December 17, 2012

Gunman carried hundreds of rounds of ammo

Police say there was enough to kill almost all of the students if given enough time.

By MATT APUZZO and PAT EATON-ROBB/The Associated Press

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The gunman in the Connecticut shooting rampage was carrying an arsenal of hundreds of rounds of especially deadly ammunition — enough to kill just about every student in the school if given enough time, authorities said Sunday, raising the chilling possibility that the bloodbath could have been far worse.

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Kathy Murdy, left, and her husband, Rich, react Saturday in Newtown, Conn., as they look at the list of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The Associated Press

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This 2005 photo provided by neighbor Barbara Frey and verified by Richard Novia shows Adam Lanza. Authorities have identified Lanza as the gunman who killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday, inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. Novia was the school district's former head of security, and he advised the school technology club that Adam and his older brother belonged to.

Barbara Frey via The Associated Press

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Adam Lanza shot himself in the head just as he heard police drawing near to the classroom where he was slaughtering helpless children, but he had more ammunition at the ready in the form of multiple, high-capacity clips each capable of holding 30 bullets.

The disclosure on Sunday sent shudders throughout this picturesque New England community as grieving families sought to comfort each other during church services devoted to impossible questions like that of a 6-year-old girl who asked her mother: "The little children, are they with the angels?"

With so much grieving left to do, many of Newtown's 27,000 people wondered whether life could ever return to normal. And as the workweek was set to begin, parents weighed whether to send their own children back to school.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said the shooter decided to kill himself when he heard police closing in about 10 minutes into the attack.

"We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that decided to take his own life," Malloy said on ABC's "This Week."

Police said they found hundreds of unused bullets at the school, which enrolled about 450 students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

"There was a lot of ammo, a lot of clips," said state police Lt. Paul Vance. "Certainly a lot of lives were potentially saved."

The chief medical examiner has said the ammunition was the type designed to break up inside a  victim's body and inflict the maximum amount of damage, tearing apart bone and tissue.

By late afternoon, President Barack Obama arrived to console families and speak at a vigil in memory of the 26 teachers and schoolchildren who were killed in the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

Newtown officials couldn't say whether Sandy Hook Elementary School would ever reopen. The school district was considering sending surviving students to an empty school in nearby Monroe. But for many parents, it was much too soon to contemplate resuming school-day routines.

"We're just now getting ready to talk to our son about who was killed," said Robert Licata, the father of a boy who was at the school during the shooting but escaped harm. "He's not even there yet."

Jim Agostine, superintendent of schools in nearby Monroe, said plans were being made for students from Sandy Hook to attend classes in his town this week.

The road ahead for Newtown was clouded with grief.

"I feel like we have to get back to normal, but I don't know if there is normal anymore," said Kim Camputo, mother of two children, ages 5 and 10, who attend a different school. "I'll definitely be dropping them off and picking them up myself for a while."

Also Sunday, a Connecticut official said the gunman's mother was found dead in her pajamas in bed, shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle. The killer then went to the school with guns he took from his mother, got inside by breaking a window and began blasting his way through the building.

Federal agents have concluded that Lanza visited an area shooting range, but they do not know whether he actually practiced shooting there.

Ginger Colburn, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, would not identify the range or say how recently he was there.

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