Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre, Newtown, Connecticut – Update


unbearable tragedy copy

“I don’t think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day,” Dawn Hochsprung said before unimaginable evil visited.

Update: 12/16: The police are now saying there were four weapons, one was a long rifle, two were pistols and I don’t know what the other one was.

There are reports now that there was no altercation with staff.

The stories are all over the place so the only thing that’s getting posted from this point on are directly from police or victims. Every media outlet is reporting something different or erroneous.

Update: 15:24: News outlets are reporting that Adam Lanza’s mother enjoyed target shooting and liked to take her sons with her.  Adam apparently tried to buy an assault rifle leading up to the killing spree and was turned down. He reportedly had an altercation with 4 of the staff members the day before the murders and 3 of the 4 are now deceased.

Reports now say that the mother did not ever work at the school but that Adam Lanza did attend that school.

Original Story: After the shooting, when the teachers and their children lined up at the firehouse for a count at about 10 or 11 am, they realized that two entire first grade classes were missing. The parents were present at this time.

Unconfirmed media reports:

  • The gunman carried his brother’s ID to the murder scene and his brother, Ryan Lanza, was and is being blamed on twitter and Facebook. Ryan Lanza has reportedly not spoken to his brother for two years.
  • The killer shot his mother in the face according to several police reports before going to the school. She was home schooling Adam.
  • The gunman was mentally handicapped and, according to one neighbor interviewed by abc News, he terrorized neighbors and friends for years.
  • He was intelligent and an avid gamer. We don’t know the types of games he played.
  • He shot children and teachers in the hall and then got into two first grade classrooms and shot everyone he could.
  • Two teachers who were shot went into the hall to find out what was going on and to stop it. A custodian ran to help and he has survived.
  • The gunman was seen by schoolmates as a “weirdo” and was taunted in school according to two students interviewed.
  • The illnesses the gunman was diagnosed with do suggest strong medications such as psychotropic drugs might have been necessary.
  • There are some indications that the shooter had some type of altercation at the school in the day or days prior to the murders.
  • According to one person who self-identified as a friend of the family, the murderer is reported to have an illness which prevented him from feeling physical pain.
  • A new and tight security system had just been installed by the Principal, Dawn Hochsprung.

A first grade teacher on how she reacted:

The Sandy Hook killer appears to have shot his way into the school. He started shooting from the minute he entered the school according to one report. Someone, whom many are reporting was the principal, turned on the loudspeaker system, which warned the teachers and saved lives.

She and the school psychologist didn’t hesitate to run out of a meeting to help when they heard the gunshots. The Principal was killed running after the killer. The psychologist was also murdered.

One teacher remarkably used her body to hold the classroom door shut because there was no lock. She was shot in the arm and leg. [WSJ blog]

The Sheriffs, and state and local police have been wonderful and impressive. They have said that very good evidence has been uncovered which will explain how and why the gunman committed this crime:

Ms. Jacobs, a library assistant was able to lockdown two classrooms because of what she heard on the loudspeaker system:

President Obama:

Rudy Giuliani:

Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung
Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, age 47

The Principal Dawn Hochsprung, a mother herself, was described as knowledgeable, passionate, and very well-liked. Everyone loved her: 

She was very committed to children,” Robert Cronin, her former Superintendent, said. “She really took her work very seriously…Really what she wanted was to develop and establish a really good school and a place for youngsters, and I think she worked to that end every day. She was a very hard worker and I think really understood kids and families very well…parents liked her a great deal…”

Dawn Czaplicki, who had known the principal since their own high school days, remembered her as “a mature and very smart young lady full of life and always had a smile on her face that could only warm your heart.”

Hochsprung’s niece, MaryAnn Suarez of Naugatuck, told Newtown Patch that her aunt devoted her life to the kids in her school.

“In every school she worked at, every teacher was her friend, she was every child’s friend,” Suarez said. According to Suarez, Hochsprung was a married mother of two daughters and four grandchildren.

Dawn’s friend said:

“Dawn, she was like your mother, your friend, your grandmother, your teacher, your protector, everything all in one,” Singley recalled. “She was the best person to have on your side.

CNN reported that Hochsprung recently installed a new security system at the school to enhance safety. In a letter this fall to school, Hochsprung said every visitor would be required to ring the doorbell at the front entrance after the doors locked at 9:30 a.m. Staff implemented a visual monitoring system to determine entry. Parents and visitors then had to report directly to the main office and sign in and would also be asked for photo identification if staff didn’t recognize them. West Hartford News

book fairy
Photo of the book fairy tweeted by an enthusiastic Principal Dawn Hochsprung

via HuffPo

…Hochsprung was an enthusiastic innovator. When the staff raised money for an adopt-a-family program, she tweeted a picture of their efforts. When the school welcomed military veterans to a breakfast, she was there to celebrate it. The school library had begun an ebook lending program. And last week, Hochsprung and other staff launched an “Appy Hour” to discuss mobile applications that supported school curriculum.

Earlier this year, she approached first-grade teacher Kaitlin Roig about forming a running club, according to the Newton Bee. Roig created a “Marathon Mondays” group that ran one mile at a time over the course of many weeks.

Through her Twitter account, Hochsprung rejoiced at the sight of her Sandy Hook students writing under a shady tree in the “beautified courtyard.”..


Police scanner:

God bless and protect the victims of the Sandy Hook Massacre. Our feelings are similar to those we felt during 911. It is a tragedy of epic proportions when innocent teachers and babies are murdered.