More facts are emerging:
The shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza. He also killed his mother Nancy Lanza, with whom he lived and who worked as an aide at the school, before he went there to begin his murderous rampage. Neighbors described the shooter as “‘odd’ and displaying characteristics associated with mental illness.”
The death toll at the school now is said to number 26 (20 of them children), plus the killer as well as the previous victim (his mother) in the family residence.
The weapons have been described as two semi-automatic pistols and an automatic rifle, but the latter weapon was left in the car and not used.
According to some children in the school who survived, “the shooter didn’t utter a word.”
Tales of heroism will emerge as time goes on, but for the moment we have this:
[A teacher named Varga] said someone turned on the public address system so that “you could hear people in the office. You could hear the hysteria that was going on. I think whoever did that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror that was transpiring.”
Also, a custodian went running around, warning people there was a gunman in the school, Varga said.
What indescribable suffering for the parents, the children, the teachers, the community—and also the family of the shooter (see this).
As for President Obama’s comments on the killings, I see no reason to believe his emotion wasn’t genuine (as some have suggested in the comments section of another thread). He’s a father of young children, and for any parent this sort of grief and loss is hard to even contemplate, and can feel almost overwhelming.
UPDATE: Here’s a harrowing but excellent interview with a first grade teacher at the school (yeah, I know the interviewer is Diane Sawyer, but it’s well worth watching):