Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Connecticut Elementary School Shooting; The Media and the Massacre
Aired December 16, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Signs like the one you just saw all over Newtown, Connecticut. People are saying our hearts are broken, but are strong, leaving memorials just like this with load of candles and stuffed animals and flowers -- remembering those who have lost their lives, remembering a town, a peaceful town, that has now been forever change changed.
I'm Soledad O'Brien, joined with Wolf Blitzer this morning, here in Newtown, Connecticut. There are families who are waking up to their second of trying to make sense out of something that frankly is impossible to understand Friday's tragedy.
Today may mark the very first day of healing for people who will be facing a very, very long process. The entire community that are directly affected and for the entire nation, frankly -- families, friends, neighbors all gathering at places of worship in this small southwestern Connecticut town.
There was a candlelight vigil that's being scheduled for this evening. President Obama is scheduled to fly in this afternoon and after meeting with the families of victims and after meeting with the first responders as well, he'll take part in that candlelight vigil.
We are awaiting an update from the law enforcement officials who have been giving us information ever since Friday afternoon. We're expecting to hear from the state police and the medical examiner who told us he was going to wrap up the autopsies on the shooter and the shooter's mother and also the focus of their investigation would now be the weaponry.
We're expecting an update in the next few minutes. They have already set up, as you can see, cameras standing by. We're just waiting for them to arrive and, of course, we'll take that press conference for you live when it happens.
First, though, we want to get right to Howard Kurtz and RELIABLE SOURCES in Washington, D.C. for a critical look at just how the news media has been covering the events here in Connecticut.
Let's get Wolf Blitzer, as well. He's been here reporting on this, the very latest on what we learned about this story -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Howie going to be joining us in a little while, Soledad. We were expecting as you pointed out this news conference from the Connecticut State Police to begin momentarily. They're getting ready for that. Among other things, we expect to learn the results of the autopsies, as you say, were performed on the bodies of the gunman and his mother.
Already this morning, we've learned a horrifying new detail about Friday's school massacre. The gunman used his assault weapon literally to shoot his own entry way into the school building. Connecticut's medical examiner said the semiautomatic rifle found at the scene was the primary weapon used in this massacre.
CNN's Susan Candiotti reports that investigators are now trying to piece together the gunman's actions in the days before the shootings. They're looking at surveillance video from places he may have visited. All of this unfolding, even as we speak right now.
Meanwhile, the Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy has become a familiar face since Friday, appearing at press briefings in a televised address last night to the people of Connecticut as well. This morning, he spoke to our own Candy Crowley on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
Candy joining us with more on that -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the governor did say, in fact, that the shooter did blast his way into that building, as we know, by now. There was a bell. You had to be rung into the building from the inside. But he, instead, used that semiautomatic to blast his way into the building.
He also talked about how investigators are looking at how these guns are purchased. They know they were purchased by the mother. He mentioned that -- you know, did she allow her son use of them even prior to the day he took them and went into that elementary school.
But there's also very personal side of this interview and I saw the governor very much with tears his eyes when I asked him about that time when he had to tell those parents gathered at the firehouse near the building that their children were gone and would not be coming back. Take a listen to this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DAN MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: Candy, I was with the vast majority of the families Friday morning and, ultimately, I had to break it to all the folks that were assembled at the firehouse that their children or their loved one, in the case of the adults, were not coming home. And that's an exercise that I will live with for the rest of my life. It's not something you're prepared for and, you know, go on.
CROWLEY: So --
MALLOY: But, listen, I'm the governor of the state of Connecticut, we have a job to do. We have to protect people. We have to help people recover. We have to move on and get children back to school as quickly as possible in the broader system. And hopefully these children, at this school, back to school, a school as quickly as possible.
CROWLEY: OK. Just to make sure I understood you correctly. You're the one that initially had to tell the families gathered in that room what many of them feared or since some of them might have already known at a very gut level, you were the one that finalized for them.
CROWLEY: Tell me about that moment.
MALLOY: It's a very difficult thing to do. These parents had been gathered for a number of hours clinging to hope. News reports were swirling around them outside the building. And someone had to decide how to handle that situation.
And, ultimately, it fell upon me to do that. You could never be prepared for that, to tell 18 or 20 folks or, actually, families, that their loved one would not be returning to them that day or in the future is a tough assignment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: So, you heard the governor there, Wolf, talk about. You know, it's something you live with and so much talk now is going to be about moving on and moving through the grief. And the fact is, we all know these families will never be the same and neither will those who have been closest to this, including the governor.
We talked later in the hour to Jim Hickenlooper who was, you know, was the governor of Colorado and was there for the Aurora shooting this summer, earlier this year. And he talked about how he almost became friends with those families because you have to be there for the most difficult time in their life. And that's definitely how the Connecticut governor feels, Wolf.
BLITZER: So hard, so painful. That's what they got to do in a situation, a horrifying situation like this.
Candy is going to be back at the top of the hour with "STATE OF THE UNION." Candy, we'll see you then.
Meanwhile, CNN is making it possible to help the families of the victims here in Connecticut. You can impact your world. It's available by going to CNN.com/impact.
After the break, Soledad and I will speak with Howard Kurtz of CNN's RELIABLE SOURCES about the experience of covering tragedy like this.
BLITZER: Welcome back. We're standing by for a news conference. Connecticut State Police -- you see the microphones there -- they're getting ready to brief us on the latest on this investigation. This horrible, horrible disaster that happened in this small town here in Connecticut.
Soledad O'Brien is joining us. Howard Kurtz is also joining us now from CNN's RELIABLE SOURCES in Washington, D.C.
Howie, there's been a tremendous, enormous amount of media presence here in Newtown.
What's your impression of how this story unfolded in the news so far?
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, CNN'S "RELIABLE SOURCES": Wolf, unlike any tragedy that we have collectively lived through, this one has seared into America's soul. Everyone is talking about, everyone is consumed about it and every online conversation on social media sites is about what happened in Newtown.
And I've got to tell you, for all of the coverage there by you and others, there are times when I have to turn off the TV and other journalists told me as well. It is so raw. The feelings are so raw that it's hard to watch.
So, let me ask you, journalists are trained to be objective, but how can any human being -- journalist or not -- be dispassionate about what happened there?
BLITZER: I don't think any of us can be dispassionate --
O'BRIEN: Howie, I'll answer that for you, if I can.
KURTZ: Go ahead, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Yes, I was going to say the same exact thing that Wolf was going to say. I don't know if you can have no compassion or being passionate about it. I think it's sort of focusing on doing a job.
I look at all the law enforcement officials here. I can't even imagine what they've been through. Many talking about carrying children, you know, out of that school.
I guess, for me, I think we try to focus on just getting information out and even if you have to interview grieving parents or parents who are grieving, but relieved because their children have survived but grieving for the community. I think you just focus on trying to ask the questions that need to be asked in thoughtful and in a compassionate way.
KURTZ: Right, Soledad, journalists are trained to do their jobs even in most awful circumstances like this. But, you know, you're home with your four children, you get the call, you run out to Newtown, what's the emotional impact on you or do you have to put that aside while you're doing the job of a correspondent?
O'BRIEN: Yes, you know, I don't even think about it, honestly. I haven't talked to my children. My daughter, I called her last night and that is the first time I talked to the kids. I let my husband deal with that.
My daughter said to me, I said, how are you? She said, mom, how are you?
I so appreciated that and I think that's what a lot of people in this community are feeling. So many people are just worried about them. So, I know, I won't even think about it until I'm home in a couple weeks from now.
Right now, we have a job to do and that job is as we're waiting for this press conference to get the most information we can from the press conference, from the law enforcement, from medical examiner and piece together this story because that's what people are interested in trying to understand what happened here.
And, Wolf, do you have any feeling as this whole town as you have so ably reported, is in a state of grief that because we come with a big footprint and the camera crews, that perhaps we collectively are intruding at a very, at the worst moment of these people's lives?
BLITZER: You know, I've been here now all day yesterday, all day today, got here late, late Friday night from Washington. And there have been a few, but I can count them really on one hand a few people have said to me, get out. Leave us alone. Stuff like that.
But overwhelmingly, Howie, most of the people here in Newtown, in Danbury, elsewhere in Connecticut, they have been very, very grateful because they want this, the world to understand what they are going through right now here in Connecticut. Overwhelmingly, the people, sure there's a huge media footprint in Newtown right now, but I think the folks understand that we have a job to do and they want the world to see what's going on.
It's not just here in Connecticut or the United States even. We're being seen around the world --
KURTZ: Around the world.
BLITZER: People are reaching out, people are appreciative of what's going on and we're trying to bring that story and maybe we will learn some lessons. Maybe I'm overly optimistic.
KURTZ: Well, I do think --
BLITZER: Prevent this kind of disaster down the road.
KURTZ: I do think television can help with the healing process at a moment when we have the nation's attention transfixed on the town that you're in -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Howie, all right, stand by. I want everyone to stand by. Soledad is going to be with us.
We're going to continue our coverage. We're waiting -- we're waiting for this news conference to take place. Connecticut State Police are getting ready to brief us on the latest information that they have from this investigation. We'll have live coverage of that.
More with Howie and Soledad, when we come back.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're taking a look at the makings of a press conference. You can see there, there are roughly two dozen camera set up and we're waiting for the state police -- Lieutenant Paul Vance has been updating us in these press conferences. He is going to be joined this morning by the medical examiner of the state of Connecticut, Wayne Carver.
We're expecting them to update us on a couple of things first and foremost where the investigation stands. They are now focusing on ballistics and weapons and they said that they'll be able to answer a lot of the questions that we had over the last couple days that have gone unanswered.
Also, the medical examiner has wrapped up his autopsy of the shooter and the shooter's mother. He said that would be done this morning and we are expecting he will give us some information about -- any information that they have been able to determine out of that.
That's the press conference we're waiting for and we'll bring that to you live when that happens.
We want to, before then, though, get to Howie Kurtz of CNN's RELIABLE SOURCES for more -- Howie.
KURTZ: Thanks, Soledad.
The journalists descending on this small community of Newtown, Connecticut, are facing many challenges, none more daunting than in the first few hours as some initial reports range from incomplete to just plain wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: There was one unconfirmed report we heard earlier that this may have been, may have been, the father of a student.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The shooter has been identified to me by a source as Ryan Lanza -- Ryan Lanza in his 20s, apparently, we're told from the source from this area.
TRACE GALLAGHER, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: We have just now confirmed the shooter is identified. He is 20-year-old Ryan Lanza.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: It may turn out at the end of the day the person who fired the shots was Ryan Lanza's brother, Adam.
CANDIOTTI: Contrary to conflicting information that investigators themselves had earlier and had passed on, we can now tell you according to several sources that the name of the shooter in this case is Adam Lanza.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Joining us now to examine the coverage of what unfolded in Connecticut: David Zurawik, television and media critic for "The Baltimore Sun"; Lauren Ashburn, editor-in-chief of daily-download.com, where I'm also a contributor: Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, and a former CNN Washington bureau chief.
Frank, you have been here when tragedy erupted. You've got to go on the air when information is hard to come by.
Why is it so hard as we just saw the brother was inaccurately identified to keep that information off the air?
FRANK SESNO, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: It's what I call the language of live. We're you are reporting something as it's happening and quite often you're following law enforcement or anybody else down the same dead end path, incorrect information. Why it was so important when you heard there, when Susan Candiotti was saying, sources are telling us, apparently is to build into the language that journalists use this language of uncertainty because things do change.
KURTZ: But law enforcement sources sometimes provide information that turns out to be wrong. This is a classic example, Lauren Ashburn. How badly is journalism's reputation tarnished when a crime of this magnitude, the wrong person is identified as a shooter?
LAUREN ASHBURN, DAILY-DOWLOAD.COM: It's used to be that people would become outraged when something like this happened. How could you wrongly identify the victim?
But, now, I think people believe that this is the way journalism is. They're going to get it wrong and you don't always have to believe everything that a journalist tells you and I think that's sad.
DAVID ZURAWIK, THE BALTIMORE SUN: I don't know, I wrote a column really critical of this. This guy was identified for hours. No one went to try to independently verify the law enforcement official who's now transposed the names did. That --
KURTZ: You accept the notion because somebody reported it and then it changes because this is a moving story, that this is just the way it is. Can we do better?
ZURAWIK: Of course we can do better. In one part, I agree with Lauren about people accepting this more because of all the proliferation of new kinds of media. But, Howie, it's awful. You know, they put Ryan Lanza's picture out there and it was shared on Facebook 1,000 times in a minute. It's a nightmare. This guy is sitting on a bus identified as a mass murderer for hours.
And, look, here's "Slate's" correction. "Slate" said, looks like that Facebook page of Ryan Lanza we linked to was incorrect.
ZURAWIK: Yes, it's like --
ASHBURN: Thanks --
ZURAWIK: No, looks like -- it's either incorrect, Frank, or it's not. This casual, this lack of precision in journalism is wrong.
SESNO: That's fine. But when stuff is happening as fast as it happens here and you live in the instant information world, this stuff will happen. So, there's more obligation --
ZURAWIK: Not for hours. No.
SESNO: It can be for days, come on.
ZURAWIK: It can be for days to get the wrong person and identify him as a mass murderer.
SESNO: No, I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is that information, right or wrong, travels much faster than corroboration sometimes.
The fact of the matter is that the suspect was carrying a bad ID. That information came from law enforcement. Law enforcement was the only form of information that the media had at the time.
SESNO: Why? They're not going to be able to go into the school --
ZURAWIK: The guy was alive and posting on Facebook who they said was dead. That was a source of information.
SESNO: And it's happening in real-time. We called it the fog of war on the battlefield. It's a fog war --
ZURAWIK: That's a nice term. But the guy --
KURTZ: Let me jump in. There's a lot of emotion here at this table.
Lauren, when you watched the coverage, admittedly, it's hard to watch. And you see these anchors and correspondents having to deal with this unspeakable tragedy, it seems like they're trying to keep their emotions out of it, doesn't it? Should they?
ASHBURN: Of course. When I covered 9/11, that's exactly what I did. I had the picture of the Pentagon right behind me and smoke coming up, and you can't think about it, as Soledad O'Brien said earlier. You can't call your children. You can't get into that emotional mindset.
However, looking at it yesterday from my kitchen table where I was writing Christmas cards in front of a fire, I couldn't help but realize the dispassion that the journalists did have and I question in "The Daily Beast" piece that I wrote whether or not we couldn't do a little bit better. Maybe it would serve the audience a little bit more to inject a little bit of emotion. I'm not saying let's start crying and doing all of that.
SESNO: It's humanity.
SESNO: That's what you're talking about. It's humanity.
ASHBURN: I need to know, I need to see that it is affecting them the way it is affecting the people at home.
KURTZ: Let me ask you a related question which we've seen from many of the networks, interviews with some of the young elementary school children, the ones who were basically eyewitnesses to what happened. Sometimes they were accompanied by parents.
CNN's policy, parents have to give permission. Sometimes not.
But does it make you uncomfortable to see young kids --
ASHBURN: I do not want to see it. I do not want to see it.
ASHBURN: You know, look, you make that decision on a case-by- case basis. But to have an 8-year-old or 6-year-old describe this scene, I feel like it's ludicrous to put that on television. Get an adult. You know, leave that poor child alone.
KURTZ: What about the whole question of, starting to hear rumblings about a gun control debate? You have the partisans come on and they take their shot. It's the fault of guns. It's not the fault of guns.
When it comes to straight reporting, there seems to be an acceptance, Frank Sesno, that, you know, Congress is not going to act in this. It's a political loser. Even Democrats don't want to do it. Even President Obama shied away from it.
So, are the media shying away from, as they have in the past, a real, honest, candid debate about guns in this country?
SESNO: Well, right now, no. I mean, right now, all the focus -- KURTZ: OK. A week from now?
SESNO: That's the question. That's why I think there needs to be a real media agenda here. Not a media agenda to take sides, but a media agenda to keep a very sensitive, very difficult situation and issue in the public light, and to bring all sides.
KURTZ: Some would say that would be a crusade. And the media did put --
KURTZ: -- civil rights on the agenda. Gay rights on the agenda.
SESNO: Ted Koppel had held America held hostage and he built "Nightline" around it when we had our hostage crisis in Iran. There are 30,000 people in this country, that's a fact, who die every year as a result of gun violence. Much of the violence that results from guns are guns perfectly legally obtained.
What do we know? Where does it come from? All sides of the debate.
Great piece in "The Atlantic" called "The Case for More Guns".
I'm saying, come at this. The media need to come on this on a sustained basis putting the facts in there and putting the difficult issue in front of the American people so that we can have a grown-up conversation.
ASHBURN: They won't.
ASHBURN: Because we move on to the next thing.
SESNO: I am saying we shouldn't.
ASHBURN: I agree with you 100 percent, but we will.
ZURAWIK: No. And I agree with both of you, as well. Lauren is right.
I think the problem with this, Howie, is -- on MSNBC, for example, I saw Friday afternoon, they were already in talking about, I hope we have the political capital now to change -- that's not the time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. No, I totally --
KURTZ: Why do you disagree?
ASHBURN: I disagree, because when else are you going to have it? Yes, we're covering that. But this is the moment when you have people who are emotionally distraught looking for or interested.
(CROSSTALK) SESNO: That's the point. They are emotionally distraught and if you're going to have a serious case with attention span, you're going to have to do over time and when they're not emotional.
ASHBURN: We don't do it.
SESNO: That's what I'm saying. We in the media have a job, and one of our jobs is to give voice to the voiceless. There is no one who is more voiceless than a 6, or 7, or 10, or 14, or 16 or 18-year- old kid who has had their life taken away.
ZURAWIK: Frank, I think, though, also beyond the media, I think the academic world that you're part of can play a really important role in this in terms of framing it, in terms of pushing it, in terms of having forums, and the people who fund these kinds of things. People should try to have this kind of --
SESNO: Can I say one thing, Howie, that is really important. When I talk about this agenda, I'm not talking about the media taking the role that many people think they're going to take for gun control.
KURTZ: I think the media shy away from this because there is a fear of alienating a broad swath of the leadership and viewership who may disagree on either side of this volatile issue. But I agree with you that this is a debate that we have.
SESNO: If you look at this as a public health emergency, you go for the data.
ASHBURN: But we have to have the debate when people are thinking about gun control because in a week, they're going to be thinking about some other tragedy. Some volcano erupting, some bus crash.
KURTZ: Fiscal cliff.
ASHBURN: Some -- all right, in Washington, some -- the fiscal cliff. And they're not going to be thinking about gun control. Do it now.
SESNO: It's not just about gun control, first of all. Let me say that. It is about the gun issue, the mental health issue and the access issue.
KURTZ: All right, fascinating debate that I hope continues not just here but elsewhere. Thanks very much.
Next, we'll go back to Connecticut with Wolf Blitzer and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for more coverage of this tragedy in Connecticut.
BLITZER: So sad. People are emotional, understandably, here in Newtown, Connecticut. They're walking past these memorials and just reflecting on what is going on. So many questions remain unanswered. We might get some answers at a news conference. We're awaiting the Connecticut State Police, they're going to be speaking shortly, we're told. We've been expecting them for a while. You see the microphones are all set up. We'll have live coverage once the Connecticut State Police show up there.
In the meantime, much of the attention in the news media has focused in on the mental health of Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who committed this mass murder here at this elementary school in Newtown.
Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is joining us. Sanjay, I want you to put in perspective. There have been these reports that Adam Lanza had autism. Some people are jumping to conclusions inappropriately. Give us some perspective on what this means.
GUPTA: I think there are two important points here. First of all, when you talk about autism or really anything on the autism spectrum, you're talking about a neuro-developmental disorder, not a mental illness, not a personality disorder.
So you know, I think the terms do matter here. Second of all, just this whole idea that it's linked with violence in some way and specifically preplanned violence, I think we can dispense with that.
BLITZER: There's no evidence that autism would generate a mass murder like this?
GUPTA: Absolutely not. We talked about this yesterday, but even since then I talked to a few more experts. I looked at the definitive study on this, Wolf, the study everyone quotes when looking at this exact issue.
I'll just give you the numbers, 132 people were studied in that particular study. Of those, three people had some evidence of violence, small number, but none of them had what was thought of as preplanned violence. Those are, in fact, reactionary violence and outburst, not something that required any sort of planning.
BLITZER: Are there any other mental illnesses that could cause this kind of violence?
GUPTA: Sure. You know, there are other sorts of things that you think about with regard to some sort of manic thing. Some sort of loss of judgment and inhibition of judgment. We talk about depression, obviously, anger issues here, but in association with mental illness, not because of autism, Asperger or anything else alone.
BLITZER: Sometimes you hear about these atrocities and sometimes people say, you know, he just snapped. So, medically speaking, what does that mean?
GUPTA: When someone -- again, that does refer to some sort of reaction to something, usually or some sort of somebody was predisposed to something and something pushed somebody over the edge. The difference, again, Wolf, investigators always think about this and also in my field, forensic medical examiners look at this and sometimes you don't know the answer exactly. One of the things you want to know, was there evidence of planning?
Was there some sort of evidence of planning because if there was, it really changes the discussion completely, it certainly changes it from a law enforcement standpoint, which is where people focus their attention but also from a medical standpoint, psychological profile, forensic medical examination.
BLITZER: And correct me if I'm wrong, at least anecdotally in covering these stories, it's usually a male who commits this kind of mass murder, not a female. Is there a gender -related issue here?
GUPTA: You're absolutely right. Again, the numbers do bear that out. If you look, again, not just at, obviously, the study that I talked about, but all sorts of these sort of violent attacks and certainly mass murder type of attacks, they're generally male.
What to make of that exactly is unclear. One thing, you know, when you talk about neural developmental disorder, we don't know for sure what was going on in his mind or what his background is, that is something you typically have since birth. It is something that is inherited.
It's an inherited component to it and even while you're developing as a human being. Again, I say that to distinguish it from many other forms of mental illness. Also with regard to gender, you know, if there is a male preponderance of this and a genetic link, you can put the two and two together. We don't know for sure, but, again, I think that's what people --
BLITZER: The video games. You know, these kinds of violent video games, boys usually do it a lot more than girls. Is there a connection potentially?
GUPTA: I think there's no doubt there is a connection. Wolf, let me say, they have known about a connection, not with video games specifically, but with violent programming for 40 years. Wrote about this in 1972 and wrote about it and over the last 40 years, back then it was television.
But all sorts of different avenues have happened now. I think there's pretty good scientific evidence to show that there is some kind of connection between video gaming and violence. Most people who play video games aren't violent, but there is a connection.
BLITZER: Sanjay, thanks very much. Good advice.
Once again, we're awaiting the news conference. Connecticut State Police, they are getting ready to go to the microphones here in Newtown, Connecticut, to update us on the investigation.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You can see the live pictures here, microphones standing by everyone here for the press conference with Lieutenant Vance from the state police and also the state's medical examiner. We're expecting them to update us on some of the details that they have been telling us that they will focus on in this next press conference.
For example, we'll know about the weaponry, the caliber of the weapons that were used and exactly what happened, the timeline of the events on this terrible, terrible massacre that happened on Friday morning. We're also expected to hear some more information about the autopsies that should, by now, have been performed on the shooter and his mother.
Those were the last two that they were waiting to complete and of course, roughly two dozen journalists who are gathered here. We're expecting some more to come, as well. They told us this press conference would happen in the next few minutes. We've heard they're on their way. As soon as it happens, we will, obviously, bring that to you live.
This morning, Connecticut's governor told CNN that the gunman got into the school literally by using the assault weapon to shoot the entrance into the building. He blew out a whole big enough that he could walk through.
The medical examiner said the semi-automatic rifle found at the scene was the primary weapon in the massacre that every single person had been shot by that rifle and, in fact, the seven that he had done autopsies on had been shot multiple times, in some cases three times and in some cases 11 times.
We're expecting President Obama here in Newtown later this afternoon. He's going to thank families, first responders and then meet with the victims' family members. He's also going to speak at an interfaith vigil that will be held later this evening. Those are some of the things we're monitoring here for you from Newtown, Connecticut.
Also take a look at how some of these details here in Newtown played out on Facebook and Twitter as the news media scramble to make sense of some conflicting stories. We'll go back to Howard Kurtz in RELIABLE SOURCES for a critical look at how that was handled, straight ahead.
KURTZ: Continuing our discussion of the tragedy in Connecticut, see there the memorial, the children and the grownups who died. We're joined now from New York by Jeff Jarvis. He runs the entrepreneurial journalism program -- have to go to Soledad O'Brien with breaking news out of Connecticut.