The American flag was flying at half mast over the White House on Friday in honor of the victims who died in the most deadliest elementary school shooting spree in U.S. history.
A masked gunman opened fire killing 27 people, 20 of them children between the ages of 5 and 10 in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday morning.
The shooter, who has been identified as Adam Lanza, (20), committed one of the deadliest school massacres in U.S. history.
Lanza walked into a classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School shortly after 9:30am on Friday morning. According to the New York Times, he shot 20 children and six adults before he killed himself inside the school. His mother was found shot dead at the home she shared with Lanza. A total of 28 are dead, including the gunman.
One 9-year-old student, who was in the school gym when the shootings occured, described what he heard.
“We were in the gym, and I heard really loud bangs,'’ said the boy.
“We thought that someone was knocking something over. And we heard yelling, and we heard gunshots. We heard lots of gunshots. We heard someone say, ‘Put your hands up.’ I heard, ‘Don’t shoot.’ We had to go into the closet in the gym. Then someone came and told us to run down the hallway. There were police at every door. There were lots of people crying and screaming.'’
In a nationally televised address on Friday afternoon a visibly distraught President Obama expressed his dismay over the heinous crime.
“The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.”
After briefly pausing to compose himself he added: “They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.'’
He added: “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in these past few years and each time I learn the news I react not as a president but as anyone else would as a parent and that was especially true today,'’ Mr. Obama said on Friday afternoon. “I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that i do.”
According to media reports Newtown police called State police after 9:30 am.
“On- and off-duty troopers responded to the school, and with Newtown police immediately upon arrival entered the school and began an active shooter search,” Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police told reporters.
In Newtown, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy told to reporters: “A tragedy of unspeakable terms played out in the community.”
He said that it “will leave a mark on this community and every family impacted. I only ask that all of our citizens here in the United States and around the world who have already offered their assistance to remember all of the victims in their prayers.”
The shooting is second deadliest school shooting in US history after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead.
Sandy Hook Elementary School serves grades Kindergarten to fourth grade in the Newtown School District.
There are approximately 626 students enrolled in classes at Sandy Hook Elementary, with another 46 faculty members, Newtown Patch reports.
The school is located in Newtown, Conn is about 60 miles northeast of New York City. It was a popular hub for Irish immigrants who settled there in the mid 1800s and found work on the railroads.
"The Irish were very polarizing socially, religiously, and politically in town," said Daniel Cruson, the town historian, in a 2007 interview.
"There was very little Catholic presence in town when the Irish moved in, and with the increase in the Irish population, St. Rose (Roman Catholic Church) saw a big lift in membership, for instance."