UPDATE 5:39 p.m. The latest from the Associated Press:
A man killed his mother at home and then opened fire Friday inside the elementary school where she taught, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom.
The 20-year-old killer, carrying two handguns, committed suicide at the school. The rampage, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead in 2007.
"Our hearts are broken today," a tearful President Barack Obama, struggling to maintain his composure, said at the White House. He called for "meaningful action" to prevent such shootings. "As a country, we have been through this too many times," he said.
Police shed no light on the motive for the attack on two classrooms. The gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, was believed to suffer from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to discuss it.
Panicked parents looking for their children raced to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a prosperous New England community of about 27,000 people 60 miles northeast of New York City. Police told youngsters at the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school to close their eyes as they were led from the building.
Schoolchildren — some crying, others looking frightened — were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders.
Law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity said that Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, and then drove to the school in her car with three guns, including a high-powered rifle that he apparently left in the back. Authorities said he shot up two classrooms, but they otherwise gave no details on how the attack unfolded.
A custodian ran through the halls, warning of a gunman on the loose, and someone switched on the intercom, alerting people in the building to the attack — and perhaps saving many lives — by letting them hear the hysteria apparently going on in the school office, a teacher said.
Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.
State police Lt. Paul Vance said 28 people in all were killed, including the gunman, and a woman who worked at the school was wounded.
Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, but a law enforcement official said he was not believed to have had any role in the rampage. Investigators were searching his computers and phone records, but he told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the unfolding investigation.
At one point, a law enforcement official mistakenly identified the gunman as Ryan Lanza. Brett Wilshe, a friend of Ryan Lanza's, said Lanza told him the gunman may have had his identification. Ryan Lanza has a Facebook page that posted updates Friday afternoon that read, "It wasn't me" and "I was at work."
Hundreds of people packed a church and spilled outside in Connecticut to remember the victims.
With the church filled to capacity, hundreds of people stood outside Friday night at the St. Rose of Lima church in Newtown, some of them holding hands in circles and saying prayers. Others lit candles and sang "Silent Night."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was among the speakers.
Anthony Bloss, whose three daughters survived the shooting, says they heard gunshots but they are not talking much about the shooting. He says he feels completely numb.
Tracy Hoekenga says she wanted to come to the vigil because she is struggling with many emotions. Her two boys survived the shooting.
Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher. "That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."
He said the shooter didn't utter a word.
Theodore Varga said he was in a meeting with other fourth-grade teachers when he heard the gunfire, but there was no lock on the door.
He said someone had turned on the intercom so that "you could hear people in the office. You could hear the hysteria that was going on. I think whoever did that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror that was transpiring."
Also, a custodian ran around, warning people there was a gunman, Varga said.
"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!'" Varga said. "So he was actually a hero." The teacher said he did not know if the custodian survived.
Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and ran to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was uninjured, heard a scream come over the intercom. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.
"Everyone was just traumatized," he said.
Mary Pendergast said her 9-year-old nephew was in the school at the time of the shooting but wasn't hurt after his music teacher helped him take cover in a closet.
Richard Wilford's 7-year-old son, Richie, told him that he heard a noise that sounded like "cans falling." The boy said a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the children huddle in the corner until police arrived.
"There's no words," Wilford said. "It's sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him."
On Friday afternoon, family members were led away from a firehouse that was being used as a staging area, some of them weeping. One man, wearing a T-shirt without a jacket, put his arms around a woman as they walked down the middle of the street, oblivious to everything around them. Another woman with tears rolling down her face walked by, carrying a car seat with a baby inside.
"Evil visited this community today and it's too early to speak of recovery, but each parent, each sibling, each member of the family has to understand that Connecticut — we're all in this together. We'll do whatever we can to overcome this event," Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
Adam Lanza and his mother lived in a well-to-do part of Newtown where neighbors are doctors or hold white-collar positions at companies such as General Electric, Pepsi and IBM.
Three guns were found — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a .223-caliber rifle in the back of a car.
The shootings instantly brought to mind such tragedies as the Columbine High School massacre that killed 15 in 1999 and the July shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead.
"You go to a movie theater in Aurora and all of a sudden your life is taken," Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis said. "You're at a shopping mall in Portland, Ore., and your life is taken. This morning, when parents kissed their kids goodbye knowing that they are going to be home to celebrate the holiday season coming up, you don't expect this to happen."
He added: "It has to stop, these senseless deaths."
Obama's comments on the tragedy amounted to one of the most outwardly emotional moments of his presidency.
"The majority of those who died were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," Obama said.
He paused for several seconds to keep his composure as he teared up and wiped an eye. Nearby, two aides cried and held hands as they listened to Obama.
"They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own," Obama continued about the victims. "Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children."
UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: A Sandy Hook teacher spoke with KPCC's AirTalk earlier in the day; listen to the full interview below:
You can also join the discussion on the AirTalk page or in the comments below.
UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: Experts say kids shouldn't be exposed to TV coverage of shootings. Read more from KPCC's Deepa Fernandes.
UPDATE 1:32 p.m.: AP reports that 26 people were killed by the shooter at a Connecticut school, including 20 children. A man opened fire inside the elementary school where his mother worked as a teacher, blasting his way through two rooms as youngsters cowered helplessly.
The gunman killed himself and another person was found dead at a second scene, bringing the toll to 28, authorities said.
UPDATE 1:19 p.m.: 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 12:46 p.m. A timeline with some of the deadliest shootings in world history:
— KPCC & AP
UPDATE 12:42 pm. The AP reports that the suspect drove to the scene of the shootings in his mother's car. Three guns were found at the scene — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols — and a .223-caliber rifle. The rifle was recovered from the back of a car at the school. The two pistols were recovered from inside the school.
UPDATE 12:33 p.m. Included below is the LAUSD's guide for children dealing with traumatic stress. (You can also read the Spanish version here.)
UPDATE 12:19 p.m. The Associated Press reports that a law enforcement official is telling them that the suspect is 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, and that his younger brother is being held by police for questioning as a possible second shooter. (UPDATE: Officials now say the suspect is 20-year-old Adam Lanza.)
The law enforcement official says the boys' mother, Nancy Lanza, works at the school as a teacher.
The official also said Ryan Lanza's girlfriend and another friend are missing in New Jersey.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the suspect is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the developing criminal investigation.
Below: An AP timeline of some of the deadliest shootings in world history:
— Aug. 5, 2012: Army veteran Wade Michael Page kills five men and one woman and wounds three other people, including a police officer, before taking his own life at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin outside Milwaukee.
— July 20, 2012: Twelve people are killed when a gunman enters an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, releases a canister of gas and then opens fire during opening night of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises." James Holmes, a 24-year-old former graduate student at the University of Colorado, has been charged in the deaths.
— March 11, 2012: Sixteen Afghan villagers, including nine children, are killed during a predawn attack in which Army prosecutors have charged Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 39.
— July 22, 2011: Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik kills 77 in Norway in twin attacks: a bombing in downtown Oslo and a shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital. The self-styled anti-Muslim militant admitted both attacks.
— Jan. 8, 2011: A gunman kills six people and wounds 13 others, including then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in a shooting spree outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. Doctors say Jared Lee Loughner, who has been charged in the deaths, suffers from schizophrenia.
— Nov. 5, 2009: Thirteen soldiers and civilians were killed and more than two dozen wounded when a gunman walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, and opened fire. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.
— April 30, 2009: Farda Gadyrov, 29, enters the prestigious Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in the capital, Baku, armed with an automatic pistol and clips. He kills 12 people before killing himself as police close in.
— April 3, 2009: A 41-year-old man opened fire at an immigrant community center in Binghamton, N.Y., killing 11 immigrants and two workers. Jiverly Wong, a Vietnamese immigrant and a former student at the center, killed himself as police rushed to the scene.
— March 10, 2009: Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people — including his mother, four other relatives, and the wife and child of a local sheriff's deputy — across two rural Alabama counties. He then killed himself.
— Sept. 23, 2008: Matti Saari, 22, walks into a vocational college in Kauhajoki, Finland, and opens fire, killing 10 people and burning their bodies with firebombs before shooting himself fatally in the head.
— Nov. 7, 2007: After revealing plans for his attack in YouTube postings, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen fires kills eight people at his high school in Tuusula, Finland.
— April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, kills 32 people and himself on Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va.
— April 26, 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, who had been expelled from school in Erfurt, Germany, kills 13 teachers, two former classmates and policeman, before committing suicide.
— April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.
— April 28, 1996: Martin Bryant, 29, bursts into cafeteria in seaside resort of Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia, shooting 20 people to death. Driving away, he kills 15 others. He was captured and imprisoned.
— March 13, 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, kills 16 kindergarten children and their teacher in elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and then kills himself.
— Oct. 16, 1991: A deadly shooting rampage took place in Killeen, Texas, as George Hennard opened fire at a Luby's Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life. 20 others were wounded in the attack.
— June 18, 1990: James Edward Pough shoots people at random in a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office in Jacksonville, Fla., killing 10 and wounding four, before killing himself.
— Dec. 6, 1989: Marc Lepine, 25, bursts into Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique college, shooting at women he encounters, killing nine and then himself.
— Aug. 19, 1987: Michael Ryan, 27, kills 16 people in small market town of Hungerford, England, and then shoots himself dead after being cornered by police.
— July 12, 1976: Edward Charles Allaway, a custodian in the library of California State University, Fullerton, fatally shot seven fellow employees and wounded two others.
— Aug. 20, 1986: Pat Sherrill, 44, a postal worker who was about to be fired, shoots 14 people at a post office in Edmond, Okla. He then kills himself.
— July 18, 1984: James Oliver Huberty, an out-of-work security guard, kills 21 people in a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty.
— Aug. 1, 1966: Charles Whitman opened fire from the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin, killing 16 people and wounding 31.
UPDATE 11:29 a.m.: The LAPD is actively increasing patrols around schools due to the shootings in Newtown, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas of the Valley Bureau.
— KPCC staff
— KPCC staff
UPDATE 10:50 a.m.: State police and Roy Occhiogrosso, a spokesperson for Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, spoke to the press at about 10:40 a.m. Friday.
Occhiogrosso said the governor is horrified by what has taken place, and was meeting with families at the moment. He said Malloy would brief the press later in the day.
Lieutenant Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police told reporters that at about 9:30 a.m. ET, state police received a call from local authorities requesting backup for an incident taking place at the school. State police searched the school and set up a staging area for the students and employees.
"The shooter is deceased within the building," Vance said. "There is a great deal of search warrant activity" underway, he added.
Vance took no questions and did not confirm the number of dead, but told reporters: "the scene is secure, the situation is secure."
UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: The Associated Press is reporting that there are 27 dead – including 18 children, according to an official with knowledge of the Connecticut school shooting.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still under way. Authorities have not confirmed the figure, but are expected to hold a press conference later today.
PREVIOUSLY: The shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded and sent frightened pupils into the parking lot.
The shooter was killed and apparently had two guns, a person with knowledge of the shooting said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way.
It wasn't clear how many people were injured at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
A dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps said a teacher had been shot in the foot and taken to Danbury Hospital. Andrea Rynn, a spokeswoman at the hospital, said it had three patients from the school but she did not have information on the extent or nature of their injuries.
Brenda Lebinski, whose 8-year-old daughter attends the school, was among the parents who raced to check on their children.
"I saw her and it was the happiest moment of my life," she said.
Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was not harmed.
"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.
Lisa Terifay, who was holding her two children outside the school, said she was stunned.
"I still can't believe it's happened in my town," she said.
The superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City. Schools in neighboring towns also were locked down as a precaution.
State police said Newtown police called them around 9:40 a.m. A SWAT team was among the throngs of police to respond.
Photos from the scene showed young students — some crying, others looking visibly frightened — being escorted by adults through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders.
Connecticut's governor was on the scene in Newtown. The White House said Barack Obama was notified of the shooting and his spokesman Jay Carney said the president had "enormous sympathy for families that are affected."
For more details, these local news outlets are covering the story closely:
Below is a Google map with the location of the school:
How are you reacting to the Newtown shooting? Share it privately with a reporter, or let us know in the comments below.