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Slaughter in Connecticut: 20 Children, 6 Adults Dead in Kindergarten Massacre

- Craig Brown and Jon Queally, staff writers

Latest reports from the school massacre in Connecticut put the number of dead at 26; including 20 children and 6 adults, making it the second most deadly school shootings in the nation's history - surpassed only by the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech when 33 people were killed.

Eighteen young children among the dead in the latest US gun slaughter. Lt. Governor Malloy joined State Police Lt. Paul Vance at press conference just after 3:30 to express his regret and give thanks for the outpouring of early support and sympathy for the victims and their families.

For his part, Vance confirmed that 18 children were pronounced dead inside the school and two later at a local hospital. He confirmed that the perpetrator, 20-year-old Adam Lanza—who seemed to be acting alone—was dead at the scene, bringing the total count of dead from the school to 27. He said the investigation was ongoing and positive identications of all the victims had not yet been determined.

Vance also confirmed there was a secondary crime scene in Newtown, but would not discuss details.

Subsequent news updates found that Lanza's mother, previously thought to be among the dead at the school, in fact, had been found dead at the family home. It appears Lanza shot and killed her before driving to the school where he carried out the massacre.

NBC News reports that the guns used in all the killing were legally registered to Lanza's mother.

UPDATE 4:12 pm ET: The Associated Press clarifies what were confusing earlier reports about the identity of the suspected shooter:

A law enforcement official says the suspect in the Connecticut school shootings is 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher at the school where the shootings occurred. A second law enforcement official says the boy's mother, Nancy Lanza, is presumed dead.

The first official says Adam Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., is being questioned by police. An earlier report from a law enforcement official mistakenly transposed the brothers' first names.

Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the developing criminal investigation.

The first official said Adam Lanza is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

UPDATE 3:40 pm ET: Law enforcement officials have not confirmed but media outlets are reporting that the suspected shooter in Connecticut today is 24-year-old Ryan Lanza.

Media are also reporting that Lanza's mother, a kindergarten teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where the shooting took place, is among the dead and that her classroom seems to be where the massacre was concentrated inside the school.

Unconfirmed and changing stories suggested that another of Lanza's relatives, possibly his father, had been found dead at the separate location which may have been the family home. And AP reported that Lanza's younger brother, who was not named, may have been taken into custody, but the police did not suggest he was involved in the violence.

UPDATE 2:58 pm ET

CNN reports:

At a news conference Friday afternoon, state police Lt. Paul Vance declined to put a number on the deaths. He would say only that there had been "several fatalities." Police were waiting to notify families before releasing details, but he reassured nervous residents that the school was secure, the danger past.

The gunman is dead, his body in a classroom, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. A law enforcement identified the suspected shooter as Ryan Lanza, who was in his 20s. Police have recovered two weapons from the suspect, a Glock and a Sig Sauer, the source said. It's unclear if police killed the suspect.

As the Huffington Post points out:

A quick search of Facebook shows what appears to be Lanza's page. At this time, The Huffington Post cannot confirm the authenticity of Lanza's page, though the details on it fit the apparent profile of the alleged shooter.

It shows Lanza as a resident of Hoboken, N.J., with a hometown of Newtown, Conn. He appears to be student or have some connection to Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., as he is a member of Quinnipiac's Facebook network.

AP released this video of an earlier State Police news conference:

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State police personnel led children from the school, following the shooting. (Shannon Hicks/NewtownBee.com)

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UPDATE 12:54 pm ET: The Associated Press is now reporting:

An official with knowledge of a the shooting tells AP that "27 people are dead, including 18 children."

Reports say that an entire kindergarten classroom is unaccounted for.

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UPDATE 12:13 pm ET: The Hartford Courant is reporting:

Multiple people, including children, have been killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The number of victims is unclear. Many of the shootings took place in a kindergarten classroom, sources said.

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UPDATE 10:55 am ET:

Connecticut State police are responding to a report of a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, school officials said.

Police are reporting a number of injured. The nature of their injuries is not clear.

State police sources said one shooter is dead. Earlier reports of a second shooter are unconfirmed.

Shortly after 9:40 am ET, police reported that a shooter was in the main office of the school. A person in one room had “numerous gunshot wounds,” police said.

Groups of students — some crying, some holding hands — were being escorted away from the school by their teachers and police. Some students were still in the school at 10:30 am ET, parents said.

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