Sandy Hook School Shooting: 6 Latest Developments in Newtown, Conn., Tragedy
America is in mourning after 26 people — 20 young students and six adults — lost their lives after gunman Adam Lanza opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday.
As the country sends condolences to the small New England town, President Barack Obama consoled the community reeling from the tragedy on Sunday, when he spoke at a night vigil service in remembrance of the victims. Though he did not address gun control directly, Obama pledged change in memory of the children and adults slain in the school shooting.
“We're not doing enough. And we will have to change," he said. "We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and it is true."
"No single law, no set of laws, can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society,” he continued. “But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this."
The vigil marked the fourth time in his presidency that Obama has offered solace to a community in the wake of a mass shooting. Before taking the podium for his nationally televised speech, the president met with families of the victims and with the first responders who were on the scene following the shooting.
Read on for the latest developments in the tragedy that's gripped the nation.
1. Burials of the victims begin. Newtown is set to lay to rest two of the 20 children who lost their lives when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. The first funerals are for 6-year-old boys Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner.
2. Adam Lanza's former babysitter is shocked. "Adam always struck me as a really introverted kid," Ryan Kraft, who babysat Lanza 10 years ago, told KCAL in Los Angeles, Calif. "He was really really quiet. And whenever we were doing something, whether he was building Legos or playing video games, he was really focused on it, like he was in his own world." But he never dreamed Lanza would become a mass murderer. "Nothing went through my head," Kraft told KABC in Los Angeles of his reaction to news of the Sandy Hook shooting. "I just got really sick to my stomach and I just couldn't think for a while. I was shaking."
3. Sandy Hook Elementary re-opening remains distant. Classes were cancelled for Monday. Now the district is making plans to enroll surviving Sandy Hook pupils to a former school building in a neighboring town about 15 minutes away. While work crews got to preparing Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, Conn., on Sunday, no date has been set for the children to resume classes. "It is important that the Sandy Hook students get back to school quickly in an environment that is familiar and safe," James Agostine, Monroe schools superintendent, said in a statement.
4. Imitator sparks panic. A teenager opened fire at a private medical clinic in Paysandú, Uruguay, on Saturday, admitting to authorities that he was trying to imitate the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, according to NY Daily News. After the 18-year-old fired three shots, police stepped in and detained the gunman. No one was injured in the incident.
5. Movie premieres postponed. Tom Cruise's new action flick Jack Reacher did not premiere in Pittsburg, Pa., on Saturday as previously planned. "Our hearts go out to all those who lost loved ones," Paramount Pictures said in a statement, adding that it postponed the red carpet event "out of honour and respect for the families of the victims whose lives were senselessly taken." Parental Guidance, the new Billy Crystal and Bette Midler-led comedy, also called off its Los Angeles, Calif., premiere, which was set for Saturday.
6. Morgan Freeman statement was a hoax. The day following the massacre, a statement blaming the media for sensationalizing the tragedy spread like wildfire across the Internet after it was attributed to actor Morgan Freeman. But the actor's publicist has said his client never made or posted any such statement. Freeman's camp is currently trying to determine the origin of the hoax.