooms, with fourteen killed in one room and six in the other. The children killed were six and seven years old; there were eight boys and twelve girls. The six adults were all women who worked at the school. A total of 28 people were fatally shot, including Lanza who shot himself in the head as first responders arrived at the school.
Remembering the Victims & Heroes
- Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
- Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
- Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
- Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
- Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
- Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
- Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
- Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
- Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
- Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
- Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
- Nancy Lanza, 1960 (unspecified date, gunman’s mother)
- Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
- James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
- Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
- Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
- Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
- Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
- Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
- Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
- Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
- Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
- Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female
- Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
- Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
- Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
- Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female
*Note: There are two pictures of Emilie Alice Parker in the slideshow above. I couldn’t decide which I liked better so I added both of them.