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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
First Responder Communications; Victims' Identities to be Released Saturday; Did the Shooter Have a Documented Personality Disorder?; Timeline of Shooting; President Mourns With Nation Over Tragedy
Aired December 14, 2012 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. I'm Ashleigh Banfield in for Erin Burnett tonight. This just in to CNN in a reporting of first responders communicating as they arrive at the scene at Sandy Brook Elementary School this morning in Newtown. Mayhem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DISPATCHER: 6-7 Sandy Hook School. Caller is indicating she thinks there's someone shooting in the building.
The front glass has been broken, (inaudible) unsure why. All units, the individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire. Units responding to Sandy Hook at this time, the shooting appears to have stopped. It is down at this time. The school is in lockdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: That broken glass is the result of the gunman reportedly shooting his way into the school. The unthinkable tragedy has left this very small New England town shattered tonight. 28 people dead. That's including the shooter himself. Most of those killed were students at the school. Very, very young students. There were 20 children who were killed. They were between the ages of five and ten years old. There were also six adults who were shot dead after a heavily armed gunman dressed in black fatigues and a military vest opened fire in the school.
GEORGE WEISS, ST. ROME OF LIMA ROMAN CATHOLIC: We just told a little boy about his sister now and just to see him, he said who am I going to play with? I have nobody to play with now. So, excuse me.
BANFIELD: The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, also died at the scene, apparently from a self-inflicted wound. We can also tell you that his mother, Nancy Lanza was found dead at the family home here in Newtown as well. She had been a teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The school's principal, Dawn Hochsprung was among those who were killed. And tonight, a friend remembered her as "the kind of person that you would want to be educating your kids." School psychologist Mary Sherlach was also killed. This afternoon, the gunman's older brother, Ryan Lanza, was taken in for questioning by police in Hoboken in New Jersey and he was handcuffed. Officials did not label him a suspect. But the gunman's father was also questioned in relation to what happened here today, and tonight, a nation in mourning. Candle-light vigils were held in Newtown and across the country. There was also one just outside the White House in Washington, D.C. Earlier today, President Obama ordered flags to be flown at half staff nationwide in tribute to the victims of this terrible tragedy. And in an emotional address, he said this to the nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there is not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them. Birthdays, graduations, weddings. Kids of their own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: An extraordinarily emotional President Obama earlier today. Obviously, there are so many questions that are emerging after what happened here today. A virtual massacre of innocent, tiny children, and the weapons that were used, nothing short of terrifying. Our Susan Candiotti has been following all this developments today. Three different weapons found in different places, very, very dangerous weapons.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Two of the weapons were found on the shooters himself, in the classroom, where he was found dead. One of them is a Glock, and the other one is called a Sig Sauer, both handguns, a third weapon was found in a car, in a vehicle, may have been his, outside the school.
BANFIELD: Was that the vehicle that had been parked sort of erratically, that had been roped off with the crime tape?
CANDIOTTI: Exactly. And they were paying a lot of attention, obviously, closely examining that car. But the third weapon is a semi automatic known as a Bushmaster .223. Now, we understand that all of the weapons were - belonged to his mother. His mother was a school teacher at the school and they were registered in the state of Connecticut as well. Trying to piece all of this together, why did she have those guns. How did he get them?
BANFIELD: Just one area that I know will be a huge topic of conversation for days and months to come. Another big question, obviously, for so many. The names of these children. There are 20 children who died. There are six adults who died in the school. There is Nancy, the mother who died in her residence. When are we going to find out the official identity of the victims?
CANDIOTTI: Right. Law enforcement authorities are telling us that it will be tomorrow morning. They expect to be releasing the identities. They have been working very diligently to check, double check, and triple check that they have all the right people and obviously, that everyone, members of the family have been notified. So, expect to hear that in the morning.
BANFIELD: And it's so sad to see that by exclusion they have made the identities obvious to those families members who did not get reunited with their children. But those positive I.D.s, they talked about a forensic project that they will be working throughout the night, in that school, where those children's bodies still lay.
BANFIELD: All right. Susan Candiotti, thank you so much, we appreciate it.
BANFIELD: Our Drew Griffin has also been busy working on at whatever information we can find on this person, the shooter, Adam Lanza. What have you found out, Drew?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Actually, having covered so many of these, in fact, with Susan Candiotti, so many times this is playing out almost in a sickening routine. A possible - a shooter with a possible mental health issue, a family perhaps trying to deal with those issues, something snaps, powerful guns easily accessed and he has this outburst of violence. The case of this 20-year-old shooter is beginning to play out just exactly in that order, Ashleigh. Here is what we do know. The 20-year old shooter had an older brother. That brother reportedly told ABC News that the shooter, his brother, had a personality disorder. He also mentioned his brother had autism or was autistic. CNN heard that same information from a man who called himself a friend in Newtown where the shooter lived. So, already, we're seeing a kind of a base for some mental health questions being raised, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And Drew, just quickly. What about warning signs? Is anyone talking at all about warning signs?
GRIFFIN: You know, other than what I just mentioned, not yet. I fully expect we will see that and see more detail on that. Right now, also somewhat standard in these cases, Ashleigh, you're going to find people shocked that this particular person could have been involved in anything like this. Listen to what we heard from a former classmate and also a former school bus driver who knew this 20-year-old.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just a kid.
GRIFFIN: Just a kid?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a kid.
GRIFFIN: Never antisocial?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Adam has got a -- no.
GRIFFIN: Trouble maker?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, definitely not.
GRIFFIN: Noticeable? Did he just kind of blend into the background?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Nothing that would warrant any of this.
GRIFFIN: They are saying he went after his mom and her class of kids. Can you wrap your head around that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I cannot. I don't know who would do anything like this.
GRIFFIN: So your general sense is what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is -- this is unspeakable. When I first heard about it -- I'm still in shock. Excuse me a moment. I need - I want to go.
MARSHA MOSKOWITZ, GUNMAN'S FORMER BUS DRIVER: He was a nice kid. Very polite. She raised very nice boys, to me. That's why I think it's a shock. To even know them and realize who they are and what he did. You cannot understand what happened, that he snapped, what have you, and they took such innocent lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Ashleigh, I'm convinced in the coming days, maybe even tomorrow, we're going to begin hearing that there were warning signs, that there were mental health issues, that there was a family that really didn't know how to handle the situation or felt they had nowhere to turn, we have seen it at Virginia Tech, we've seen this at shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, in Aurora, Colorado, at that movie theater. I'm sure we'll see that, Ashleigh as an - what we will not see, really, for the families, is any kind of explanation that will make sense of this. Because right now, it's just senseless.
BANFIELD: And just so unbearably difficult to digest, especially here on the scene. Without question, something had to have been terribly wrong. Now, Drew Griffin reporting for us live. Thank you so much.
There is one name that you will likely be hearing more of in the coming days. Her name is Kaitlin Roig. She is the first grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and she is being hailed as a hero. She saved a number of students in her first grade classroom, she spoke exclusively with Diane Sawyer on World News tonight earlier. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLIN ROIG, FIRST GRADE TEACHER AT SANDY HOOK: You know, and in my mind, I'm thinking, you know, as a six-year-old, seven-year-old, what are your thoughts? What are your - you know, and I'm thinking that I have to almost be their parent. Like I have to tell them, you know, so I said to them, I said I need you to know that I love you all very much. And that it's going to be OK. Because I thought that was the last time they were ever going to hear. I thought we were all going to die. You know, I don't know if that's OK. You know, teachers and, you know, but I wanted them to know someone loved them and I wanted that to be one of the last things they heard, not the gunfire in the hallway. It is just so horrible. It's just so horrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Incredibly emotional story. I'm joined now by the Haskins family, Bob and his children, Julia and Bobby. Bob, I want to ask you about a friend of yours who is a basketball coach here in town, who has two children attending Sandy Hook. And one of those children was a first grader who witnessed something absolutely unbelievable. I want you to just recount for me the story if you will.
BOB HASKINS, NEWTOWN RESIDENT: Absolutely. Just spoke to him an hour or so ago. But anyway, his young son was in class, and the shooter broke into the classroom, and in front of his eyes gunned down the teacher. He was astute enough to take a couple of the students and he ran out the door, right behind the back of the shooter and ran right out of the school and continued to run for about a half a mile until he hit the main road. A stranger picked up the kids and took them to the Newtown police department. But unbeknownst to the parents, you know, when they went to talk to the state troopers, et cetera, the kids - her son was unaccounted for. So they told them to look in the woods, go door to door, talk to people and for about an hour or so, they had no idea where their son was. They called the police department a couple of times, and they had no record of him being there and finally after about an hour and a half, they called and they were relieved to find out that indeed, their son had been dropped off at the police department safe and sound.
BANFIELD: But at that time, they must have thought the worst.
HASKINS: They thought the worst. It was very, very difficult time for them. He said it was, you know, the worst hour and a half that he's ever experienced in his life.
BANFIELD: The police interviewed this first grader. I'm guessing he's six, seven years old.
HASKINS: He is six years old.
BANFIELD: Six years old?
HASKINS: He is six-year-old. They did interview him since he was there.
BANFIELD: What was he able to tell them, what kind of detail?
HASKINS: You know, they asked him obviously, you know, the interview was very elementary. But they asked him what he saw. He described the shooter, described his face, his expression. They asked him, you know, what was his recollection of the room. He said I saw a whole bunch of silver bullets, you know, on the floor of the classroom, and then when I got out into the hall, I saw a whole bunch of bullets on the floor, and they weren't silver, they were red, so, unfortunately, you know, covered with blood in the hallway. And then from that point, you know, he just, you know, ran, and sprinted right out of the school. And ...
BANFIELD: Did he give a description any further about the shooter, his face, did the shooter say anything? Did he ever look in his eye? Anything like that?
HASKINS: No, he didn't say that the shooter said anything. He described, you know, what he looked like. But it's a very elementary description because of his age.
BANFIELD: He's six years old.
HASKINS: He is six years old. His descriptive skills, unfortunately are not that acute.
BANFIELD: All right, Julia, you are - you have a different story. You're in the middle school here in town. You went into lockdown right away as soon as this happened.
JULIA HASKINS, NEWTOWN STUDENT: Yes.
BANFIELD: As soon as this happened. Did you know what was happening? I know everybody has cell phones and they might even text messaging, but did you know what was going on?
JULIA HASKINS: No, I had no clue what was going on until the first hour. We were in the lockdown. One of the my teachers told us that there had been a shooting only a mile down the road.
BANFIELD: And do you have a classmate who had a little brother at the school?
JULIA HASKINS: Yes. The boy who I was sitting right next to during the lockdown, his little brother ended up dying.
BANFIELD: How did he find that out?
JULIA HASKINS: I'm not exactly sure. I haven't talked to him yet today, but I know that during the lockdown, he didn't say anything. I didn't even know that he had a little brother at Sandy Hook School until I just found out that his brother had died.
BANFIELD: So, he hadn't been concerned at the time about finding out the fate of his little brother while he was in lockdown in your classroom?
HASKINS: It didn't seem like it, no.
BANFIELD: And Bobby, you were in another school as well. I'll just hand this up to you. You were in another school, and you also went into lockdown. What was the experience for you? What happened?
BOBBY HASKINS: Well, it was a little different. Because we were in church at the time. Our Friday school mass and Monsignor Weiss came in, and he said that we need to end mass now and we need to go to an immediate lockdown. And then what happened, it was the teachers went around, locked all the doors and we just sat in the pews and just waited and we could hear sirens for about an hour just continuously going to this ...
BANFIELD: Did you like your sister also eventually find out what was going on?
BOBBY HASKINS: Yes, we -- eventually went back to the school, and then my class was locked down in the basement, and our teachers told us that there had been a shooting and that there were fatalities, but I didn't know the seriousness of it until my dad picked me up early from school, and then on the car ride home, he told me that there had actually been quite a few fatalities?
BANFIELD: And you're OK?
BOBBY HASKINS: Yeah, we went to that vigil at 7:00, which was very emotional. But ...
BANFIELD: I mean you are awfully young to be digesting -- I mean none of us is handling this well.
BOBBY HASKINS: Yes.
BANFIELD: And you are awfully young, you and your sister.
BOBBY HASKINS: Yeah, it didn't really sink in. Like I didn't even know. I was numb up until about -- until the vigil and then I think I kind of broke down at the vigil, because it was just so sad to see everyone there and see -- they had actually 28 candles on the altar to represent all the victims.
BANFIELD: At the vigil tonight. And actually, just pass the mike to your dad. Bob, an incredible moment at the vigil, there was a letter that was read from the pope.
HASKINS: There was a letter that (inaudible) wrote -- that was written by Pope Benedict to our community specifically, which was very touching. And very meaningful. It meant a great deal to the whole community, and then on top of that, you know, what really was emotional for us, is Monsignor Weiss, he is a wonderful pastor of our church talked about in his homily, the time he spent with the 20 families today, and in particular he mentioned, you know, two little angels, you know, one of whom the mother of the victim said that she went out recently and got her first communion dress, and the daughter was very, very excited about that. And the other little angel was actually going to be playing an angel in our school play at St. Rose next week. So, it was a very poignant story and very, very emotional for us to hear and digest.
BANFIELD: How is he - how is your friend? The basketball coach whose child went through this harrowing ordeal, how is he doing?
HASKINS: I think the best way to describe it, is traumatized. I mean he is a wonderful man, a wonderful person, a wonderful family, and although he's incredibly grateful, you know, that his son is safe, his heart is certainly bleeding, you know, for the other children in the classroom, because two of his son's classmates did perish, you know, in that saga that I told you, when the gunman came in. That was the second classroom that he came in, and two of these little boys classmates, you know, were killed today.
BANFIELD: And he witnessed.
HASKINS: Yes, he witnessed it.
BANFIELD: He witnessed his own teacher being shot. Thank you very much. And our hearts go out to all of you here. The nation is in mourning with everybody here in Newtown. I hope you are all going to be OK. And hug your kids tight.
HASKINS: We will. Thank you.
BANFIELD: Thank you, Bob and Julia and Bobby Haskins. Coming up next, as the Haskins family just touched on that vigil and the very special message that came from halfway around the world. The governor was here, the senators were here. We'll give you a better feel for just exactly what it was like inside that church, later on.
BANFIELD: This is a community of 27,000 people. Newtown, Connecticut, it is quiet, it is spacious. There are halcyon areas where trees stretch for long periods before or between houses, and yet it is still a close town and people know each other and that's why they needed something, anything, to try to come together after the horrors that they were forced to endure today. The fact that so many of their children in this community will no longer be with them. They gathered at a catholic church in town called St. Rose of Lima. And our Jason Carroll is there. Jason, you were there for the vigil this evening. And it was standing room only?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Beyond that. I mean there were hundreds of people outside here, Ashleigh, who couldn't get inside. But who came out here, just as you said, that they wanted something, anything, they were leaning on each other and they leaned on their faith and that's why they came out here today, no question about it.
Spoke to a deacon here who explained it all, and he said just as you said, when you have a community this close it should come as no surprise, when you have hundreds of people who come out here, most of those people who were here at the church tonight knew someone at the school. If it wasn't a child, it was a parent, if it wasn't a parent, it was a teacher. If it wasn't a teacher, it was an administrator. And so that's why they came here today for comforting words which they've got from Monsignor Robert Weiss. Who read a letter from the pope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONSIGNOR ROBERT WEISS: I convey my heartfelt grief and the assurance of my personal prayers to the victims and their families. To all of those at the community of Newtown and especially the parish of St. Rose of Lima, in the aftermath of the senseless tragedy, I ask God our father to console all of those who mourn, and to sustain the entire community with the spiritual strength, which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope, and reconciling love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: And, Ashleigh, one of the deacons here at the church, when I spoke to him about what he was doing, he said throughout the day he had received almost 100 people who had come through church doors looking for comfort, looking for answers, many of them asking why. Why, something like this would happen, and then all of you could say is, he said, I told them that sometimes there are no answers, not right now, it's just too soon. Maybe this is something only God can answer. Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And Jason, one of the - one of the adults, one of the six adults who was killed in the school, was the school's principal named Dawn Hochsprung. Have you learned anything more about her?
CARROLL: You are hearing so much about her from so many people who are out here. 47 years old. Two daughters, three stepdaughters. She had been the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary since June 2010. And she was constantly twittering, so proud of her school. Twittering about some of the fourth graders just recently, just this week. From all accounts, Ashleigh, she was a woman who loved not only her school, but loved her students, loved her job, and when we talked about that close community, it was no surprise for us to find a man out here today, who knew her, and knew her well. And he wants you to listen to what he had to say about her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dawn, the principal at Sandy Hook, I had dinner with her last spring, she is an exciting, she was exuberant, she was just an incredible educator. And to lose somebody like that in our district, you know. It's sad, because they lost a leader today at Sandy Hook. But my prayers are going to be, for, you know, our community as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Again, as you heard him say they lost a leader here in this community, and just dealing with this loss, dealing with the pain, dealing with the suffering, this is what this community is going to be having to try to cope with from this point on. I mean for days, for weeks, months, and certainly for the parents of those children, there is no saying how long they will be dealing with their grief. Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And so distressing, Jason, to know that that principal had just this fall implemented a brand new security system where you had to get buzzed in at 9:30 in the morning, and yet this was - this was perpetrated against her school. Jason Carroll, reporting for us live from just across town from where I am. And part of the reason I am where I am right now, is that the media has been getting regular updates at this location, not only from the state police, but also from Connecticut's Governor Dan Malloy, who has come at regular intervals, not only to this location to brief us, but also he has spoken with the families, those families who were given that ultimate terrible news that they would not be reuniting with their children. And then he made another stop at the vigil that Jason just reported on. Here are some of the things that he told those who are in grief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DAN MALLOY, CONNECTICUT: Good evening, everyone. Monsignor, thank you very much for opening this very beautiful church so that we might in a communal way find solace and one another as a result of the unspeakable having occurred in this community. People's children, brothers and sisters, were taken from them. People's spouses. Those teachers and administrators, were taken from us.
Yet we stand in a church and many of us today, in the coming days, will rely upon that which we have been taught and that which we inherently believe that there is faith for a reason and that faith itself is God's gift to all of you. In these times of troubles and travails, when the unthinkable happens in our very midst, our faith is tested. Not just in the religious sense, not just necessarily our faith in God, but our faith in community, in who we are, in what we collectively offer.
And it's in so many ways, permissible to have those thoughts and those doubts about who we are and what we are and what community represents, but then we turn to understand as we turn around this room and recognize our friends and our neighbors. Those we have done things for, and those who have done things for us. This is a great and beautiful community located in a great and beautiful state in a great and beautiful nation. In the coming days and in the coming weeks, I will pray that you all embrace one another. That you lift one another up. That you understand the difficulties that you collectively will undergo. Keep in your prayers the children who lost their lives today. Keep in your prayers the adults who lost their lives today.
Understand that a test is just that. That which we rise to and answer and respond to. In the coming days as many of us prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, understand that that, too, will bring sorrow as we think about these instances that have happened so close to those days. And that too, will pass and be overcome. And all of our prayers and the prayers and hopes of all of the public officials who have assembled here today and in the presence of your great select person, I bring and extend the condolences of the entirety of this state to you, the members of this community. May God bless you. May God bless our children who are with us today and those who were taken away. And may God bless the adults who lost their lives today. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: I wanted to share with you one of the more poignant stories that I learned today from a nurse named Maureen. She wanted to volunteer. When she heard what was going on at the school, she and another nurse raced to the school to help and found themselves surprised that there was nothing for them to do. Sadly, they began to understand that there were no more survivors coming out of the school. And so they made their way to the fire station, which was a staging area for patients to be reunited with their kids, and, of course, it was a staging area where a lot of parents wouldn't be reunited with their children either.
The sad story that she told me was the moment that, unfortunately, the authorities had to tell these parents that there were no more survivors.
Another witness, who was in the area said that the cries and the wails were overwhelming, that it was one of the more difficult things to have to undergo.
There were two priests who were on the scene as well, at least two grief counselor there to try to handle what was going to happen with these approximately 50 people. You think about it, there were 20 kids, and they all had parents, so roughly 50 people had to endure that terrible moment when they were told they would likely never see their children again.
Coming up, a woman who works at a daycare here in town tells us that many of her daycare students had graduated to become students at Sandy Hook elementary. She's going to talk to us in a moment.
BANFIELD: We're live in Newtown, Connecticut, tonight, in a story that overwhelmed many people as it began to unfold today. It began as a story we've often covered before, shots may have rung out at a school. But as details rolled in and as the magnitude of this horror unfolded, it was astounding, the sheer numbers that were involved.
Here is how the day played out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are following this report that there has been a shooting at an elementary school, an elementary school named Sandy Hook.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The intercom came on at the school, and she heard a scream, and she heard a gunshot. Two gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our off-duty troopers responded to the school, and Newtown police, immediately upon arrival, entered the school and began a complete active shooter search of the building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had to hide in the closet, and they were quiet, and the children obviously were very shaken, they were crying in the closet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw some of the boys (ph) going past the hall, then a teacher pulled me into her classroom. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police came in. It's like is he in here? Then he ran out, and our teacher, and somebody yelled get to a safe place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just heard the principal was shot and killed. I heard -- I heard some kids were shot. A teacher, Mrs. Hammonds, was shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were 18 children that were pronounced dead at the school. There were two that were transported to area hospitals who were pronounced dead at area hospitals, and there were six adults pronounced dead at the scene at the school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just told a little boy about his sister now, and it's just so hard. He said, "Who am I going to play with," he said, "I have nobody to play with now." So -- but -- excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The perpetrator of the crime is dead. As is an individual who the perpetrator lived with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam Lanza's older brother, Ryan Lanza, being taken into custody today in Hoboken. The 24-year-old Ryan Lanza is not charged with anything. At this point, he is being questioned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a related scene that we discovered as we were continuing our criminal investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask God our Father to console all those who mourn and to sustain the entire community with the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope, and reconciling love.
BANFIELD: This was the second deadliest school shooting in American history. 20 young children lost their lives, ages 5 to 10. And while the rest of their classmates were robbed of their innocence after witnessing this tragedy, these parents will forever be mourning.
I want to introduce to you to Michelle Bepko. She used to work at a daycare center and watched many of those children who were inside that elementary school at the time of the shooting. How did you find out, Michelle, what was happening today?
MICHELLE BEPKO, KNOWS STUDENTS WHO ATTENDED NEWTOWN SCHOOL: Earlier this afternoon, I contacted a family that I've kept in touch with for many years and asked if his girls were OK. And he said that they were home safe and sound, but to pray for the ones that were very unfortunate.
BANFIELD: And do you know if any of the kids who attended your daycare were ultimately victims in this rampage?
BEPKO: All of them as of right now are at home safe and sound with their families. BANFIELD: It must have been an enormous relief.
BEPKO: It was. To hear that all those kids that I have kept in touch with for all these years were home, yes.
BANFIELD: Have you had a chance to talk to any of their parents or find out how they are doing?
BEPKO: I did. They are just, like I said, very fortunate, that they are home, and, you know, to pray for the ones that were not so fortunate in the shooting earlier today. But they are very, very happy that their little ones are home safe and sound.
BANFIELD: And you work at this daycare, I think it's called the Little Explorers daycare.
BANFIELD: Are you closed? Are you going to be able to keep working on Monday? Is anything changing in terms of your security measures? How is this going to affect you as you go forward looking after your little ones?
BEPKO: I worked there several years ago, but it is up and running as of today.
BANFIELD: It is. It is running?
BEPKO: It is.
BANFIELD: You also have a friend who is a teacher at the school.
BEPKO: Yes. I found out that she was injured earlier today, and last time I spoke to the family that keeps in touch with her, she was still in the hospital.
BANFIELD: And how was she injured?
BEPKO: She was shot in the foot.
BANFIELD: And do you know if she was in that meeting whereby the principal and the school psychologist were shot dead? There was a report that three of these teachers in the meeting had emerged into the hallway when the gunshots rang out, and only one came back and was injured in the foot or the leg. And I'm trying to put together whether it might have been your friend?
BEPKO: It might have been the same person, but I'm uncertain of that. But I know that she was shot in the foot.
BANFIELD: How are you processing this? How are you doing?
BEPKO: It's hard to handle, seeing that I had all these kids since they were three. I still keep in touch with the families, and just very thankful that they are home on this holiday with their parents, but still praying for the ones that were injured. BANFIELD: And Newtown is such a beautiful and quiet community. Everyone who goes through a tragedy says it would never occur that it would happen there. And it certainly just doesn't occur that it would happen here.
BEPKO: It can happen anywhere. I know it's small, and it's quaint, and it's quiet, but it's unfortunate that it did happen.
BANFIELD: You and your neighbors going to be OK?
BEPKO: Yes, I'm home with my parents. We're going to be OK.
BANFIELD: Michelle Bepko, joining us live. Thank you for talking with us. Good luck to you as well.
BEPKO: Thank you.
BANFIELD: Thanks very much.
I want to go back to my colleague, Drew Griffin, because there were a number of weapons that were recovered at the school. Now, all of them, all three were owned by the shooter's mother. They were registered. Connecticut already has some of the toughest gun laws on the books in this nation. And now there are calls for even stricter gun control. And our Drew Griffin has them looking into that part of the story as well. Drew, what can you tell me?
GRIFFIN: Well, I can tell you that we know these guns were legally owned because of Connecticut's very strict gun control laws. And let me just tell you what they are, Ashleigh. The two handguns in the state of Connecticut would require a certificate of possession. A five-year license, as it is, to obtain and own that weapon. It also comes with the requirement you go through a training course, a handgun safety course.
As for that assault rifle, if that is indeed an operating semi assault rifle, that gun is banned in Connecticut. However, if the gun was purchased and in the possession of the mother prior to October of 1993, that gun would have been grandfathered into her possession, although that would have to be registered to her with the state as well. So there are very strict gun laws in the state of Connecticut. And yes, these guns were all legally owned.
BANFIELD: And, Drew, the shooter in this case, Adam Lanza, he had no criminal record, no one can find anything that he has done wrong. Would that have factored into whether he would have greater access to certain guns in the state?
GRIFFIN: Being 20 years old, there is no way legally he could have purchased a handgun, certificate or not. He was too young. He could not have purchased that assault rifle because it's banned, you can't buy them or obtain them or possess them in the state of Connecticut unless you have that grandfather clause for a gun in the past. So legally speaking, he could not have owned these guns. So I think we're going to turn to the fact that they were in the mother's home, obviously accessible, and how were they stored? Did the mom know he was using the guns, training with the guns? We're going to look at those type of issues. But as for the Connecticut gun laws, Ashleigh, just to say that this kid could have gone out and bought these guns? The answer is, legally, no.
BANFIELD: And again, a Glock and a Sig Sauer were found on his person in the school after he apparently killed himself, and then a Bushmaster .223 was found in the vehicle that he had apparently left erratically parked out in front of the school. All right, Drew Griffin, thank you for looking into that. Appreciate that. Drew Griffin reporting live for us.
I want to just walk you through how this played out, because this particular school, while not a very large school, it is somewhat spread out. Sandy Hook elementary has a bit of a square formation, and the shooter definitely took a certain path through the school. But as they said, the officials who spoke with us, he wasn't running through the halls and shooting. He was very specific about where he targeted. Have a look at how Tom Foreman lays this out for us.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At 9:30 this morning, it was a normal start to the day out here. About 600 students in the class here, about 50 faculty members. We don't really have a complete read yet on the layout of the school or the timeline, but we're going to try and piece it together all day long just as investigators have. And we have some idea.
So the day was getting under way, had been under way for about 30 minutes. There was a meeting happening up here involving the principal, the vice principal, a school psychologist, and several other adults in this area. Then around 9:40, as best we can tell from witnesses, just ten minutes later, it would appear that's when the gunman enters the building.
How did he do it? Jason Carroll just mentioned a minute ago the new security system right up here. We're not sure how he got past that or if it had been locked up at that point. We know the police looked very hard all day at a car parked here in the fire lane. It's still there surrounded by tape as best I can tell. The suggestion would be from this and from witnesses that in fact, somehow the gunman did come right through the front door here, into the school. And almost immediately, people throughout this building reported hearing gunfire.
9:41, that's when the calls started coming in to 911. The principal, the vice principal, and the school psychologist, according - they were in this meeting - according to witnesses, went out into the hall and went toward that gunfire to see what was happening. There was shouting, many shouts and shots. And the vice principal came back into the meeting room wounded, but the other two did not.
Authorities say all of the shooting happened really in a relatively short period of time, and they say the gunman did not roam around, but generally stayed in just two rooms and a hallway right up in here -- that's, in fact, where they ultimately found him. 9:45, teachers were trying to protect students all throughout the school. Some students who were near the gymnasium say they were told to hide in some closets. Some other students in other parts of the building say they were led outside to flee. It's not really clear if that happened with the teachers or later with them being helped out by some sort of law enforcement officials. But nonetheless, we know there was a real effort throughout the school to get all of these kids into some sort of safety.
This picture, by the way, from the "Newtown Bee." And there were all these teachers trying to do something about it, and they didn't really know what was going on.
It's also unclear, at what point in this process that the gunman died. Law officials say no officers fired a weapon, but they did find him dead in one of the rooms there. The suggestion being probably that he killed himself, but we'll get more details of that as we go on.
This is what we do know. When law enforcement agents arrived at the school, they immediately set up a perimeter around it. It was state and local police. And officers spread throughout the building. They say they entered immediately to secure rooms, to find students, and to make sure if a gunman was still active in there, that they got him under control or kill him if they had to. Then they quickly started leading students away from the school, trying to get them out of safety.
This was just a horrendous, horrendous event, as you know. Very difficult even for the officers who were involved, because they had to, as you said, tell many of these children, avert your eyes, close your eyes, because they knew they were going to lead them right past many of the victims.
BANFIELD: Oh, Tom Foreman, such a difficult detail to listen to, that the children had to avert their eyes as they escaped the school. You know, it is not often that the president of the United States sheds a tear in public, and today it happened. You'll see the president's moving tribute to the victims, after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This evening Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut that cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In our days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: For much of the day, there was so much confusion about who the shooter who perpetrated this terrible act here in Newtown, Connecticut, was. There was confusion, because he was using I.D. that didn't belong to him. It belonged to his brother. A brother who is in Hoboken, Connecticut. And that confusion led police right to that brother's front door. He's been arrested now as well. And John Berman has the details of how that played out.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, this street where I'm standing right now has been the sight of a huge amount of activity today, and really a high number of questions. Behind me is the apartment building where lives the brother of the shooting suspect, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza. He was led to a car in handcuffs by law enforcement officials earlier today, taken into custody for questioning.
Also questioned, according to sources telling CNN, two roommates of the brother who lives here. They are believed to have no connection at all to the suspect.
This building behind me, it's a five-story building with two- and three-bedroom apartments. On this street earlier today were Hoboken City police, Jersey City police, there were bomb squad representatives, although they didn't go into the apartment building. Also the FBI had a presence here. The FBI did remove materials from this apartment, including, we believe, some kind of computer.
There are questions about why the brother was taken into custody at all, especially in handcuffs. One police officer on the scene here did tell me that there apparently was some kind of confusion, that the brother's I.D. may have been found on the shooter's body up in Connecticut. Again, that was just one police officer who told me that. We're not currently sure at this time if Ryan Lanza is still in custody. But again, he is the brother of the apparent shooting suspect who is dead and also apparently the son of a woman who was killed today. Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: John Berman reporting for us from Hoboken, Connecticut. And just to add to that, the Lanza's father was also questioned by police. They are not suspects, but they have been extensively questioned for any kind of information they can lend to this.
I mentioned before, it's not often you see a president in tears, but it wasn't but a few hours. This news hit the president's desk pretty quickly. And he took to the airwaves to offer his comfort and his support to the families of the victims here in Newtown, Connecticut. Here is a look at the address that he made earlier today.
OBAMA: This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families. We have endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a parent, and that was especially true today.
I know there is not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them -- Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today. For the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.
Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well. For as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter. And we'll tell them that we love them. And we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now. And in our days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help. Because while nothing can fill the space of the lost child or a loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours.
May God bless the memory of the victims. And in the words of scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.
BANFIELD: We are indeed a nation in mourning tonight, and it is known across the world what happened in America, in Newtown, Connecticut. There has been reaction from world leaders who have written, who have made statements about this tragedy, and then there is the reaction from people, people from all corners of the world, who now have social media to let us know, to let their friends know, to let everyone know how they feel about what's happened. Josh Levs now with all the reaction on Twitter. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People all over the world are expressing their sorrow and their horror at what has happened. And this is now part of the story, the global action. And in this era where you see that is on social media especially.
Let's take a look at some of the tweets that are getting a lot of attention. One right here is from Mayor Mike Bloomberg in New York. He says, "My deepest sympathies are with families affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever."
Let's jump over here across the pond to David Cameron, prime minister of Britain. "My thoughts are with those who have been devastated by the Connecticut shootings. The death of so many children is truly heartbreaking," he says.
Now, this one is getting a lot of attention and is very interesting. Deepak Chopra, a man who's often been on CNN, very widely admired, says that he's now observing silence on Twitter and Facebook for a period in remembrance of those that have been killed. It's an interesting idea. We'll see if that catches on.
We're talking to you on Twitter and across all platforms. Here is a tweet that I got, this one says, "The real tragedy is that we keep letting this kind of thing happen over and over and over again." And one more that was sent to me here, "hold your children tight and thank the Lord for them." Absolutely. I am doing that. And I know many of you are as well.
The Facebook page for the school is getting a pretty good amount of attention as well. People posting messages there. And we have an assignment, an I-report for you to express your condolences, your thoughts for the victims and for the community.
BANFIELD: Josh Levs, reporting for us live on the Twitter reaction.
As we leave you tonight, there is a very large project that lies ahead for the investigators, for the police, for the responders here. This was such a massive crime scene that the processing of it alone is going to take at least throughout the night, which means that those parents who were not reunited with their children, they know that those children's bodies are still in the school tonight. Those teachers, those adults who were also shot, the six of them, their bodies are also in the school tonight. Positive identifications have to be done. The coroner's office has a huge task. The investigation of the shots, over 100 rounds by one estimation. There is a massive forensic project that is under way, while at the same time, there is a massive emotional project for this community in Newtown, Connecticut, to somehow heal as we head into the holidays across this country.
I'm Ashleigh Banfield reporting. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.