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WEEKEND EARLY START
A Memorial for Victims; Elementary School Shooting; School Shooting Gunman Identified; The Victims of the Shooting; How to Survive A Mass Shooting
Aired December 15, 2012 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I'd like to say it's a good morning, but it is a very sad morning here in Newtown, Pennsylvania. It's Saturday, December the 15th. I'm Ali Velshi. And you are watching CNN's special coverage of the Connecticut school shooting live, as I say, from Newtown, Pennsylvania. It is one of the deadliest shooting rampages in U.S. history.
All morning, we will bring you the updates on the victims and the investigation. We now know the name of the Newtown shooter. We'll dig in on what was behind his monstrous act. And a second crime scene tied to the first. What investigators found when they went to the suspected gunman's house.
I'm here in Treadwell Park in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Behind me some distance is the school at which this tragic shooting took place. We have this story covered from all angles. I want to bring in my colleague, John Berman. He is here in Newtown, in the town square.
John, bring us up to speed on what we've seen since yesterday evening.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Ali.
I'm standing in front of the St. Rose of Lima Church where last night there was a vigil, an emotional vigil, with about 1,000 people here. Residents poured in for a memorial for the 26 victims of this tragic attack. Of course, 20 children were killed, six adults, all at the elementary school.
And we're learning more about the shooter, which we're going to get into in a moment. But first, let's focus right now on the victims and what happened at that school, and here in this community.
The community gathered to say their prayers and give thanks for the survivors. They also said good-bye to the victims. All of them trying to come to grips with this horrible, horrible tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DAN MALLOY, CONNECTICUT: People's children and 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 us. In these times of troubles and travail, 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, and who we are and what we collectively are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Officials here in Newtown are expected to begin releasing the names of the victims about two hours from now. There's a news conference scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Then we will have the names, really, to put in our prayers.
We want to think, though, for a moment right now about the parents of the victims and what they're going through this morning. It is almost unimaginable. The bodies of those children remain inside the school this morning, still in place where they were shot. Police say, of course, it's still an active crime scene, so the bodies of the children, the adults, and the shooter, they're not being moved at all right now.
We want to go back for a few minutes to see how this tragedy unfolded. To piece together how it went down. And here's a small part of the radio transmissions between the police as they got word of this shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DISPATCHER (voice-over): Six-seven Sandy Hook School. Caller is indicating she thinks that someone's shooting in the building. The front glass has been broken out of the school. They're 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. (INAUDIBLE) at this time. The school is in lockdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: What they found at the school was a horrifying scene. There have been grief counselors on-site, not just for the families, but also to speak to the first responders who say it's some of the worst visions, the worst sights they've seen in their long, long careers.
Anderson Cooper right now takes us through this tragedy.
DISPATCHER (voice-over): All units, the individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first word was chilling. It only got worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they are reporting multiple fatalities involved in this shooting at the elementary school.
COOPER: With each new report, the horror deepened.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Reports say the number of dead closer to 30 than to 20 and, sadly, most of them are children.
COOPER: Every detail, every fact brought more sadness. Each fresh piece of information, a part of the picture, a school, kindergarten through fourth grade, a sanctuary that was supposed to be a place of safety, torn apart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She heard like the intercom came on the school and she heard a scream and she heard a gunshot or -- two gunshots. And then the school went into lockdown.
COOPER: A student's teenage big brother describing the sounds of a gunman on the loose at Sandy Hook Elementary.
LT. J. PAUL VANCE, CONNECTICUT STATE POLICE: On and off duty troopers responded to the school and with Newtown Police, immediately upon arrival, entered the school and began a complete active shooter search of the building.
COOPER: They arrived to carnage. The killer, says a law enforcement source with detailed knowledge, was dressed for battle in black fatigues and armed for mass murder with two pistols and a military- style rifle.
In parts of the school, students were told to hide in corners. Teachers risked their own lives to pull boys and girls to safety.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just so grateful to the teacher who saved them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Thank -- the teacher -- you think the teacher saved his life?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She definitely did. He had bullets going by him and she grabbed him and another child and pulled him into a classroom.
COOPER: Eventually, the kids were evacuated to a nearby fire house, where frantic parents descended.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was terrifying. It's -- I'm still terrified. I think I'm still in shock about it all. I still don't know everything that happened. I know that there are some people missing. That they've been taken to the hospital.
COOPER: His son was OK. His son's teacher was alive, as well. Twenty other children and six adults were killed. The dead believe to include Sandy Hook school psychologist and the principal.
Police discovered another adult victim, the gunman's mother, reportedly at home in Newtown. The gunman, too, is dead. Police say they fired no shots. A tight knit community, including a nurse who lived nearby and rushed to help, shocked, distraught.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I see you've been crying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it because what you saw?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the cops said it, you know, the worst thing he'd ever seen in his entire career. But it was when they told the parents. All these parents were waiting for their children to come out. They thought that they were, you know, still alive. There's 20 parents that were just told that their children are dead. It was awful.
COOPER: Awful. And late today, speaking for the nation, but also as a father, an emotional President Obama fought back tears.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
BERMAN: You saw it in the president's face. You heard it in his voice. I simply can't think of an event in recent memory that touched so many people, seemed to affect them so directly right in their hearts, right in their souls.
For more information about how you can help those people directly affected here by the shooting in Newtown, go to cnn.com/impactall.
I want to go now back to Ali Velshi, who's just down the street here in Newtown -- Ali.
VELSHI: Yes, you know, John, you see those parents so emotionally distraught and so much of the community like that and elsewhere in the community there's just this feeling about how stunned everybody is. When you travel around this town, as I did last night, John, as you saw, it is a -- it's a bit of a sleepy little place. It's a very quiet place. In the last 10 years, I understand, there's been one homicide here.
We are now learning a little bit more about the man who police say was the shooter. He is 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Last night, our Piers Morgan got some insight on Lanza from a former classmate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX ISRAEL, FMR. CLASSMATE OF ADAM LANZA: He was really quiet. He kept to himself. I mean he was a little fidgety, a little uneasy sometimes if you were just to look at him. I think he was just socially not really into going out there and making as many friends as everyone was really doing in elementary school and middle school. He was just -- he preferred to stay to himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Adam Lanza's body was found in the school. His mother's body was found at the home that they shared about two and a half miles from here. That is where our Mary Snow is standing by this morning.
Mary, the area that you are in, it's big houses, it's a prosperous area, a quiet area. There aren't even street lights around you. The only lights you've got are the ones that are provided by our lights. This is not something that area's used to. What do we know now about the area and about Adam Lanza?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ali, we -- it's believed that he did live with his mother, and that house is behind me on this quiet road, which is now closed off by police. And, of course, as you said, people are just absolutely stunned by this.
In terms of what we know about him. Disturbed is one word a neighbor used to describe him. Others described him as different, socially awkward, and quiet. But one woman who came by yesterday, she's a former school bus driver, and he was on her route. She said, you know, he was a quiet kid but she never saw anything dangerous, you know, about him.
And a number of people we talked to in this area, even though it is a very close, tight-knit community, it's physically very large. And the houses are pretty separate from each other at a good distance. And many people really were not familiar with the family. But it's really kind of a mixed picture. But one word that we did here often was, you know, very quiet and different.
VELSHI: Mary, let's understand about the handguns. There were two handguns used in the attack. There was a semiautomatic weapon that was found in a car nearby. What do we know about how Adam Lanza got his hands on those guns?
SNOW: Well, our own Susan Candiotti has been reporting that those handguns were legally purchased and they were purchased and registered to Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza. And that's what we know about those guns.
VELSHI: It's strict gun laws in Connecticut. They have to be registered. They've got a gun registry in this state, which is why the authorities, I think, were able to trace that back so quickly to being guns that were sold to his mother.
Mary, thank you. We'll come back to you. Mary Snow is outside the location where Nancy Lanza lived with her son Adam Lanza.
Over the next days and weeks, we're going to hear a lot about the gunman and theories about -- theories and explanations about how something this horrible could have actually happened. But until then, now is the time to remember the victims and the survivors of the day that stole the innocence from hundreds and hundreds of people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. PAUL VANCE, CONNECTICUT STATE POLICE (voice-over): This is a very, very tragic, tragic scene for everybody. Certainly our hearts are broken for the families here. JANET VOLMER, TEACHER, SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (voice-over): Well, you know, about 9:30, 9:40, we heard noises. And the announcement system was still on, so it didn't go off. So you could hear what sounded like pops, gunshots.
DENISE CORREIA, PARENT: Her teacher managed to take two children out of the hallway, pull them into the classroom, lock the door, and move everybody over to the other side of the room.
FATHER GEORGE WEISS, ST. ROSE OF LIMA PARISH: And we just told a little boy about his sister now. And just as he -- hard -- you know, like, who am I going to play with, he said? I have nobody to play with now. So -- excuse me.
AIMEE SEAVER, PARENT: When your first grader goes to bed and says, mommy, is anyone from my class last year, are they all OK? Are they all OK? And you look at them and say, I'm not really sure.
GOV. DAN MALLOY, CONNECTICUT: You can never be prepared for this kind of incident. What has happened, what has transpired at that school building will leave a mark on this community and every family impacted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: May God bless the memory of the victims. And in the words of scripture, heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Bind up their wounds. Welcome back to Newtown, Connecticut, everyone. Good morning. We would like to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN's special coverage of the Connecticut school shooting. I'm John Berman. I'm standing in front of the St. Rose of Lima catholic church where last night there was a large ceremony to mourn the victims lost.
We're awaiting a news conference here at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time in Connecticut, where authorities are expected to release the names of the children and the adults killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. There were 26 people killed there, 20 children, six adults. The mother of the victim also found dead at a separate location.
I want to check in now with Nick Valencia in the CNN news room, who will have his eye on the victims all morning, gathering information about these 26 victims. One of them, the school principal.
Nick, what do we know about her?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. As you mentioned, I'm here at the CNN Center in Atlanta, where we're working on gathering the latest information on the victims of this horrible tragedy, the Connecticut school shooting.
As you mentioned, 47-year-old principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47-year-old there, described as the kind of person that you would want educating your kids, John. She was a very involved educator with memorable enthusiasm, according to those that knew her.
She spent her entire career rising through the ranks of the Connecticut school system, teaching in small communities where she was a fixture in schools before coming to Sandy Hook. She taught in local elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.
Those who remember her say she created an environment, John, that made people feel accepted and important. Not only was she an educator, John, she was also a mother and she leaves behind two daughters and three stepdaughters. And as we mentioned, she was just 47 years old -- John.
BERMAN: We heard so many of the parents in this community, so many of the surviving children talk about what an amazing leader she was inside this school community. And one of the most interesting things, she'd been dealing with the issue of school security lately, taking some new measures at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Nick, what were they?
VALENCIA: Well, earlier this year, John, she oversaw the installation of a new security project there at Sandy Hook School. They took security very seriously there. And this new program that they installed, it made visitors that showed up at the front entrance have to ring the bell, ring the buzzer in order to get into the school. The school doors locked at about 9:30 in the morning. We're still trying to piece together the details of how this suspected shooter got into Sandy Hook Elementary School. Those details are still very vague.
But as you mentioned, John, in just a couple of hours, at about 8:00 a.m. Eastern, local authorities will be holding a press conference to give us more information on the victims. The story really is about the victims of this senseless tragedy in Connecticut. We'll bring you more details about the victims and hopefully more information as it unfolds there out of Connecticut in Newtown, Connecticut -- John.
BERMAN: Thank you so much, Nick Valencia. As you said, it is about the victims. Twenty-six people killed in all at this school Twenty kids, ages five to 10, six grownups. So may futures ahead of them that now we'll never be realized.
I want to go now back to Ali Velshi, who is near the Sandy Hook Elementary School right here in Newtown.
VELSHI: John, you know, as I said, we are at a field, a football field, which authorities set up around here so that the media could gather. There's -- obviously there's media here from all over the northeast, all over the United States, and, in fact, from other countries. Last night I saw some people here from a Russian television station. We've got some Canadians near us.
The school is in a -- this is a tight little town, John, as you know. It doesn't have space for everybody who is converging on it. The school is actually behind us some distance. Where Adam Lanza lived was about two and a half miles away. And this is a little town that just could not have imagined the horror that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School here in Newtown, Connecticut.
So, what can you do to keep your children safe if you are ever, ever in this kind of situation? CNN's Brian Todd talked to a school security chief.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A nightmare scenario for any school security official, but Michael Blow has some ideas on how to avoid mass casualties if a gunman's inside your school.
TODD (on camera): How do you respond if there are kids all around?
MICHAEL BLOW, SECURITY CHIEF, PRINCE GEORGE'S CO. SCHOOLS: Well, I think that that's where the training comes in.
TODD (voice-over): Blow is head of security for Prince Georges County Public Schools in Maryland. A former deputy police chief who once had to lock down a school. He took us through an elementary school that officials didn't want us to name, showed us what to do if that nightmare unfolds.
TODD (on camera): Exits are obviously key, right?
BLOW: Yes. Yes, they are.
TODD: You've got to find the nearest one.
BLOW: Absolutely. Absolutely.
And it's important to be familiar with the building. That's why, again, we encourage just little things. Just a building familiarization. Just walking the outside of the building so you know if you leave this particular door, if it comes to a creek or a parking lot or a busy intersection.
TODD (voice-over): Adults and students, he says, have to have that exit awareness. But if you're stuck inside --
TODD (on camera): Michael Blow says while bathrooms may be a tempting place to hide at first, not a good idea. As you can see, a very confined space and usually no way out.
TODD (voice-over): Courtyards, he says, are equally tempting but also not the best places because they're often enclosed. TODD (on camera): Michael, if this is a classroom, there's a gunman out there, we've heard shots, we don't know where he is, what do we do? Do we lock, turn lights off, close windows?
BLOW: Well, certainly there are a host of things that we would do in an emergency that would include locking doors to make sure that we are able to fortify that entrance way as best as we can. Again, if there are no safe alternatives for evacuating the building and that way if someone was to walk by the room that they wouldn't have an easy sight picture of anyone that is in the room.
TODD (voice-over): Adults in the room, he says, should talk the kids through it as calmly as possible.
TODD (on camera): What about large rooms like gyms?
BLOW: Well, again --
TODD: Would you go in, avoid it?
BLOW: Well, again, there's not a lot of places to conceal yourselves, as you see there. But there's a way to get to the other side of the building.
TODD (voice-over): Blow didn't want to give away too many preemptive school measures, but says at schools in his county, they sometimes use wanding devices to screen students. But he says some of the best screening is awareness of who's troubled, who's being bullied, having that radar up for potential assailants.
Brian Todd, CNN, Prince George's County, Maryland.
VELSHI: Now, of course, we know that despite any school's best efforts, if someone is determined to cause harm, they will find a way. And, sadly, that's exactly what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
John, a couple of interesting things. Our David Ariosto was here yesterday afternoon and he went to the fire house, which is where a lot of parents went. It was a rendezvous point to meet up with their kids. And he saw them going in, expecting to come out with their kids. And, in many cases, parents came out with their kids. And he said the reaction on their faces was of such relief but strain and stress. And then there were those parents who went there expecting to find their kids and they left without them. They still haven't seen their kids. The bodies were still being processed last night. Police wanted to get tentative identifications on all of those bodies before they were able to release that information to their parents. And, of course, we will hear about that this morning probably within the next couple of hours. Police are expecting to update us at about 8:00 Eastern Time.
John, the other thing let's talk about, you were in Hoboken, New Jersey, last night, which, for a while, was treated as the site -- the scene of a crime. Tell us what was going on in Hoboken. BERMAN: You know, Ali, it was so interesting, for so much of yesterday, Hoboken, the street where I was standing was just abuzz with activity. Hoboken City Police, Jersey City Police, there were bomb squad representatives and the FBI. The reason was is they were going into the apartment of Ryan Lanza who is the brother of the shooter, the suspected shooter, Adam Lanza. Apparently Adam had his brother's I.D. on him when he went into the school and conducted the shooting.
So authorities went right to Ryan's apartment in Hoboken. They took him into custody briefly for questioning. Also questioned some friends who may have lived with him there. It was just a confusing situation. They removed some materials from that apartment, trying to piece together exactly what happened. As the night wore on, the police presence became less and less, I think, as they gathered more information and realized that may not have been the center of their interests, shall we say, going forward.
I'm standing in front of, Ali, also, I should mention, the St. Rose Church of Lima, where last night there was that candle light vigil. You walk inside the church here and there are two poster boards where people have already posted dozens and dozens of notes of grief and really solidarity with the people in this community who are all grieving. Many people actually have come from out of town to post notes there.
And we spoke to the priest briefly also. And they're planning, obviously, days and days of assistance so that everyone in this community can come together after these just -- this awful, awful day. You know, and after such a tragic and emotional nightmare for this community, you know, you can understand that they have a lot to discuss and a lot to grieve and they probably want to do it together -- Ali.
VELSHI: Well, one parent that we spoke to was just thankful, John, for what those teachers who were able to, you know, as Brian Todd, who were able to offer those kids comfort and offer them some protection. One parent was really, really grateful about what a teacher had done for her son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just so grateful to the teacher who saved him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Thank -- the teacher -- you think the teacher saved his life?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She definitely did. He had bullets going by him and she grabbed him and another child and pulled them into a classroom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Half past the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Berman in Newtown, Connecticut. You're watching CNN's special coverage of the Connecticut school shooting.
We are live this morning in Newtown where yesterday there was so much tragedy. In just about 60 minutes, we expect to start learning the identities of many of the victims here in Newtown. Meanwhile, the community still searching for answers just like the police.
Just like all of us, they're all looking for the answers to the question why. Why did this happen? Why did someone attack an elementary school killing 26 people, 20 of them children ages five to ten years old?
Last night, the community gathered to pay their respects. Many of them right here behind me at this church, and to console one another. They also said good-bye to the victims, the 20 children, six adults killed at the shooting, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here's just a small piece of the radio traffic between first responders as the details of the shooting really started to come in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medics, you're requested to stage - (inaudible). I will need two ambulances at this time.
Just received a call. We have one female in room one who has received a gunshot wound to the foot.
I need units in the pool. I've got bodies here. Be advised, we do have multiple weapons, including one rifle and shotguns.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) require backup, ambulances and they said call for everything.
DISPATCHER: What is the number of ambulances you will require.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't know, they are not giving us a number.
DISPATCHER: Fire rescue 444 respond, 12 Dickenson Drive Sandy Hook School.
2-1-12 respond, 12 Dickenson Drive Sandy Hook School. Medical emergencies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have multiple ambulance personnel coming inbound. Can we create that staging area and command area within the part - (inaudible) Sandy Hook School parking area?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: They found a chilling scene, a horrific scene, the scene, the likes of which the first responders all say they have never seen before. Newtown is just about 60 miles from New York City. It's a safe community. Before this, they only had one reported homicide in the past ten years. But now, Newtown will be synonymous with towns like Columbine, with Blacksburg, like so many of the towns where we've seen so many - so many of these tragedies. I want to bring in Mary Snow right now. And Mary, right now law enforcement sources say the shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza, they also say he - they found his mother's body at the home that they shared together. You are outside that home right now. What more can you tell us about this investigation?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I can tell you that the police still have blocked off the road leading to the Lanza home. And yesterday SWAT teams had descended on this area for several hours.
And as you mentioned, Adam Lanza's mother's body was found at the home. And investigators had been asking neighbors, trying to piece together as much information as they could about this family.
And what we have been hearing from former classmates is that Adam Lanza was described as a student who was very bright, very quiet, some of the descriptions about him were socially awkward.
Yesterday, there was a woman who said that she was a former bus driver and knew him when he was younger and she said that there was nothing about him that really stood out. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARSHA MOSKOWITZ, FMR. 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 can't understand what happened that he -- that he snapped what have you and they took such innocent lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: And some of the neighbors who knew him in recent years, some described him as being different. One neighbor used the word troubled to describe him, but wouldn't really elaborate on that. John?
BERMAN: Mary, three guns, we understand, at the scene. Two handguns, a Sig Sauer, a Glock. Also, a rifle apparently found in the car, a Bushmaster. Do we have any sense where the shooter got these weapons?
SNOW: Yes, and very strict laws here in Connecticut. And what we have learned from our own Susan Candiotti's reporting is that these guns were legally purchased and purchased in the name of Nancy Lanza, the suspect's mother.
BERMAN: Did Nancy Lanza - Nancy Lanza for much of the day yesterday, people have been reporting Nancy Lanza worked at the school. There appear to be some questions about that. What more have you learned about her profession, her lifestyle, anything from her neighbors who may know her?
SNOW: Yes, and you know, John, as you said, this is such a tight-knit community and so many of the people here have sent their children to Sandy Hook Elementary School. And we could find no one who could have - could place her at the school or say that there was a definitive link. We did meet one neighbor who had known her in the past, describing her as a good mother. She was -- her belief that she was a stay-at-home mom and was unaware of any jobs that she held. So it's really unclear about, you know, her profession or if there was any link to the school.
BERMAN: Mary Snow, thank you so much. You've been here since early yesterday working on this story. It's hard for everyone involved. Thanks, Mary. Ali?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Mary was at that church you're at now. One of the several vigils that took place around here. It's such a small town. And yet there are so many points of concentration around here. In fact, as you played that tape of the communication between first responders yesterday, you talked about them, they talked about a staging area.
But one of the things they did early because this is a small town with small streets, narrow streets that can't accommodate the influx of media that have come in to cover it. They put us all at a park, Treadwell Park, it's football field -- soccer field in front of me right now.
There is - the school is behind us and this is a space where everybody's converged. Just beside me in about an hour, they'll be holding the news conferences. They were holding the news conferences elsewhere today and they decided that this is where everybody is and this is where they're going to start letting everybody know what's going on.
What we are expecting at 8:00 Eastern is the release of some names. We have been reporting that it is Adam Lanza, the shooter, the 20-year old Adam Lanza, but the police have not offered that identification just yet. They want positive identifications on the shooter and the victims. So they'll be bringing that to us. We expect at 8:00 or some time thereafter. Remember, there were 18 children shot in the school, six adults, two of the children died at hospital. One person remains wounded and in the hospital.
It's now been just over 21 hours since this unimaginable nightmare happened here in Newtown. It all started when a gunman apparently entered through the doors of Sandy Hook Elementary School. CNN's Tom Foreman walks us through what happened minute by minute.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what we know at this point about the time line of the shooting as reported by law enforcement officials and witnesses. And the layout of the school as best we can piece it all together. 9:30 in the morning, classes have been underway for about half an hour.
More than 600 students and about 50 faculty members are inside the building. In addition to that, there is a meeting that's just been convened by some of the school officials, including the principal - in a room somewhere right up here, about seven of them all gathered in one room.
About 9:40, ten minutes later as best we can make it out again, that's when the gunman appears to have entered the building. How? We don't know, they had a new security system right up here, that might have kept him out. Not sure what happened with that.
Police spent a lot of time looking at a car parked right out here in the fire lane suggesting that if that were his car that, in fact, he may have indeed come right through the front door here into the school. People throughout the building at that point start saying that they're hearing shots.
9:41, the calls start going in to 911 at that point. And the principal, the vice principal, and the school psychologist who were in that meeting, all go toward the gunfire out in the hallway according to a witness. Only the vice principal returns, and the vice principal is wounded. There is much shouting, there are many, many shots out there. Everyone says they hear it. Authorities say the shooting itself happens in a relatively short period of time, and they say the gunman doesn't roam around, but generally stays in this area. In fact, they say all the shooting happens in just two rooms.
9:45, teachers throughout this building are trying to protect students, in some cases the students say they helped them hide, in others there seems to be some indication that teachers may have tried to get them out of the building. The bottom line is, though, and you can see these pictures from the "Newtown Bee," there was an effort to get the kids out to safety. And it was a difficult, difficult stunt to pull off because you have hundreds of kids here and they're obviously traumatized and very, very upset.
9:50. By this time for sure, and again, we're not sure of the time line, it's murky, but the gunman somewhere in this process has died. Police officers say no officer fired a shot. So it's believed that he shot himself, but this we do know. As officers arrive on the scene from state and local police, they secure the entire building and they spread out through it trying to make sure that there are no other gunmen and trying to find all these pockets of children hiding within this building.
And at that point, they start escorting them out of the building as well. A difficult, difficult time, and this time line is what the investigators are going to have to build upon in the coming weeks to clarify, to make sure we know exactly when things happened and how.
VELSHI: And that is Tom Foreman reporting for CNN. In the aftermath of Friday's tragedy, questions are being formed around the guns that were used. Three weapons were recovered from the scene. Similar to the ones we're about to show you. They include two pistols, a Glock and a Sig Sauer that were found on the deceased gunman. A semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle, that's one on the bottom was found in a car outside of the school. All three guns were legally purchased by Nancy Lanza, the shooter's mother.
Let's discuss this a little more. We're joined by Tom Fuentes. He is a former FBI assistant director and a CNN contributor. John Berman joining me now as well from the Town Square in Newton, Connecticut.
Tom, let's start with you. The Bushmaster was registered to the suspect's mother, Nancy Lanza, the Bushmaster is a semiautomatic weapon in a state that is called a May issue state. It's not the easiest place to get a gun, particularly a semiautomatic gun. Explain why we think Nancy Lanza had a Bushmaster and was able to get one.
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Ali.
I think right now there's no clue why she would've gotten those weapons. And she may have been in fear of being burglarized or robbed or something else happening. Maybe she had been threatened, you know, once before in her life and just felt like she wanted weapons in the house to protect herself. But, there's not going to be an easy answer to that question unless she told a friend or relative why she wanted to have those three weapons.
BERMAN: You know, let me follow up, Tom. How hard is it to get a Bushmaster rifle? And if I can ask you about the pistols for a second, what are the issues surrounding them? Are they possible to load with these high number of round magazines with a lot of, a lot of bullets?
FUENTES: Yes, they're possible to do that. The standard magazine would generally enable that gun to have about 15 bullets in it. Each of the two guns, the Glock and the Sig, about 15 bullets a piece, but you can buy extended magazines that carry 30 rounds like we saw in the Tucson shooting a couple of years ago. That would be available. We don't know if he had that in this case or if he just reloaded and had multiple magazines and reloaded as he ran out. Because we think he shot more than just 30 rounds from the two pistols.
VELSHI: Tom, these pistols are common. They are actually commonly used by police, particularly that Glock. Bushmaster is a bit more of an unusual weapon. But if civilians are going to get pistols, these are two of the more common ones around.
FUENTES: Well, actually, in sense, they're not as common because of the fact that they're high-quality guns that are more expensive than the average pistol. Obviously professional law enforcement officers would want to have a quality pistol such as a Glock or Sig Sauer to carry on duty for their own purposes. But - but so, it's not like you have Saturday night specials, that are cheap guns that they bought somewhere, these are quality weapons, you know, as we've seen, unfortunately, when brought to a bad purpose.
As far as the Bushmaster, again, these guns are legal. Any restrictions on assault rifles that had been in place have expired or not renewed by the Congress. So pretty much anybody can go if they meet the gun checks can go ahead and purchase this.
And in this situation, no matter how mentally ill the shooter may have been, there's no indication that his mother was or that she had any trouble purchasing the weapons, registering the weapons, and having them. So you still have the issue of a mentally disturbed person in a home where the homeowner, in this case the mother, legally owns weapons.
VELSHI: And we're still waiting to find out if, in fact, there's -- sorry, John, go ahead. BERMAN: No, I was just going to say, you know, you mentioned before the number of shots fired. We believe we hear from witnesses that they heard at least 100 rounds go off in the hallway. You talked about the number of bullets these could hold, the magazines, that 30 magazines, maybe if they had extended clips. But how hard would it be to get off 100 rounds in this type of event?
FUENTES: As quickly as you can pull the trigger and reload magazines. You know, as you see in the movies, when somebody runs out of ammunition, which doesn't often happen in the movies, but when that happens and they reload the magazine, one of the victims may pounce on the shooter and attack him at that point when he's vulnerable.
But here we're talking five and six-year-olds. So even if he stops for two seconds to switch magazines and put a fresh magazine in the gun to keep going, the little kids aren't going to be able to stop him. So this is a whole different situation than we have if it occurred on a city street corner or even with adults.
VELSHI: Tom, in Connecticut, as we said, this is a -- it's called a may issue state. Which means if you fulfill all the requirements required to get a gun, they have other things that they can do to determine whether someone should or should not have access to a gun. How does that work?
FUENTES: Well, you know, in this case, if the mother has never been arrested or judged mentally ill and she wants to purchase a weapon, she goes through the procedures in place in the state of Connecticut, which are reportedly more stringent than many of the other states where these type of shootings has occurred.
But she -- you know, if she's in a position to go ahead and buy that weapon or three weapons legally, you know, it doesn't -- that doesn't solve the problem. She's got the guns that are in the house, you know, it just took her son to steal them from her and actually turn them on her and go forward.
VELSHI: Tom, thanks for your input into this, former assistant FBI director, Tom Fuentes, joining us now.
In Washington, a visibly emotional - emotional and tearful President Obama addressed the nation yesterday afternoon. He offered prayers, solace and support for the families of the victims of this tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. I know there's 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. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. 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 their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.
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.
May God bless the memory of the victims. And in the words of scripture, "Heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds."
FATHER GEORGE WEISS, ST. ROSE OF LIMA PARISH: I would like to share with you a letter from his holiness, Pope Benedict XVI who sent us condolences from the Vatican.
I was promptly informed of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I convey my heartfelt grief and the assurance of my personal prayers to the victims and their families, to all those of 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 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. With gratitude, for your prayers, and your presence, I remain yours in Christ, Benedict XVI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone, to our special coverage of the Connecticut school shooting. I'm John Berman. This morning at 8:00 Eastern time, we're anticipating a live news conference here in Newtown, Connecticut, where authorities are expected to release the names of the children and the adults killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary school.
I want to bring in right now Declan Procaccini, he is a parent in this community. His 8-year-old daughter survived the shooting at the elementary school yesterday. And Declan, let me start off by saying, first of all, our thoughts are with you and this entire town, what you're all going through right now. Let me just ask you, how are you? And how's your daughter?
DECLAN PROCACCINI, FATHER: My daughter is doing surprisingly well. She's doing surprisingly well after what she saw.
BERMAN: How did this go down for you yesterday? When did you first get word that something horrible was happening at the school? What did they tell you? And what did they ask you to do? PROCACCINI: I worked about an hour plus away, and my wife called me and said there'd been a shooting. She had already rushed to the school to get my daughter, who had made her way to the fire house. I was able to get to the fire house eventually, and at that time, it was just too early. We had no idea about all the children and the faculty who had died.
BERMAN: You knew your daughter was OK, though, correct?
PROCACCINI: Thank God. We knew that she was OK, and, you know, just gave her a big hug. You know, and just got her out of there.
BERMAN: And Declan, so many parents across the country, including me, frankly, want to know how to talk to our kids about this. Our kids, of course, didn't go through this. Has your daughter asked you any questions about what happened?
PROCACCINI: Well, that's a very difficult question. And, you know, very -- this is all new. So all we really can do, and I think is the best thing is to be honest and let her know what we know. Try to talk to them and try to reinforce that the bad guy that did this is gone forever. Because, of course, all they're talking about is not wanting to go to school again. Both of my children. I have a 10-year-old who was in another school on lockdown, as well. And they're just really, really freaked out, as you can imagine.
BERMAN: Absolutely. They're talking to you, they don't want to go back to school again. Did your daughter tell you anything about what it was like to be in the school as this was happening?
PROCACCINI: She was in her reading class, and it was a separated class with just -- usually there's just a few kids in there. And she heard a bunch of banging, sounded like hammering, she said. And her teacher, her reading teacher, grabbed my daughter as well as a fellow teacher that was in the reading room and actually locked them in the bathroom. And they just heard lots of shots, and I think my daughter said she heard screaming.
And eventually the police were banging on the door and were able to escort them into the hallway, get them out towards, unfortunately, where from what I understand where most of the shootings happened, which was a pretty rough scene from what I understand from what my daughter told me. And then they were able to whisk him away to the fire house. And I believe my daughter, from what she tells me, was the first -- the first kid to get to the fire house.
BERMAN: This is something no kid should ever have to go through, Declan, I think that goes without saying. What kind of communication are you getting right now from the town, from the authorities?
PROCACCINI: You know, I've got to be frank with you, since this happened, you know, the phone's been ringing off the hook. You know, people are just wanting to know what's going on. So there's just been -- we actually turned our phones off yesterday, last night, and we've been just getting our sources from the news. We haven't let our kids watch the news yet. I don't know if that's the right or wrong decision, but I think it's best that we talk with them first, and they're going to get plenty of that stuff later. And so, you know, news sources like yours is where we're getting our - where we're getting updates.
BERMAN: Declan, we sincerely appreciate you talking to us this morning. What are your plans for the weekend at this point? How do you -- how do you spend the next two days?
PROCACCINI: I honestly haven't even thought about it. This is just so new. Most of my day yesterday was just spent -- you know, we got -- it wasn't that easy to get out of the area. There were lots of emergency vehicles, police vehicles, you know, as you can imagine. So a lot of the day was spent getting out of there. And then I got my wife and my daughter home, and then I had to go to the other school to get my son out of lockdown, and we had to wait for that. And then we finally got home.
And I just said, look, we need a quiet night together as a family and pray for those poor kids and those poor faculty members who we know so many of them. And I have no idea when the names come out, but it's just something that right now I can't even fathom when they release the names of those children who I'm sure we all -- we know, and we know their families, and the faculty members, and, so, I really don't have a plan is to answer your question.
BERMAN: Declan Procaccini, please know that all of our thoughts are with you. The entire country's thoughts are with you and your community this morning. Thank you so much for being with us. Thank you so much for being so strong.
PROCACCINI: I really appreciate it. Thank you.
VELSHI: John, tough conversation to listen to. And what he said, what Declan said, it's going to be so hard when the names come out, because people did try and have a quiet night last night. They don't know the names. The parents who didn't get their kids back know who they are, and they know who their kids are, but everybody else doesn't.
This morning at 8:00 a.m. Eastern, we are anticipating a live news conference here in Newtown, Connecticut, where authorities are expected to release the names of the children and the adults, the six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school.
Let's check in now with Nick Valencia in CNN Center in Atlanta. Nick, we know the school principal was one of the adults killed, along with the school psychologist. I understand that a parent was with them in an office when the gunman opened fire inside the school. What is the parent saying?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, solemn day today across America, and, of course, in the "CNN NEWSROOM," Ali, we heard from a parent yesterday and on Friday. Mary Sherlock, one of the six victims, one of the six adults that were victim of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, a parent told us that they were in a meeting yesterday with the principal and vice principal, along with Mary Sherlock, when they heard that loud pop, pop, pop, coming from the gun of the suspected shooter. They went to check that out in the hallway. Sherlock and the principal didn't return alive.
So just a very solemn outcome to that. Sherlock was part of a team that was really relied upon there at Sandy Hook Elementary. She was part of the school's crisis intervention team, Ali. So even in a time like this when people are turning to those for comfort, she's no longer with us -- Ali.
VELSHI: Yes, sad story. Nick Valencia at the CNN Center in Atlanta -- thanks, Nick.