At least one gunman attacked a suburban Connecticut elementary school Friday, killing at least two dozen people, including 18 children, law enforcement sources said.
At a televised news conference from Newtown, Conn., State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance refused to give an exact number pending notification of the families. Other reports place the number of dead at 27, including the children.
“There were several fatalities at scene, students and staff,” Vance said. “There will be no other information until families are told.”
The gunman was dead at the scene, Vance said, adding that there was no longer any danger to the public.
“It’s still an evolving crime scene and it’s just hours old,” Daniel Curtin, a FBI special agent in Connecticut, said. “And it’s obviously very tragic. All we’re saying is that the FBI and our agents have a presence there to assist in any way possible. Because right now it’s a Connecticut state and local investigation at this point. But in times of trial like this we work together.”
Law enforcement sources in Washington said the gunman was in his early 20s and was the father or another relative of one of the children. He had four or more weapons and was wearing a bulletproof vest.
A weapon was recovered at the scene.
According to sources, the event began with an argument with the principal. Some of the staffers were shot first, then the gunman advanced on a classroom, shooting.
Carney wouldn't say whether the shooting would make gun control a higher priority on the president's agenda, but he said there would be a day for discussion on that policy issue.
“But I don't think today is that day,” he said.
At least three wounded have been taken to a hospital in Danbury, Newtown Mayor Mark D. Boughton confirmed.
“I can’t discuss who they are but some injuries are serious,” Boughton said.
In a statement posted on its website, Danbury Hospital said: “To date, three patients have been transported to Danbury Hospital from the scene.
"Out of abundance of caution and not because of any direct threat our building is under lockdown. This allows us simply to focus on the important work at hand,” the hospital stated.
Officials were still investigating the incident, which began at about 9:40 a.m. EST at the school in Newtown, a town of about 27,000 people.
Within hours, officials were reporting that the gunman was found dead and two handguns were recovered at the scene.
Stephen Delgiadice told reporters that his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.
“It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Conn., which we always thought was the safest place in America,” he said.
The superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles from New York City. Nearby schools also were locked down as a security measure.