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The Situation Room

Connecticut School Shooting Kills Nearly 30

Aired December 14, 2012 - 18:00   ET


GOV. DAN MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: As you know, there are a number of victims, teachers, support personnel in the building and children, beautiful, beautiful children who had simply come to school to learn and their day ended a very different way than any of us could possibly have imagined, and quite frankly as we stand here today, still can't imagine what transpired there.

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 will do whatever we can to overcome this event. We will get through it. But this is a terrible time for this community and for these families.

Our police personnel and others are doing the utmost to clear this situation as soon as possible and to return these children to their parents or these loved ones to their fellow loved ones as quickly as possible. And we will work with all of the residents of this community and Connecticut to make sure that we do, in fact, get through this.

I was mayor of Stamford on 9/11 when our state lost many of its citizens and I lost a number of my fellow citizens and friends. I never thought that in a public career that I would have to face these kinds of circumstances or that they would visit themselves upon this community or the people of Connecticut.

We will get through this. And our prayers at this time have to go out to the families. And so as I began by thanking those who have expressed their desires to be helpful, the number one way to be helpful is to say a prayer or send a best wish or to be thinking of these individuals who have suffered so mightily today.

Thank you.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's the governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy.

I think we're going to be hearing from Lieutenant Paul Vance as well from the Connecticut State Police. If he comes to those microphones, of course, we're anxious to hear what he says. It looks like he's not speaking over there. But we will continue to monitor what's going on. A horrific, horrific day in Connecticut as we're watching this story unfold. The breaking news continuing to explode not only here in the United States, but around the world. Indeed, we want to welcome our viewers from around the world. The state police lieutenant, Paul Vance, he tells me authorities are interviewing everyone who possibly had any connection to the suspected gunman.

Kate Bolduan is here. She's helping us with our coverage as well. This is a story that continues to resonate for parents, grandparents, loved ones, everyone, those kids, kindergartners, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, and a situation like this unfolds, it's hard to believe.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Everyone has been affected by this and will continue to be affected by this. The governor, I think, said it well and very simply put that evil has visited that town today. I think that's absolutely at least one thing that we can all be sure of that has happened.

The investigation is unfolding. The grieving, though, is only beginning. A church vigil, many are under way and due to start soon in Newtown where this tragedy has unfolded.

Let's bring in our Jason Carroll, who is on the ground there.

Jason, are you at the site of the vigil?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct. That vigil expected to take place just at about 7:00 here at St. Rose of Lima Church.

A little, I had the opportunity to speak the deacon here. It was a very emotional discussion. He told me throughout the day, at least 100 people have come through the doors at the church here trying to find peace, looking for answers, trying to find some sort of comfort. So he has been doing that throughout the day. And this is personal to him.

It's personal to this community. He told me that a number of the victims went to church here. This is where these children had their first communion. This is where they sat in the pews with their parents and listened to sermons. He knew some of the victims and he talked about that just a little earlier. Take a listen.


RICK SCINTO, DEACON: This is a very tight-knit community, and it's a large and dynamic parish. Everybody knows everybody here. I don't know for sure, but I'm sure that quite a few of the kids that we lost today are in this parish.


CARROLL: And I can also tell you that in terms of what people are asking is there are lots of questions. They're asking questions, why? Why did something like this happen? And he said because of the newness of it all, there's no way to try to answer that with something profound. But he did say this, he said, "There are some questions that are only meant for God to answer." And he said, that is what he's telling people. Listen to a little bit more in terms of what he had to say about that.


SCINTO: I heard one of the victims -- I'm not sure about it. But I heard that one of the victims recently she -- I think it was like birthday money. She got her birthday money, her birthday gifts. She donated it to the parish to give to the Hurricane Sandy victims, 6 years old. So that's -- that makes it very, very personal and very intimate.


CARROLL: And that was when he was telling me about a 6-year-old girl, one of the victims, he says, who went to this church. He used to look at this girl every Sunday. So you can imagine how painful it is for him, how painful it is for this community.

Once again, the vigil is expected to take place here at just about 7:00. When I asked what will be happening, he said, this is unlike any vigil obviously they have ever had in the past. And a lot of it's going to be off the cuff. He said there will be a mass. He said it's expected to last for about an hour. He said all we can continue to do throughout the night, throughout the coming days and throughout the cooing weeks is be there and be there try to provide comfort to these grieving families.

BOLDUAN: Jason, it seems the deacon himself is struggling for words and how to cope with this. Has he at all been contacted by any of the families, anyone from the school? It seems it is a very small community there.

CARROLL: He has.

He has been in contact with the families. Some of the other priests here have been down at the firehouse consoling the families throughout the day. And he has children himself. So this is personal for him. They did not go to this elementary school but to another one. But he knew these children. He knew the faculty at the school. The faculty sat in these pews as well.

And so not only does he have to provide comfort to some of the victims, the victims' families, but he also has to try and find understanding himself because in his words, he's got to be the rock. He's got to be the person here providing the support, which is difficult for him. He said what he's going to do is he's going to take a little bit of a break, go home, hug his own daughter, give thanks and come back and provide the support that is so badly needed here.

BOLDUAN: Being that rock much easier said than done at a time like this when such unspeakable tragedy has hit such a small community. Jason Carroll live outside where a vigil will be starting in just about an hour from now. Jason Carroll, thanks so much. BLITZER: What a powerful, powerful report. Let me just remind our viewers what's going on. For those who may just be tuning in, around 9:30, 9:40 a.m. this morning, a man went into a small elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and began killing people, 26 people altogether, six adults and 20 children. This is a small elementary school, the Sandy Hook Elementary School, fewer than 600 children in that school, only grades kindergarten through fourth grade inside.

We have no idea the motive, what was behind what was going on; 26 people were killed and then the shooter, we believe, killed himself. Separately, the mother of the shooter, we believe, was killed separately at a home not far away from this school.

You're looking at live pictures coming in from Newtown, Connecticut, right now. The police are continuing their investigation. And I suspect the Connecticut state police will be briefing us fairly soon.

These are pictures coming in from the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Susan Candiotti is on the scene for us as she's been now for several hours.

Update our viewers. What's the latest, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest is that in addition to trying to piece all of this together to find out the motive, more about the shooter, we also understand that for a few hours now, police took into custody or at least took someone in for questioning, someone who's been identified to us by sources as a brother of the dead shooter here involved in this school incident, the school shooting.

And they're asking him questions about his brother. He is not being called a suspect at this time. But they do want to try to find out at the very minimum what information he may have about the dead gunman here at the school. Also trying to find out more about the mother of the shooter who you know has been identified as a schoolteacher and of course she was found dead, we are told by sources, at a residence nearby the school here.

So all of these pieces and parts of the puzzle being worked out at this moment by investigators to try and find out exactly what led into this and what the timeline was as well, Wolf. For example, was the mother shot before all of this began? We don't know -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We can only imagine. If the shooter, though, Susan, was found dead at the scene, no one shot him, we assume the shooter committed suicide. And all that took place between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. or so, approximately 20 minutes or half an hour. The assumption I have is that the shooter presumably killed his mother at the home before driving over to the school.

CANDIOTTI: That seems to be, of course, a fair assumption here. But no one officially is saying that.

In fact, they haven't even officially released the name of the gunman in this case. We do know from sources they recovered at least three weapons from the scene. Two of them handguns, including a Glock and a Sig Sauer, and another one, a semiautomatic weapon identified as a .223 Bushmaster. We don't know how many bullets were fired.

Of course, you have heard a number of witnesses say there were a lot of bullets that were heard. We also do not know -- been trying to find out, for example, how much ammunition the shooter came to the school with and did he have any extra magazines with him, gun magazines, ammo? Those are the kinds of things we're also trying to find out, Wolf.

BLITZER: We will be getting more information in the hours to come, Susan, thanks very much.

Tom Foreman is joining us now. He's been looking at the layout of this school.

What are you seeing, Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Susan was just raising a good point, as you have, this whole time. Piecing all this together is grim and difficult, difficult work because there are so many moving parts to this equation.

That's what the investigators are trying to do right now. In more than 30 years of covering massacres and school shootings, I'm afraid, I have seen this happen many times. The early hours, it's hard to know exactly what the timeline was, exactly how things unfolded. We're piecing it together as best we can as well.

So take this timeline as being a bit loose but we will work our way through it. About 9:30 this morning in this school, classes were under way here. They had a good crowd in there, about 600 students in the school, 50 faculty members. And at that time, a meeting had just broken out up in the beginning of the school here, a small meeting with the principal, vice principal, the school psychologist and a few other adults up here in a room near the office. School was under way. School actually started at 9:05.

At 9:30, about half an hour under way, they'd be going up there. At 9:40-ish, best we can tell, it's a little bit different depending on whom you talk to, sometime around 9:40 is when it would appear that this gunman enters the building. How? We don't really know. Police have spent an awful lot of time today -- keep seeing pictures of a black car right up here.

They have been looking at that car right here. If that is connected to the crime as we would think and based on what the eyewitnesses have said, that would suggest the gunman came in through the front door here. This little red part here is actually sort of a covered walkway. He would have come in right in through here as best we can tell. And everything that transpired seems to have been somewhere in this general area. It does not spread out through the entire school.

Nonetheless, as soon as he came in, from all we hear from various people there, people throughout this entire building started hearing shots being fired. Some of them thought it sounded like hammering. Some of them heard loud bangs. But some of them also knew what it was. By 9:41, we had calls going in to 911.

The principal, vice principal and school psychologist who were in that meeting came out and went toward the gunfire, according to a witness. They headed toward it, but only the vice principal returned and the vice principal was wounded in the leg or the foot. It's not clear which when he came back into the meeting room there.

Nonetheless, at this point, everything was clearly in the school getting very tense because people know something is going on that's very bad there. Now, the timeline gets even looser at this point because we don't know how the progress of the gunfire went. We know that the people who were in this meeting and witnesses up here said they heard a tremendous number of shots. We know they heard yelling and screaming. Authorities say the actual shooting happened over a relatively short period of time for all the shots that apparently were fired.

And the gunman did not roam around, but, again, generally from all accounts, stayed right in this area in two rooms in terms of where all the shooting happened. And in fact, he was found in one of those rooms. Now, at the same time that all this is happening again, bear in mind, this is a very loose timeline we're talking about here. The teachers are trying to protect students all over this school.

In some cases, they seem to be trying to get some of them out. In many other cases, they're trying to hide them within the school. They're locking the doors, going into lockdown as people described it and say they have to stay there and be safe. Again, that's not really clear because some of the students are talking about being evacuated and it's not clear if a teacher tried to lead them out or as, in this case, law officers were leading them out, which happened a little bit later. The bottom line is, though, as this progressed, the gunfire seems to have stopped. At some point, we're not exactly sure when, law officers arrived on the scene from both the local police and the state police.

Local police have said to the state police, we know we have a serious issue here. It is not clear when in this process the gunman dies somewhere up in here. We do know from lawmen that none of the officers fired a shot during this time. As you suggested a moment ago, Wolf, that would suggest that somehow he shot himself at that point. But we do know that when these officers arrive at the school, they quickly sealed the entire school off and they spread into the school rapidly, locking down everything, making sure there's no other gunman and frankly looking for those children who are hiding in there.

And I know from past school shootings, this can be a very, very dangerous time simply because these officers are possibly looking for a gunman but they're suddenly walking past closets that are opening and people are coming out and they walk past doorways and people emerge behind them. It's a very dangerous, tense time when officers have to be very professional and disciplined and make sure something awful beyond the horrid event that's already happened does not occur.

Bottom line is, those officers went in, they secured the school, they started clearing the kids out of the school. And when all is said and done, this whole event probably took 20 to 25 minutes, maybe 30, Wolf, from a normal morning at school to this tremendously awful event that will be around a long time. And now comes the long, complicated work of figuring out exactly how those events unfolded and when -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Can only imagine the horror that these parents, the kids, they felt as this was unfolding. Tom, thanks very much for that update on what we know right now.

Mary Snow is in Newtown for us as well.

Mary, I understand you just spoke with a mother and a child and a child who was in the school during the shooting?


We're outside a church where people have been coming to come and just say some prayers. A mother took her 9-year-old boy here a short while ago. And he's a third-grader in the school. And he described for me what that horror was like. He said he heard gunshots. He heard yelling and then at one point his teachers told the children to hold hands and to run as fast as they could and to not look into the principal's office as they passed. And he said he did.

They ran out of the school. And then they were taken to a firehouse. And that is where parents were reunited with their children. Obviously, talking to him and his mother, just so stunned. And they have come here just for a short time for some peace. And people have been filing in. There is going to be a vigil here later tonight. And others are coming out talking about stories that they have heard of teachers really trying to protect these children.

BLITZER: Mary, you were outside the suspect's mother's -- the suspect's house, I guess, where the mother was found dead inside. Describe what you saw there.

SNOW: Police were on the scene for several hours and it was blocked off. From where we were standing, I was told by some of the residents that the house was about a quarter of a mile in the road. So we couldn't get that close to the house.

But there were more than a dozen law enforcement vehicles. By the time we got there, the road was blocked off. We saw SWAT teams at the scene. And then in the 3:00 hour, we did see an ambulance leave that house. But the residents were evacuated. One woman I talked to said that police came to her door at around 11:00 in the morning and told her she needed to leave right away. She said she was escorted back for a short time later in the afternoon, but was then told again to get out and as far as I know, is still out of that home.

BLITZER: Mary, we will stay in close touch with you. Obviously you're collecting more information as this story unfolds.

BOLDUAN: As Mary was recounting, her conversation with one student and their mother as this all unfolded early this morning, let's take a listen to another student and her parent as they open up about what happened.


ALEXIS, STUDENT: Because we're like right near the window in our classroom. And we saw police officers and we heard them on the roof and in our building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was pretty shaken up, didn't know who or what happened. I knew there were shooters in the building or a shooter. Just worried about who else was left in the building at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't even seem real. It just doesn't seem like it's even possible. It like you read it in the paper or see it in the news, and you're like, oh, my God, that poor family. And then you have something happen so close to home. It's like -- I think I'm still in shock, to be honest with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then the police, like, were knocking on the door, and they're like, we're evacuating people, we're evacuating people. So, we ran out. There was police about every door. And they were leading down this way, down this way, quick, quick, come on. And then we ran down to the firehouse. There was a man pinned down to the ground with handcuffs on.

And we thought that was a victim. We really didn't get a good glance at him because he was -- there is a car blocking it. Plus, we were running really quick.


BOLDUAN: It may not seem real but you can be sure the reality of this tragedy is setting in for so many families this evening. CNN will be providing updates on ways you can help the victims of this tragedy and their families. Go to for the latest information on that. We will be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just told a little boy about his sister now. Just to see (INAUDIBLE) he said, "I have nobody to play with now." Excuse me.


BLITZER: So many people have been moved, understandably so. I don't know how people can cope right now.

(CROSSTALK) BOLDUAN: Words cannot express. You can just see the sorrow on everyone's face. You can see the pain even in the president's words today. This is just a moment when it is difficult to even wrap your mind around how this could happen in one town.

BLITZER: When the president of the United States has to hold back tears and starts crying speaking to the American people, you understand what is going on.

BOLDUAN: It is a national tragedy.

BLITZER: I spoke just a little while ago with Declan Procaccini. His 8-year-old daughter attends the Sandy Hook Elementary School.


BLITZER: Tell us where you were and what was going on, your connection to the school, Declan.

DECLAN PROCACCINI, PARENT: My daughter is a third grader and she was there actually in her reading class.

And they heard bangs. And thank God for Mrs. Summers (ph), because her reading teacher grabbed my daughter and brought her into a bathroom and locked the door along with another teacher. And in a short time, some police somehow were able to get them out of there and escort them through the hallways. Unfortunately, it was a pretty messy scene for my daughter.

BLITZER: Earlier in the day, I spoke with your wife, Lisa (ph). She says your daughter seems to be OK. You also have a 10-year-old son. How are the kids doing now?

PROCACCINI: I don't know if my daughter is in shock or not, but from what she told me she saw, she is doing incredibly well.

My son is doing great too, but of course there is just a lot of fears at this kind of thing. Everything -- the game has changed from this point onward. So...

BLITZER: What does that mean when you say the game has changed?


PROCACCINI: I mean my -- my kids are already asking when is this going to happen again? It was only a week ago that we were talking about this type of situation. And I said the chances of it happening are one in a zillion at Sandy Hook. And I was wrong about that.

BLITZER: We know, Declan, you knew the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, well. She was killed in this mass murder today. Tell us a little bit about her.

PROCACCINI: Oh, she was just so nice and she loved her job.

And she, actually, on a couple of occasions, went out of her way just to help us with certain things that we were working on with our daughter. I just -- this is all so surreal. So, please forgive me if I am -- if I am a little cloudy right now.

BLITZER: No, we appreciate -- believe me, we appreciate what you're going through. We can't even imagine what you are going through.

John King with us with us as well. He has got a question.

KING: Sir, sadly, in any community when tragedy like this happens, there's always question about the notification systems. How did you first learn, how specific was that information, and obviously the officials at the school were dealing with a tragedy on the scene. But do you think that part of it was handled appropriately?

PROCACCINI: I think they did the best they could do. I don't know how you prepare for something this crazy.

My wife called me. I work down in New York. And my wife called me and told me there was a shooting and so, I rushed home. My wife was already in town. So far the Newtown school system has been great in leaving automatic phone updates with all the parents.

BLITZER: A sad story. Quick question before I let you go, Declan. At some point, you're going to have to make a decision about letting your kids go back to Sandy Hook Elementary School. What are you going to do?

PROCACCINI: I mean, this is all so new. I mean, I have been talking to my kids and just explaining, look, this is what happened. You do your best to communicate with them and do your best to -- you know, it's funny that a bomb hits and there is a lot of smoke and it's still here. I haven't had my -- enough time to really plan, but hopefully by the time they go back to school, I will have done a good enough job of making them feel as comfortable as they can be.

BLITZER: How is your wife, Lisa, doing?

PROCACCINI: Well, she is hanging in there.

BLITZER: Please give all of them our love, our sympathy, our support. We wish -- we wish them only the best.

Declan Procaccini is a parent of the two kids from that Sandy Hook Elementary School.


BLITZER: We're following the breaking news here in THE SITUATION ROOM, one of the worst school shootings in American history, even more horrific because the carnage was at an elementary school.

Here's what we know right now. Police say a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the small Connecticut town of Newtown. These were young kids, including kindergarten -- kindergartners. Terrified children were led out of the school after the shooting this morning, holding onto one another. Parents rushed to the scene to find out if their children were dead or alive.


MAUREEN KARENS: All these parents were waiting for their children to come out. They thought that they were, you know, still alive. There's 20 parents that were just told that their children are dead. It was awful.


BLITZER: Police have not identified the gunman, but they say he did die at the scene, apparently killing himself. We're told the mother of the suspected shooter also has been found dead at her son's home in Newtown.

An emotional President Obama wiped away tears as he offered support and prayers for the families of the victims of the school tragedy.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president but as anybody else would, as a parent. And that was especially true today.

I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.

Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well. For, as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theater in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, and regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now.

In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will everything in my power as president to help. Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.

May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of scripture, heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds.


BLITZER: There you see the White House, a live picture from the White House, flag flying at half-staff. Not only on the White House: all federal buildings in Washington, around the country, military bases in honor of those 26 people who were murdered at that small school in Connecticut.

You know, Kate, it's not often, if ever, you see a president of the United States break down like that.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely not. I mean, he's known to be very stoic, and many even going as far as saying he can come off as, you know, standoffish, even sometimes. But very much not the case today.

He said, our hearts are broken today. I think everyone watching this video and everyone watching how this has all unfolded throughout the day shares that. And they're all asking the same question: how did this happen, why did this happen? And everyone's searching for if there are any kind of words that could be said to try to help these families begin to heal. But we all know that nothing can fill that void right now.

BLITZER: He broke down the first time when he said these kids were 5 years old to 10 years old, and he -- and he spoke as a parent.

BOLDUAN: As soon as he said it.

BLITZER: He's got two girls he sends to school every day. You assume they're safe and secure. They're going to come home every day. Millions and millions of people do that every day. Then what happens like this? All of a sudden, boom, it's such a shock.

Dr. Drew Pinsky is joining us right now for a little analysis.

Dr. Drew, you see the president breaking down. People are breaking down all over the country right now just listening to the president. DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN ANCHOR: Well, Wolf, that's absolutely right. One of the most important things he did there was to show us, reflect for us feelings that we are all feeling.

And I don't know about you, I -- every five minutes, I'm sort of taken over by a wave of a different feeling. I've gone from heartbreak, like he mentioned. And when I see him speak, I'm reminded of that feeling. Then I go to anger and rage and disgust. Ten minutes ago, I was feeling numb and fatigued and depleted. And now I'm back to disgusted again. I'm just completely, completely disgusted that we are here, having this conversation about, yet again, another unbelievably senseless act. There is no reason for this.

But I will tell you this. One of the things the president did say is that we need to say our prayers for the families that have lost someone in Connecticut, which categorically we do. But I will tell you what: each and every one of us have to pay attention to our children in our families tonight, because every family in America is affected by this event.

That amazing interview you played a few moments ago from Declan, the father of a young one at the school, his children were asking him, "Daddy, when is this going to happen again?"

That's the world we live in, Wolf, where some people are being pushed in front of subways. People are opening -- they're not safe in the mall. They're not safe in their elementary school. When is this going to happen again? It's incumbent upon us, our households, our communities, to make sure now it never happens again.

BOLDUAN: And Dr. Drew, how do you begin -- what is your advice to parents as they're watching this? You know, kids are very perceptive and can pick up signals from their parents and can see all this unfolding on the television if they're watching it.

PINSKY: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: What is your advice to parents on how they begin to explain this to children? Because it's -- it's impossible for even us as adults to try to begin to wrap our minds around something like this.

PINSKY: That's right. It's important for to help them make a narrative out of it, to try to identity their feelings, to reflect back to them that it's appropriate to be scared, that it's reasonable to be confused, that this is senseless. But it's really our job to lead our families out of this and make them feel secure.

You know, think about our family systems in this country today. Not every child feels secure and safe in their family. And it is incumbent upon the big people to take care of the little people so that horrible things like this don't happen when they grow up.

So really it's double down, make your kids feel safe. Allow them to express their feelings, but let them know that you will be sure that they grow up and flourish because that is your job. BLITZER: And one quick final question, Dr. Drew. A little child sees mommy or daddy crying right now. They say, "Mommy, Daddy, why are you crying? What do you say?"

PINSKY: You say, "It's good. I'm having feelings about these poor people that have lost something. I'm having a feeling. Don't worry. It's not because of you."

Children will feel that everything that happens in their life is because of them and everything that has happened in the world is going to happen to them. So they feel vulnerable, because other kids have been hurt, and they're going to feel out of control when they see you be emotional. But just express it.

I think the president did a wonderful job today of really modeling that sort of behavior for each and every one of us. But it's also important for us to hear from our leaders that it's going to be OK. The governor of Connecticut said Connecticut will get through. Those are more the reassuring words that we all have to hear so we can, each individual, lead our communities, lead our households.

BLITZER: Dr. Drew Pinsky from our sister network, HLN. Dr. Drew, thanks very much. Powerful, very important words.

Let's take another quick break, resume our special coverage of this horrific tragedy in Connecticut right after this.


BLITZER: Susan Candiotti is on the scene for us in Newtown, Connecticut. Susan, I understand you're getting new information about the shooter.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And contrary to conflicting information that investigators themselves had earlier and had passed on, we can now tell you, according to several sources, that the name of the shooter in this case is Adam Lanza. He is 20 years old, and his brother's name is Ryan Lanza.

It is Adam Lanza, 20 years old, who is the shooter. His brother, Ryan, is the one that was taken away for questioning by authorities in Hoboken, New Jersey, and is expected that he will be released. He is not considered a suspect. We don't know when he will be released.

And we also have this additional information, that the father of the shooter in this case also has been questioned. But there is absolutely no indication that he is considered a suspect in any way in this case. He is divorced from Nancy Lanza, who is identified as a victim in this case. And he remarried and lives in the area, the same area where this shooting occurred.

So that is the new information that we have about now. We have the name of the shooter as Adam Lanza, 20 years old. His older brother, Ryan, 24 years old, is the one who was questioned in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is expected to be released. We don't know when. The father of both of them also questioned for information about the shooter in this case, his son. But there is no indication that the father is considered a suspect in any way -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Just to recap, the video that we saw of somebody being taken away, that is Ryan Lanza -- there it is, courtesy of our affiliate, WCBS, in New York. That is Ryan Lanza. I believe he's 24 years old. He's the older brother of the man now suspected of being the shooter, Adam Lanza, who's 20 years old. There you see the police officer taking Ryan Lanza away.

Their mother, Nancy Lanza, was found dead in the house in Newtown. That's right. Right, Susan?

CANDIOTTI: That's right. That is correct. She was found dead at that residence here in Newtown. And we are still waiting for all of these names to be officially released by authorities. They haven't done so yet. But we've been able to confirm this through several law- enforcement sources.

BLITZER: And the parents were -- are divorced, and so the father lives elsewhere. And there's no indication he had any knowledge of anything along these lines, is that right?

CANDIOTTI: There's no indication of that at all, no indication of that at all, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Susan, thanks for clarifying that. I suspect those microphones behind you will be used fairly soon. The Connecticut state police, local law enforcement, I assume, will be coming to brief the news media on specific information.

But there you have it, Kate. The latest information from Susan Candiotti.

BOLDUAN: Coming in, doing some great reporting for us.

Let's go to producer Adam Reese. He's on the ground in Hoboken, New Jersey. He's on the phone with us.

Adam, we were just seeing video from our affiliate, WCBS, of the suspected shooter's brother. We're looking at it again here. This is the brother of the suspected shooter. This man's name that you're seeing in this video is Ryan Lanza, we are told. And the shooter, as Susan Candiotti, is learning from sources, is Adam Lanza. What more are you learning on the ground in Hoboken this evening?

ADAM REESE, CNN PRODUCER (via phone): Well, the police here have just opened up the streets outside his apartment, 1313 Grand. The name of the building is called the Metropolitan. The police have just dropped the police tape, opened up the streets. There are still several offices and an FBI agent in front of the building, making sure only residents go into the building.

As you just reported, the shooter's brother, Ryan Lanza, was taken from this apartment building earlier today in handcuffs. He looked a little bit dazed, based on the video we saw.

The building is a five-story building, one, two and three-bedroom apartments. It's a residential neighborhood. Hoboken is a growing community of professionals. It's right on the water facing Manhattan.

In addition to Ryan Lanza, two roommates were taken into custody. They were taken in for questioning, but they are not believed to be associated with the shooting, at least according to the police chief who briefed the media here earlier today. So there's still plenty of media. But I can say this scene here has quieted down quite a bit.

BOLDUAN: And Adam, you said that the authorities seem to be opening up the street near this apartment building where Ryan Lanza lives. Obviously, that must -- we must take that as an indication that they don't think there's any more investigation that needs to occur there, which jibes -- works with the reporting from Susan Candiotti that she -- her sources say that she believes that Ryan Lanza will be released from police custody at some point. She just doesn't know when.

REESE: That's my understanding, as well. That he will be released at some point, that he is being questioned, and apparently, we are told he is being cooperative. And we are waiting for his return here at the apartment building.

BOLDUAN: All right. Adam Reese for us, on the ground in Hoboken, New Jersey. Many threads to follow in this still-developing story and this tragedy as we're watching. Adam, thank you so much.

BLITZER: And Joe Johns is here, our crime and justice correspondent. You're getting more information on the weapon or weapons that were used today?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. We're talking about three different guns here: a Glock, a Sig Sauer and a Bushmaster .223. That, of course, was the kind of weapon that was used in the Beltway Sniper shootings years and years ago.

BLITZER: Guns and one assault weapon.

JOHNS: Right. An assault weapon. So it turns out, according to law-enforcement sources, who have talked to our Carol Cratty, that all three of these weapons were registered to the mother of the shooter.

BLITZER: Nancy Lanza.

JOHNS: Nancy Lanza. That's right. We don't know anything more about that. We do know that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms does lots and lots of tracing of these weapons whenever you have a situation like this. They believe that they're going to go through all the traps.

But bottom line is, these weapons were apparently purchased legally by Nancy Lanza, not by the shooter, Adam Lanza. And that, apparently, is the end of the investigation. BLITZER: Adam Lanza is dead, apparently took his own life, the 20-year-old shooter. Nancy Lanza is dead. She was killed at, presumably -- at the house in Newtown, Connecticut.

This information with Carol Cratty, I'm getting some information from her, as well, these are records that come in from the Connecticut firearms registration system, which is a pretty sophisticated gun- control operation in Connecticut.

JOHNS: Yes, it's a complicated trace that the ATF has to go through. They have to go to the manufacturer. Then they have to go to the first distributor. Then they have to go to the first purchaser. And if there's another purchaser, then they have to follow the chain all the way through. That's the way the law works.

But a lot of times in these big cases, they're able to look at the situation, find out who owned the guns, who purchased the guns, very quickly. And apparently, the authorities have been able to run those traps.

BLITZER: Which is also suggesting, and I think you have this, as well, the Glock and the Sig Sauer handguns were found inside the school.

JOHNS: Right. And the Bushmaster outside.

BLITZER: The Bushmaster was found in the car.

JOHNS: Right.

BLITZER: Obviously, that was not used.

JOHNS: That's right.

BLITZER: At least not in killing these kids, and the teachers, the principal.

JOHNS: Absolutely. And so the question is, at least one of the many questions that we've been asking the authorities and haven't been able to get to yet, is whether the magazines on those weapons were the large, extended magazines or whether they were the magazines that typically come with the firearms. That will be interesting. Because that's all part of the gun-control debate, whether those magazines are appropriate for people to have just on the streets.

BLITZER: We saw the pictures of those guns. And obviously, they killed a lot of people.

BOLDUAN: Now I think -- let's take you to some live pictures I believe that we have. It's St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. This is where we were speaking to a couple of our correspondents on the ground earlier. This is where a vigil will be taking place starting, really, any minute now. This is in Newtown, Connecticut.

And according to our correspondents on the ground, this has been a site where many people in the community have come to just seek some quiet, seek some solace.

And Jason Carroll, our correspondent who's been on the ground, spoke with the deacon there earlier today. And even the deacon found it very hard to find -- he was even lost for words, trying to figure out how to provide the kind of support and love to the many parishioners that will be coming there, obviously, for this vigil.

I think we see cars streaming in. It could be starting any minute now, and you know we'll have much more live coverage of that as we'll be watching this unfold.

BLITZER: What can you say, a story like this?

BOLDUAN: Nothing you can say.

BLITZER: It's obviously a horrific, horrific tragedy. All of us, everyone in the country, everyone in the world who might be watching right now, can relate. You send a kid to school, somebody in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade. Joe, you're here. Just so sad to think about it.

Let's take a quick break, resume our coverage right after this.


BLITZER: These are live pictures of the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Connecticut. A vigil is about to begin right there.

Just a few moments ago we did get some reaction from someone who knew Adam Lanza, the suspected shooter in this case, the 20-year-old who went into that school and opened fire. Let's play that for our viewers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just a kid.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never anti-social?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Adam's got a -- no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, definitely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Noticeable? Did he just kind of blend into the background?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Nothing -- nothing that would warrant any of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're saying he went after his mom and her class of kids. Can you wrap your head around that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I cannot. I don't know who would do anything like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So your general sense is what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is -- this is unspeakable. I first heard about it -- I'm still in shock. Just give me a moment. I want to go. I've got to go.


BOLDUAN: Very difficult time for so many people.

BLITZER: Yes. That's some classmate of Adam Lanza, the 20-year- old shooter in this case, speaking out, saying he's just an average kid.

BOLDUAN: Average kid. We've heard that so many times.

BLITZER: We always hear that.

BOLDUAN: You always hear that, every time.

BLITZER: Shocked by what's going on.

BOLDUAN: The president, the first lady, and many people all across the country may be having some heartfelt and difficult conversations with their kids tonight. You can be sure of that in the wake of the horrific Connecticut school massacre. CNN's Lisa Sylvester has more on this.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there's an image that sums up this story, it is this. Any parent out there can relate. Psychiatrist Charles Raison is in the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

DR. CHARLES RAISON, PSYCHIATRIST, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: How do you wrap your mind around something like this? With a good deal of heartbreak and with the understanding that it's going to take a while. And that there will be people that were closely impacted by this who will never wrap their minds around this.

You know, human minds are not infinite. And you know, this is now appearing to be probably the worst schoolyard catastrophe in history. And so there's going to be a huge, long-term fallout for this that is also going to also impact people's emotional well-being. And we need to gear ourselves up for that fallout, because it's coming because this is a horrible thing.

SYLVESTER: The news out of Newtown is traumatic for parents and for children. This happened at a school where kids are supposed to feel safe. RAISON: How do you explain this to children? Well, again, it depends on the age of the child, but I think simple, forthright explanations are the best. And I think one of the things that I tell children is, there are some bad people in the world. And sometimes bad people do really terrible things. And a terrible thing has happened, and there have been some children killed. And this is terrible. But you're safe. And, you know -- you're safe, and you're in a situation now where you're not going to be harmed.

SYLVESTER: The American Academy of Pediatrics offers this advice. Take into account the age of the child and provide basic information without offering details that may only alarm them. Ask your children what they already know and answer questions. Parents can share their own feelings and the ways they're coping and find meaningful ways to help others.

RAISON: Children are resilient, and what really matters now is how we help them understand what's happened but even, I think, more important is the sense of protection and safety that we give them starting this moment and for the next weeks and months.

SYLVESTER: For those who witnessed, those children who saw, those who covered their eyes and ears to shut out the horror, they need time, love, and prayers.


SYLVESTER: You know, President Obama said it. Parents are going to go home, they're going to hug their children, and even just to process this as a nation, that is going to take some time.

BLITZER: I think all of us are trying to deal with this. If you can just imagine, if you're one of those parents, 20 kids killed.

SYLVESTER: There is not a parent out there that -- you know, people, it's not a cliche. This really is a parent's worst nightmare, is you send your kids off to school and you think they're going to be safe and they're going to come home and they don't. And that's -- it's heartbreaking; it really is.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

CNN's coverage of the Connecticut school shooting continues. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.