Entries in Shootings (41)


POLL: After Newtown Shootings, Most Back Some Gun Controls

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A majority of Americans favor such gun control measures as banning assault weapons and expanding background checks on those who buy guns and ammunition, with support for banning high-capacity ammunition magazines at a new high in ABC News/Washington Post polls.

With Vice President Joe Biden set to present recommendations that were prompted by the Newtown, Conn., school shootings last month, this latest poll shows overwhelming support for certain moves: Eighty-eight percent favor background checks on firearms buyers at gun shows; 76 percent support checks on buyers of ammunition and 71 percent back a new federal database that would track all gun sales.

For full results, charts and tables, CLICK HERE.

Sixty-five percent also support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, a high in three ABC/Post polls to test the idea since early 2011, and up by 6 percentage points since just after the Newtown shootings. Among other suggestions, 58 percent favor banning the sale of so-called assault weapons, 55 percent support the National Rifle Association’s call for armed guards in schools and 51 percent would ban semi-automatic handguns.

Notably, support for the most popular of these measures – expanded background checks, a gun database and banning high-capacity magazines – includes a majority of people who live in gun-owning households, a group that accounts for 44 percent of all adults in this country.

The intensity of support for all these proposals is also notable; “strong” support for each measure outstrips strong opposition, in most cases by overwhelming margins (save the two less-popular items, armed school guards and a semi-automatic handgun ban). For instance, 50 percent “strongly” favor banning assault weapons, twice the number who strongly opposes it. And 76 percent strongly support background checks at gun shows, while only 8 percent say they’re are strongly opposed.

Fifty-five percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, express worry about a mass shooting in their own communities, and 52 percent say the Newtown shootings have made them more likely to support some forms of gun control.

As noted, support for banning high-capacity magazines is at a new high in polling since 2011. But there’s no consistent change on other proposals. Support for background checks on gun show buyers is essentially the same as it was in the late 1990s; support for banning assault weapons is numerically up from its low in 2009 but still well below its levels in the mid- to late 1990s; and support for banning semi-automatic handguns has been essentially steady in recent years.

ACTION – Looking ahead to the possibility of legislative action, most Americans give the issue at least a high priority for the president and Congress to address, but not “the highest,” and more give greater priority to "addressing gun violence” (68 percent) than specifically “enacting stricter gun control laws” (59 percent).

While they reach majorities, both of these are lower on the list than other top-shelf issues, including the economy, cutting federal spending, restructuring the tax system and slowing the rate of growth in spending on Social Security and Medicare.

The higher priority for “addressing gun violence” versus “enacting stricter gun control laws” (in a split-sample test) likely reflects some compunctions about whether gun control measures will work. The public, for instance, divides on whether stricter gun laws or armed guards in schools would be more effective (43-41 percent), and as many or more blame gun violence on inadequate treatment of the mentally ill, and on irresponsibility among gun owners, as on other causes.

FACTORS – Many factors receive broad blame for gun crimes. Leading the list, more than eight in 10 see inadequate treatment of the mentally ill, inadequate background checks and lack of individual responsibility by gun owners as contributors to gun violence, and more than half, in each case, say these contribute “a great deal” to the problem.

Sixty-nine to 73 percent also see the availability of semi-automatic handguns, high-capacity ammunition clips and assault weapons as contributors – yet as many say the same about the prevalence of violence in TV programs, movies and video games. The fewest numerically, 38 percent, believe violence in the media contributes “a great deal” to gun violence.

There are three items on which more people say the issue contributes to gun violence than favor legislative action: Sixty-nine percent see access to semi-automatic handguns as a contributor, versus 51 percent who favor banning such weapons; 73 percent say assault weapons are a contributor, versus 58 percent who favor banning those; and 70 percent see high-capacity magazines as a factor in gun violence, while slightly fewer, 65 percent, would ban them. The gaps apparently exist at least in part because support for action is lower among those who see these as contributing “somewhat” but not a great deal to gun violence – a group that includes more pro-gun individuals, such as people in gun-owning households, men and political conservatives.

GROUPS – There are striking differences among groups on some, but not all, gun control issues. Support for gun control measures generally is higher among women than men, with the gap peaking on a ban on semi-automatic handguns, supported by 60 percent of women versus 40 percent of men.

In addition to the expected partisan and ideological divisions, support for gun control also is higher in several cases among senior citizens vs. the youngest adults, among city dwellers vs. those in suburbs or rural areas, in Democratic-voting blue states vs. more-Republican red states, and in non-gun households vs. those in which someone owns a firearm. There also are regional divisions, with support for gun control typically highest in the Northeast and lowest in the South.

These differences, however, generally fade on the issues on which agreement is most broad – background checks, a gun database and banning high-capacity magazines.

Patterns are different in support for armed guards in schools; this idea is more popular with conservatives versus liberals (63 versus 44 percent), in red versus blue states (67 versus 49 percent) and among Republicans versus Democrats and independents (65 versus 52 percent). It also gets more support from parents with minor children, 62 percent, versus 51 percent among other adults. In the biggest gap, the proposal for armed school guards is nearly 30 points more popular with people who see the NRA’s leadership favorably than among those who see it unfavorably, 69 versus 40 percent.

There are other differences among groups that inform views on gun control. Women, for instance, are 13 points more apt than men to say the Newtown shootings have made them more likely to support some forms of gun control, and 16 points more likely to be worried that a mass shooting could occur in their own area. That worry is a prime factor in support for stricter gun laws.

THE NRA – While recent polls have found the NRA to be popular overall with a majority of Americans, this survey finds a less positive assessment of the association’s leadership -  more see it unfavorably than favorably by an 8-point margin, 44 versus 36 percent, although many don’t know enough to say.

There’s a mixed result on the NRA’s influence on gun policy; on the one hand more, 38 percent, say it has too much influence versus too little (24 percent) or about the right amount (30 percent). At the same time, that makes a majority, netted, saying its influence is too little or about right.

The NRA’s leadership, naturally, has far more support among people in gun-owning versus non-gun-owning households – a 52 percent versus 22 percent favorable rating. Similarly, 49 percent in non-gun households say the NRA has too much influence over gun laws. In gun households 27 percent agree.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NRA Breaks Silence on Connecticut Shooting

NRA/ABC News(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- The National Rifle Association has broken its silence on the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., saying it is ready to “offer meaningful contributions” to the effort to make sure there are no more incidents like the one in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza used an assault rifle to kill 27 people before killing himself.

In the wake of the massacre, in which 20 children were killed, advocates for stricter gun control laws called for Congress, President Obama, and other lawmakers to act swiftly to ban assault weapons from public use.

But the pro-gun organization and lobby refused to comment on the shooting until Tuesday. The group took down its Facebook page, stopped using its Twitter account, and refused to participate in Sunday morning political talk shows on which they were invited to discuss gun control.

On Tuesday, they announced a news conference for Friday, and released a statement saying that NRA members were “heartbroken.”

“The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters — and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown,” the statement read.

“Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting,” the statement said. “The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill his mother at their home, and then to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School during the rampage. He also had two handguns with him at the time he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shooting prompted many politicians to make statements supporting gun control, including New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mental Health Reform Push in Colorado After Shootings

World Economic Forum(DENVER) -- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will ask the state general assembly on Tuesday for $18.5 million to help “redesign and strengthen” the state’s mental health services and support system.

The announcement comes just days after police say a gunman murdered his own mother, then killed six adults and 20 children at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school before committing suicide.  The shooter, Adam Lanza, has been described as deeply troubled.

A Hickenlooper aide, however, tells ABC News the Colorado reforms have been in the works ever since a mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater in July.  Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded when police say James Holmes opened fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Holmes sought treatment from a psychiatrist while a graduate student at the University of Colorado, and his defense attorneys have said they believe their client is mentally ill.  Holmes has not yet entered a plea.

Hickenlooper’s plan would include changes to state law allowing the judicial system to instantly transmit mental health commitment records to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation so the information would be immediately available for firearm background checks. 

The plan would also establish a statewide mental health crisis hotline and would open five 24/7 walk-in mental health crisis centers.  Services for “seriously mentally ill” people would be expanded, including help with housing as patients transition from mental health hospitals back into the community.

Colorado most recently dealt with a mentally ill school shooter in February 2010, when Bruco Eastwood was accused of shooting and seriously wounding two students outside Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton.  A jury found Eastwood not guilty by reason of insanity of attempted first-degree murder and he was committed to a state mental hospital.

Deer Creek Middle School is a short drive from Columbine High School, where two students murdered a teacher and 12 other students in 1999 before killing themselves.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Conn. School Shooting: Complete List of Victims’ Names

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- The Conn. Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Wayne Carver released the list of victims from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Saturday.

The students killed were all in the 1st grade, according to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Directory.


Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hocksprung, 47

Madeline Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Russeau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto, 27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison Wyatt, 6

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Adam Lanza's Mom Pulled Him Out of School: Relative

Courtesy Family of Nancy Lanza(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- The aunt of Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza said the shooter's mother pulled him out of Newtown's public school system because she was unhappy with the school district's plans for her son.

Adam Lanza's mother Nancy, 54, was the first victim of his Friday shooting spree. Lanza shot Nancy in the face and then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 20 students and six adults before taking his own life.

Marsha Lanza, who is Adam's aunt and Nancy's ex-sister-in-law, told Evelyn Thomas of ABC-owned-and-operated station WLS in Chicago that Nancy had once been a classroom aide at the Sandy Hook school.

Marsha, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, said that Nancy had home-schooled Adam after pulling him out of the Newtown public school system. She did not know when Adam had left school. According to former classmates, Adam had attended the local high school at least through part of 10th grade.

Nancy Lanza divorced her husband Peter in 2009, when Adam was 17. Marsha said the divorce left her well off.

Marsha also said, however, that Nancy had purchased guns because she was living alone in a big house. Nancy was originally from New Hampshire, said Marsha, and comfortable with weapons.

According to police, a Glock handgun, a Sig Sauer handgun and a Bushmaster rifle were recovered after the shooting at Sandy Hook. Authorities say that Nancy Lanza had five weapons registered to her, including a Sig Sauer, a Glock and a Bushmaster. Police have not confirmed that hers were the weapons used in the slayings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Priest's 'Horrible' Job of Telling Newtown Parents of Children's Deaths

ABC News(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- A Newtown, Conn., priest had the "horrible" job of going door-to-door informing families early Saturday morning that their children had been killed in the elementary school massacre.

There were 20 children among the 27 people killed the day Adam Lanza, 20, invaded Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire on staff and students. Lanza was also found dead in the school.

Most of the children were between the ages of 5 and 10, President Obama said on Friday.

Medical examiners have completed the grim work of identifying all of the victims at the school and families were informed early on Saturday morning that their loved ones had been killed.

"We were gathered until after midnight and we were sent out with teams to go to the homes of the victims," parish priest Monsignor Robert Weiss told Good Morning America on Saturday. "We went to their homes early this morning to confirm the death of their children and it was just horrible."

"The uncertainty...even though they knew in their hearts that this was real," he said. "And the questions they were asking, the regrets they had. 'Why did I send my child to school today?'"


Weiss said some of the parents shared the last moments they had with their children. One dad said that, for some reason, his child got up early Friday morning and came down to tell the father how much she loved him. Another parent said their child had asked what dying was like just the day before.

"Parents are really going through a tremendous amount of pain and hurt right now, trying to deal with not just their personal loss, but what happened to their child in the last moments of their life," he said.

A number of the victims' families are part of Weiss' parish. He baptized some of the children and some of them went to his parish's nursery school.

"It's hard to believe that these little children are gone," he said.

Weiss met with the families from his parish who lost children and said the hurt and the anguish are "just settling in now" and then "there's going to be anger."

"And then they're going to have to live with this reality that this big part of their life is gone for them," he said.

Weiss said he has "no answer" when families ask him why their children have been taken from them.

"This was not God's plan," he said. "This was a man who has serious issues in his life. Why he'd want to destroy innocent children, no one can figure out."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Newtown, Conn., Police Have 'Good Evidence' on Massacre Motive

Gary Jeanfaivre/Newton Patch(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- Police indicated on Saturday they have "some very good evidence" about the motive behind Adam Lanza's massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and said that the sole person to survive being shot by Lanza will be "instrumental" in the probe.

Authorities also finished the grim task of identifying all of Lanza's 27 victims, which included 20 children. Families, who already feared the worst, were informed that their loved ones were dead early on Saturday.

All of the bodies have now been removed from the school and medical examiners are expected to provide a full list of victims later on Saturday.

With the tally of Lanza's carnage complete, authorities and the grieving people of Newtown, Conn., are left to wonder why he turned the elementary school in this quaint New England town into a slaughter house.

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance, who had compared the investigation to "peeling back the layers of an onion," said the investigation "did produce some very good evidence" about motive, but he would not go into further detail.

He indicated the evidence came from the shooting scene at the school as well as at the home where Lanza's mother, Nancy, was slain.

Also key will be the lone person shot by Lanza who wasn't killed. The female teacher has not been publicly identified.

"She is doing fine," Vance said at a news conference on Saturday. "She has been treated and she'll be instrumental in this investigation."

Evidence also emerged on Saturday that Lanza's rampage began in the office of school principal Dawn Hochsprung while the school intercom was on. It's not clear whether it was turned on to alert the school or whether it was on for morning announcements, but the principal's screams and the cries of children heard throughout the school gave teachers time to take precautions to protect their children.

Hochsprung was among those killed in the Friday morning killing spree.

Authorities have fanned out to New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts to interview Lanza's relatives, ABC News has learned.

According to sources, Lanza shot his mother in the face, then left his house armed with at least two semi-automatic handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer, and a semi-automatic rifle. He was also wearing a bulletproof vest.

Newtown Police Hunt for Motive in School Massacre

Lanza then drove to the elementary school and continued his rampage, authorities said.

Lanza died from what was believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The rifle was found in his car.

"Evil visited this community today," Gov. Dan Malloy said at a news conference Friday evening.

This is the second worst mass shooting in U.S. history, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 when 32 were killed before the shooter turned the gun on himself. The carnage in Connecticut exceeded the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in which 13 died and 24 were injured.

Friday's shooting came three days after masked gunman Jacob Roberts opened fire in a busy Oregon mall, killing two before turning the gun on himself.

The Connecticut shooting occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which includes 450 students in grades K-4. The town is located about 12 miles east of Danbury, Conn.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: Quiet, Bright, Troubled

ABC News(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who killed 20 kids and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school Friday, was very bright, say neighbors and former classmates, but he was also socially awkward and deeply troubled.

"[Adam] was not connected with the other kids," said family friend Barbara Frey. A relative told ABC News that Adam was "obviously not well."

On Friday morning, Lanza shot his mother Nancy in the face at the home they shared in Newtown, and then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Dressed in black combat gear, he broke a window at the school, which had recently had a new security system installed, and within minutes had shot and killed six adults and 20 schoolchildren between the ages of five and 10.

The shooting stopped when Lanza put a bullet in his own head. Multiple weapons were found at the scene, including two semiautomatic handguns registered to his mother. A Bushmaster rifle registered to Nancy was discovered outside in the car.

Long before Lanza's spree, however, residents of Newtown had noticed that tall, pale boy was different, and believed he had some kind of unspecified personality disorder.

"Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were five years old," wrote a neighbor and former classmate Timothy Dalton on Twitter. "As horrible as this was, I can't say I am surprised."

In school, Lanza carried a black briefcase and spoke little. Every day, he wore a sort of uniform: khakis and a shirt buttoned up to the neck, with pens lined up in his shirt pocket.

He hated being called on by teachers, and it seemed to require a physical effort for him to respond. He avoided public attention and had few, if any, friends. He liked to sit near the door of the classroom to make a quick exit.

He even managed to avoid having his picture in his high school yearbook. Instead of his portrait, the space reserved for Adam Lanza says "Camera Shy." And unlike most in his age group, he seems to have left little imprint on the Internet – no Facebook page, no Twitter account.


Lanza's parents Peter and Nancy Lanza married in New Hampshire in 1981, and had two sons, Adam and his older brother Ryan, who is now 24 and lives in New Jersey.

The Lanzas divorced in 2009 after 28 years of marriage due to "irreconcilable differences." When they first filed for divorce in 2008, a judge ordered that they participate in a "parenting education program."

Adam was 17 at the time of the divorce. He continued to live in Newtown with his mother. His father now lives in Stamford, Connecticut with his second wife.

Peter Lanza, who drove to northern New Jersey to talk to police and the FBI, is a vice president at GE Capital and had been a partner at global accounting giant Ernst & Young.

Adam's older brother Ryan Lanza, 24, has worked at Ernst & Young for four years, apparently following in his father's footsteps and carving out a solid niche in the tax practice. He too was interviewed by the FBI. Neither he nor his father is under any suspicion.

"[Ryan] is a tax guy and he is clean as a whistle," a source familiar with his work said.

Police had initially identified Ryan as the killer. Ryan sent out a series of Facebook posts saying it wasn't him and that he was at work all day. Video records as well as card swipes at Ernst & Young verified his statement that he had been at the office.

Two federal sources told ABC News that identification belonging to Ryan Lanza was found at the scene of the mass shooting. They say that identification may have led to the confusion by authorities during the first hours after the shooting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Newtown Students Heard Principal's Murder Over Intercom

ABC News(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- An open school intercom broadcast to students at Sandy Hook Elementary School the murder of their principal and the terrified cries of other children.

It's not clear whether the intercom was turned on purposefully to alert the school's staff to the menace or whether the intercom was on for morning announcements.

Either way, it caught the initial moments of Adam Lanza's lethal fury and gave teachers and others life saving moments to lock their doors and try to hide their children.

Among Lanza's first victims was school principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47. Third grader Tori Chop tells ABC News that she could hear her principal's final moments as Lanza barged in with his weapons.

"We kept hearing gun noises and 'put your hands up'…we kept hearing that," said Chop.

Chop's teacher Teri Alves, like other staff in the school, sprang into action.

"She went out to the door, she locked the door and taped a piece of white tape over the window of the door," Chop said of her teacher. "And then she told us to go in the corner."

As the students listened to the rampage unfold, Alves tried to sooth them.

"She's just saying it's going to be okay," Chop said. "Just be quiet."

"We were in the corner all scrouched in, and all the girls were crying, and a couple of boys. The boys had their eyes wide open, watching everything," she said.

Lanza killed 20 children and six adults, including Hochsprung, before shooting himself. Lanza's mother was also found murdered in their home.

Chop believes it was her teachers' swift reaction to the broadcast that kept her and her classmates alive and wants to tell Alves she is grateful.

"I want to say, you saved my life. There's 19 people in our class," Chop said. "And she saved all of us."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Conn. Elementary School Shooting Victims: 'Hero' Teacher, Principal, 20 Kids

ABC News(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- One was a first-grade teacher who reportedly threw herself in front of the gunman to shield her students. Another was a well-liked principal.

Both were among those killed when Adam Lanza, 20, stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. with guns blazing Friday, killing six adults and 20 children before killing himself.

Lanza also killed a seventh adult in the rampage -- his mother, Nancy Lanza. She was killed in her home, shot in the face before her son's assault on the school, sources told ABC News.

With the investigation still active and so many of the victims young children, few names have emerged. But those that have came with compelling stories attached.

Vicki Soto, 27, one of the adult victims, loved being a teacher, her cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News' Chris Cuomo Friday. In fact, her first-grade students' safety was such a high priority that Soto reportedly lost her life protecting them.

"The family was informed that she was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm, and by doing that put herself between the gunman and the children," Wiltsie said. "And that's when she was tragically shot and killed.

"I'm very proud to have known Vicki," Wiltsie added. "Her life dream was to be a teacher. And her instincts kicked in when she saw there was harm coming to her students.

"It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children," he said. "And in our eyes, she is a hero."

The circumstances of Dawn Hochsprung's death are less clear, but those who have spoken have had nice things to say about the Sandy Hook principal.

"When we had our orientation, you could tell she loved her job," Brenda Lediski, a parent, told ABC News by phone.

Hochsprung, 47, only became principal of Sandy Hook in recent years, according to a local news report.

"She was always enthusiastic, always smiling, always game to do anything," Kristin Larson, a former PTA secretary, told the Boston Globe. "When I saw her at the beginning of the school year, she was hugging everyone."


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio