CT Shooting Victims Honored By Empire State Building Lights [VIDEO]
The Empire State Building was lit up in blue & gold on Saturday night in honor of the victims of Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut.
The names of all the victims of 20 year old Adam Lanza were released by Connecticut state police medical examiner H. Wayne Carver II. late Saturday afternoon, all first graders.
“I’ve been at this for a third of a century and my sensibility may not be the average man’s, but this is probably the worst I’ve seen,” said Carver.
President Obama will travel to Newtown on Sunday night for a memorial service.
The father of the gunman in the Connecticut school rampage says his family is saddened and struggling to make sense of what happened.
Peter Lanza says in a statement released late Saturday that “our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy.”
Peter Lanza says “no words can truly express how heartbroken we are” and that relatives are “in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can.”
State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance still need to “peel the onion” of the crime scene both inside and outside the Sandy Hook Elementary School, a process which could take several more days.
EVIDENCE OF A MOTIVE
Vance said investigators have found “very good evidence” about a motive and confirmed that gunman Adam Lanza forced his way into the school. Another law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that investigators have found no note or manifesto of the sort they have come to expect after murderous rampages.
Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome, but experts say there’s no connection between the disorder and violent behavior. Asperger’s is a mild form of autism often characterized by social awkwardness.
Columbus, Ohio, psychologist Eric Butter says research suggests people with autism have a higher rate of aggressive behavior than the general population. He says this includes outbursts, shoving or angry shouting, but typically does not include planned, intentional violence.
High school classmates say Lanza was bright but painfully shy, anxious and a loner. Butter says those characteristics are consistent with Asperger’s.
Police worked through the night to identify all the bodies inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
OUR HEARTS ARE BROKEN TODAY
President Obama used his weekly internet address to offer more condolences about the shooting. “Our hearts are broken today,” the president said. “We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child’s innocence has been torn away far too early.”
Pope Benedict XVI expressed “his heartfelt grief and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the victims and their families and all to affected” by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, in a letter to the Diocese of Bridgeport Administrator Monsignor Jerald A. Doyle reports CNN.
A DAY OF DESTRUCTION
Police say two handguns were found inside the school and a rifle in the back of a car. Authorities also recovered two rifles and a shotgun, but it’s not clear where. A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some of the guns may have belonged to Adam Lanza’s family.
Police sources say Lanza brought Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle were found in the school after the massacre Friday.
The official says that a fourth weapon was found outside the school and that investigators have been going to shooting ranges and gun stores to see if Lanza had frequented them.
His mother had legally registered four weapons, his father two.
Adam Lanza’s rampage is said to have started at his Newtown home where he lived with his mother. He is believed to have shot his mother Nancy in the face before heading to the Sandy Hook Elementary School where his mother was a substitute teacher.
Adam Lanza smashed the glass of the front door according to a police lieutenant and was not buzzed in through the front door.
The school’s well-liked principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was believed to be among the dead.. Town officials said she died while lunging at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him. A woman who worked at the school was wounded.
Jeff Capeci is chairman of the town’s Legislative Council. Asked whether Hochsprung is a hero, he says, “From what we know, it’s hard to classify her as anything else.”
Hochsprung had worked at the school for two years. Capeci says she immediately became a beloved figure. “It’s so sad to lose somebody like her” and that residents are feeling “a deep sense of loss” over her death.
A MESSAGE UNANSWERED
Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., said she was close with Adam Lanza’s mother and sent her a message on Facebook on Friday morning asking how she was doing. Nancy Lanza never responded.
Marsha Lanza described Nancy Lanza as a good mother and kind-hearted.
If her son had needed counseling, “Nancy wasn’t one to deny reality,” she told The Associated Press late Friday.
Marsha Lanza said her husband saw Adam as recently as June and recalled nothing out of the ordinary about him.
Lanza’s parents filed for divorce in 2008, according to court records. His father, Peter Lanza, lives in Stamford, Conn., and works as a tax director for General Electric.
HOPE AND COMFORT
Hundreds of people stood outside Friday night at the St. Rose of Lima church in Newtown, some of them holding hands in circles and saying prayers. Others lit candles and sang “Silent Night.”
“Many of us today and in the coming days will rely on what we have been taught and what we believe, that there is faith for a reason,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said at the vigil Mass.
Even though there were 26 candles on the altar, Monsignor Robert Weiss said it was important to remember everyone who died, including Lanza and his mother.
“Ours is not to judge or to question,” he told reporters after the service. “But we are really holding in our hearts especially the children and the staff of the school.”
“These 20 children were just beautiful, beautiful children,” Weiss said. “These 20 children lit up this community better than all these Christmas lights we have. … There are a lot brighter stars up there tonight because of these kids.”
Weiss said he spent much of the day trying to console those who had lost a child or other family member, adding that he had no answers for their questions of how something so horrible could happen.
But through their sorrow, some parents found solace in remembering their loved ones, he said. One father whose son was killed recalled how his boy had made his first soccer goal this year.