Newtown, Conn., residents reeling from the massacre of 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school on Friday are searching for answers about the gunman’s motive.
Police have said that they are “working backwards” to piece together the “why” behind the mass shooting in this town of about 27,000 about 60 miles northeast of New York City. A noon Saturday prayer service is scheduled for St. John's Episcopal Church in Sandy Hook, a section of Newtown.
Newtown Police Lt. George Sinko, the department’s public information officer, told Patch Saturday morning that investigators have no sense of what prompted the gunman to act.
“There is no sense of motive at this time,” Sinko said.
Though Connecticut State Police have declined to identify the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, he is being widely identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza. According to NBC News, three weapons used in the shootings—two 9 mm handguns and a rifle—were legally purchased and registered to Lanza’s mother, a teacher at the school whom police say was found dead at her Sandy Hook home.
Parents of schoolchildren at the scene Friday told Patch that the school was locked and that all visitors needed to be buzzed in. Sinko said Saturday that the gunman appeared to have blasted his way inside.
Police radio dispatches aired by CNN reveal harrowing early communications to emergency responders who arrived at the elementary school around 9:40 a.m. Friday.
"Caller is indicating she thinks that someone is shooting in the building," a dispatcher says. "The front glass has been broken."
And later: "All units, the individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire. Units are responding to Sandy Hook school as this time. The shooting appears to have stopped. The school is in lockdown."
According to Sinko, the gunman may have shot out glass next to the front door of the school.
“We say that because the window next to the door was shattered. We are still investigating," Sinko said.
Sinko said investigators are sorting through a “tremendous amount of evidence."
Much of the investigators’ work involves checking motor vehicles, Sinko said.
More links to Newtown Patch’s coverage:
- Reaction: Sandy Hook School Shooting
- Police Raid Sandy Hook Home Hours After Shooting
- [PHOTOS] Newtown School Shooting