The gunman who slaughtered 20 young children in Connecticut stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with hundreds of bullets for a military-style assault rifle and handguns, and shot himself when police closed in, officials said on Sunday.
A more detailed picture of Adam Lanza’s stunning attack on the school in Newtown emerged as worshippers filled Sunday services to mourn the victims and President Barack Obama headed to Connecticut to console the shattered town.
Lanza, 20, who was identified as the gunman by police for the first time on Sunday, shot his way into the school on Friday, firing away at students and staff with a Bushmaster AR 15 rifle, officials said.
He also carried two handguns and hundreds of bullets in “multiple” high-capacity magazines of about 30 rounds each, and had a fourth weapon in reserve - a shotgun in his car outside, Connecticut state police Lieutenant Paul Vance said.
“The Bushmaster was used … in the school in its entirety and the handgun was used to take his own life,” Vance said, adding that Lanza’s motive for the massacre was not known.
All the dead children were either 6 or 7 years old, feeding more emotion into a revived debate about whether stricter gun laws could prevent future mass shootings in the United States.
“If this doesn’t shake the consciousness of the country about doing better to protect our children, I don’t know what will,” said Pedro Segarra, mayor of Hartford, the state capital.
While townspeople grieved, investigators examined forensic evidence and scoured the crime scene in a process likely to extend for weeks. Many more witnesses needed to be interviewed, possibly including children who survived the attack, Vance said.