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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  December 14, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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have to start doing things in america. >> listen, thank you all for joining me. all in your own way have been through horror stories of your own. it is time. president obama talked in a moving and emotional way. it's time for action. time that america's politicians just did something. stop worrying about the gun lobby who make millions, billions out of this trade in what often leads to appalling death it is time for some moral conviction and some moral courage. stay with cnn all weekend long for the latest on the school shooting. right back on sunday night with a special edition of "piers morgan tonight" "ac 360 starts now." piers, thanks very much. 10:00 on the east coast. only one story tonight. new details to tell you about. we won't pretend we understand it any better than we did right after it happened. it is a horror beyond words.
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ab elementary school, kids as young as 5 years old, second deadliest school shooting in this country. 20 children killed, 7 adults, including the adult shooter. about 90 minutes' drive from. all of the latest information tonight. we won't repeat the shooter's name over and over again as has been done throughout the day. we don't want history to remember this murderer. we want history to remember the victims, the teachers, the children, those whose lives have been unfairly taken. we have a team of reporters working, including soledad o'brayen on the scene. >> a vigil held tonight. the people of newtown trying to come to grips with what has happened. just behind us this morning. right now, right now, this is still an active crime scene that means many of the bodies are lying where they fell inside the school, including the body of a killer. we want to at least tell you his
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name. and as anderson, we won't be repeating it much tonight at all. 20 years old. his mother taught at the school. she was found dead at the family home. unclear exactly how she died or when she died. >> soledad, the idea that those kids are still in the school, i mean, it is such a horrific image to think about tonight, and for the parents, not to be able to see their children yet. >> yeah, the police say it's an active crime scene and they told us they thought by sunday, they would be able to have the crime scene part of it and the investigation at least that portion of the wrapped up. but now we're getting told that actually it might be even as soon as tomorrow morning. but as you can imagine, knowing your child has perished inside that school and you can't even go and get the body, it would be a horrific thing. >> let's hope the children are brought home soon. we know that the mother of the
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shooter, legally purchased the weapons that were used. rita cosby reports that he broke his way through the front door into the school, two semi automatic handguns and a bushmaster. police in hoboken, new jersey, took the older brother in for questioning, did not label him a suspect. no word whether he's still in custody. a lot to tell you about right now this hour. let's start at the beginning. >> individual i have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire. >> reporter: the first word was chilling. it only got worse. >> they are reporting multiple fatalities involving in the shooting at the elementary school. >> reporter: with each new report, the horror deepened. >> the number of dead closer to 30 than 20, and most are children. >> reporter: every detail brought more sadness. each fresh piece of information,
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part of the picture. a school, kindergarten through fourth grade. a sanctuary supposed to be a place of safety, torn apart. >> she heard the intercom came on in the school and heard a scream and heard a gunshot -- two gunshots, and the school went into lockdown. >> reporter: a student, teenage big brother described the sound. >> newtown police, immediately upon arrival entered the school and began a complete active shooter search of the building. >> reporter: they arrived to carnage. the killer was dressed for battle in black fatigues and armed for mass murder. two pistols and a military style rifle. in parts of the school, students were told to hide in corners. teachers risked their own lives to pull boys and girls to safety. >> so grateful to the teacher who saved him. >> the teacher saved his life? >> she definitely did.
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he had bullets going by him and she grabbed him and another child and pulled them into a classroom. >> eventually, kids were evacuated to a nearby firehouse, from frantic parents descended. >> it was terrifying. i'm still terrified and still in shock about it all. i don't know everything that happened. i know that there are some people missing, taken to the hospital. >> reporter: his son was okay. his son's teacher was alive as well. 20 other children and 6 adults were killed. the dead believed to include sandy hook's school skoegs apsyt and the principal. the gunman's mother was discovered reportedly at home in newto newtown. the gunman himself is dead. a tight-knit community, a nurse rushed to help, shot, distraught. >> i see have you been crying? >> yes. >> reporter: because of what you saw? >> one of the cops said it's the worst thing he had ever seen in his entire career, but it was when they told the patients.
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all of the parents waiting for the children to come out. thought they were still alive. there's 20 parents just told that their children are dead. it was awful. >> reporter: awful. and late today, speaking for the nation, but also as a father, an emotional president obama fought back tears. >> reporter: this evening, michelle and i will do what 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. >> we'll play you the complete statement that president obama made today, with the hope it may bring some peace to some people. as one mother said tonight, too many of our babies died. with us now, janet volmer who teaches kindergarten at sandy
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hook and was there today. first of all, how are you doing? >> i'm okay. family is here, that helps. my sons came and my husband and the dog, so we're together. that's what it's all about. it was awful. >> you were in your classroom. >> i was in my classroom. >> you were in your classroom. what did you hear? >> well, you know, about 9:30, 9:40, we heard noises and the announcement system was still on, so it didn't go off, so you could hear what sounded like pops, gunshots, of course, i'm not going to tell that to 5 year olds, and i said we're going over in a safe area and we're going to -- we read a story and kept them calm. did a lockdown drill. closed the door, locked, covered the windows. and, you know, kept the children with us. i have other adults -- >> i find that amazing -- i find that amazing that fearing that you hear gunshots, you were able to have the composure to sit
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down and read to your students. that's extraordinary. >> that's what you have to do with 5-year-olds, you can't lose it. so, you know, you just kind of -- i've been doing this for a long time. it's my 18th year of teaching, and my job was to keep them safe. i didn't know -- no announcement of what was going on. you know, my i stingt was it wasn't good. so we kept them calm, stayed in the room until there was banging at the door, which was police, troopers, whoever was there, and they had us exit the building and told the children to cover their eyes and walk in a line and leave the building and that's when we went down toward the firehouse. so, you know, we were all safe. i had 19 children in the room with me, and thank goodness, their parents were able to come, pick them up, take them home. >> when you were reading, did the kids realize something was going on, or think it was a drill like before? >> right, it didn't seem a
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natural thing, although we do practice drills, and we just said, well, we're not really sure, but we're going to be safe, because we're sitting over here and we're all together. and that's, you know, as we got down to the firehouse, later on, there was a lot of the events started to unfold throughout the day, i think some of them realized the magnitude of what was going on, saw other people upset, but, you know, we just held them close until their parents came and we released them, and, you know, my room, my children, were all accounted for, and safe in my kindergarten classroom. >> for all of us, incomprehensible, you knew the children, the families involved. your colleagues have lost their lives. i certainly won't ask you about any of the kids. what do you want the world to know about your colleagues? >> yeah, i mean, we heard a lot of things as we were down at the firehouse. you know, people were texting news reports and this one, that
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one, i'm sure -- i'm not sure still of the magnitude of who everyone is, i hear six or seven adults and many children, and, you know, i know those first graders were children i had in my room last year. so those parents were showing up today, and they couldn't find their children, and, you know, they were all taken to separate rooms and so -- i don't know who they all are, but i'm sure as the days unfold, it will not be -- it will not be good news for many of those people. >> and -- yeah, it's really beyond words, and i appreciate you taking a few moments to talk to us tonight. it really is -- >> well -- >> janet, thank you for your composure. >> you're welcome. >> it's extraordinary what you did, and the other colleagues of yours. >> some of those teachers were heroes. one of the teachers, she locked everybody in the bathroom. and wouldn't open the door. you know, i think we do this as teachers, we are trained, we do
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have drills, we talk to the kids, and in case something were to happen, this is what we do. and it's kind of what happened today. everybody just in stinctively kept the children safe. >> a lot of teachers i think of heroes, and you and your colleagues showed that today. >> thank you. >> i wish you peace and strength in the difficult days ahead. amy receiseiver is joining us. she is a parent. how is your daughter doing, your family, how are you holding up? >> okay. it's a very rough night here. when your first grader goes to bed and says, mommy, is anyone from my class last year, are they all okay? are they all okay? and you look at them and say i'm
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not really sure, it's not the best night when you tell that to your 7-year-old. it's -- very, very sad night for this town and a lot of families here. >> has your daughter wanted to talk about what happened or first grade, i don't -- do they want to talk? >> she asked a lot of questions about the principal. she caught wind very quick that will something was wrong with our principal. which we didn't tell her until just now that, yes, she was definitely hurt and it wasn't good. it took her -- it's taking her a while. i think tomorrow will probably be harder for her. i also have a fifth grader who came off the bus crying, because she, one, had a sister who she was worried about, and just basically left that school, a few months ago and i think for a lot of those kids, they kind of are a little older and can get it a little bit faster, even
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though they weren't in it. so it's -- the questions i think are coming. they are not really here yet, especially for the littler ones, but it's started as i put them to bed tonight, the questions. >> do you know -- as a mom, do you know how you are going to answer those questions? because there are a lot of parents around the world, frankly, whose kids are going to be asking them questions in the days ahead about what happened. do you think you know what you are going to say? >> unfortunately, we have been through a bit of trauma in our own life, for me, and i can't speak for moms -- other moms or moms around the world, but for my family, i speak kind of quietly and trustfthfully and t to answer the questions that they ask without a lot of
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detail. i definitely don't lie. is prince hochsprung okay? and i said no. and she said is she dead? and i said yes. i try not to offer too much. i don't know what they know. i sit back and wait for them to ask. if they ask, i give them an honest answer. and, unfortunately, for a lot of us in town, the answers are not good. >> the principal, dawn -- >> and they are very sad tonight, i don't think anyone can answer these questions easily -- they are definitely not fun answers. >> i've heard so many great things about the principal, dawn hochsprung, and the fact that your child was asking about her. what do you want people to know about dawn? >> a very lovely compassionate woman. extremely helpful. as a chair on one of the pta
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committees, could not have come out to support me better this year. i needed support this year, and she was the first one on my team, the first one to help, the first one to be there. never saw her without a smile. you know, was just in my daughter's classroom this week, reading a book to the kids. very, very lovely, very lovely woman. and definitely had the children i believe had the children's best intentions all the time. she was always looking out for them. just a very sad thing. >> you must be exhausted, and i'm going to let you go. i appreciate you talking tonight, and thank you. i really -- i just wish you and your family a lot of strength. thank you. >> my family is one of the lucky ones, anderson. unfortunately, there are a lot of people, you know, that aren't so lucky tonight in town, but thank you, and i -- we pray for all of the families that are out
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there tonight. >> yeah. i think there are a lot of prayers around the world tonight for the families, amy, thank you. >> thank you. >> it is frankly unbelievable. let's go back to soledad. >> it really is. it really is. and it's almost impossible i think to fathom what the people of newtown are going through now and what they are going to be going through in the next days and weeks, especially the parents and siblings and family members of little children who did not survive the massacre today. so many lives were lost, so many other people's lives were just changed forever. friends and neighbors and in some cases complete strangers gathered and continue to gather at this hour, hold each other, cry, and to remember. a vigil tonight, took place at a local church and jason carroll has been there all day and through the night and an update on how that went tonight. jason, the mood has got to be so sad. tell me a little bit about
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tonight's vigil. >> you know, i've seen a lot of emotional things throughout my life, but tonight was -- it's really hard to explain. the vigil here tonight. so many people came out, soledad. there wasn't enough room for everybody inside st. rosa linea church. they came outside. stood in the freezing cold. hundreds of people stood inside and listened. when the vigil that let out, all of those standing outside went inside and you heard some singing at one point. groups broke off into separate groups and started singing. people really came here tonight, and i know you just heard anderson give that very emotional interview. people came here looking for answers, just like that mother was trying to give answers to her daughter. and it's difficult, it's very tough to try and get those answers at this time. people came looking for that. they came to lean on each other and they turned to their faith. this is such a small community that it's the kind of place where literally so many of the
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people came out tonight knew someone. knew one of the faculty members, knew one of the children. they talked about one the little girls who lost her life who was supposed to be in a christmas pageant here at the church. spoke to another man who knew the principal. he wanted to speak out before he went into the vigil and i want you to listen to a little bit of that conversation. >> dawn, the principal at sandy hook, i had dinner with her last spring, she was excited, exuberant, an exceptional educator. it's sad. but my prayers will be for our community as well. >> one of the other points that he wanted to make was that this was a woman who loved not only her school and her job, but she loved all of the children at the school as well. soledad. >> so, jason, i know you had a chance to talk to the deacon,
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and i'm sure he will be a focus of many of the questions that people are having. what did he tell you? >> it's -- it was difficult for him. he became emotional during our conversation. he said that at least 100 people had come to the church doors throughout the day looking for answers. and i said how do you try and provide answers? he said it's too soon to come up with some sort of a deep philosophical answer as to why this happened. he was also feeling the emotion of what has happened as well. he knew some of the children that were killed, including some of the faculty members. he spoke about one child in particular, who he remembered receiving her first commune here at the church, and a child who really left an impression upon him, and he explains the reason why. >> i heard one of the victims, i'm not sure about it, but i heard one of the victims recently, i think it was
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birthday money, her birthday gifts and donated it to the parish to give for hurricane sandy victims. she's 6 years old. so that's -- that makes it very, very personal. and very intimate. >> his struggle is that he has got to be a rock for the community now. he has got to try to keep it together as more people come to him to lean on him for emotional support. i asked him, i said what do you do? i'm going to go home, hug my own daughter, and i'm going to come back here and be the support this community needs. soledad. >> jason carroll for us, thank you, jason. appreciate that. and, anderson, it's a question that we're all trying to get an answer to. the why behind it. we've talked a little bit about the shooter, but the motivation is always the thing i don't think anybody is close to understanding at this point. >> yeah, and may never. i mean, you know, sometimes
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there isn't any why. but we'll continue to investigate, soledad, we'll come back to you shortly. authorities have not yet released the name of the victims, the process of identification continues at this hour. those children's little bodies are still inside that school and will be throughout the evening. as we learn who they are, when it's appropriate, we'll focus on the lives. we'll tell you about them when we learn about them, what parents want to know about them. the victims we want history to remember and honor. according to witnesses, the school's principal are among the dead. you heard parents talk about tonight. she became the principal at sandy hook in 2010. she arrived with 12 years of experience as a school administrator, a mom raising two daughters, three stepdaughters according to a local paper. and a lot of folks who worked with dawn said she was extremely passionate about her job. an expert on curriculum, fun,
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but a firm leader. one friend said she was the kind of person you would want to be educating your kids, and the kids loved her. even little kids know when someone cares be b them, and that was her. she posted messages and photos about events and developments at the school. on august 24th, she tweeted, welcoming our kinders this morning. 74 new opportunities to inspire life long learning, talking about the new kindergarten class. she had recently installed a new security system where all visitor has to ring a doorbell and wait to be buzzed in. two witnesses told our sister network hln that the glass entrance was shot out or smashed allowing the gunman to get into the building. we don't have any photographs of the other victims according to witnesses, mary sherlock, the school psychologist, 56 years
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old. at sandy hook 18 years, she had a master's and a six year professional degree. wife and mom. mothered to her husband bill for more than 30 years. two grown daughters, the oldest works as a high school chorus teacher in new jersey. mary sherlock and dawn hochsprung, we will remember them. when we come back, more of president obama's emotional reaction. we want to play his complete comments and more from the parents as well. >> it's not -- it's not something you shake off very easily and certainly not for little people and we lost a lot of babies today in this town, and there are a lot of very sad families, and as everyone can think, you never think it's going to happen, but basically it happens all over the world at this point.
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it doesn't even seem real. it just does not even seem like it's possible. you read it in the paper, see it on the news, you're like oh, my god, that poor family. and something happens so close
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to home, it's like i think i'm still in shock, to be honest with you. >> well, no doubt a lot of people feeling the impact same way tonight. the massacre inside the school, the deadliest elementary school shooting in american history. all the words spoken today, and all of the words i'm speaking tonight in this hour, they all sound so small in the face of this horror. 20 little children, 7 adults. last night alive, getting ready for another day of school, tonight they are gone. president obama spoke to the nation earlier, we played some of it before the top of the program. but i think it's worth hearing all of what he said. >> this afternoon i spoke with governor malloy, fbi director mueller. i offered governor malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the
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victims, council their families. we have 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 that there is 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
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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 no words 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
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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, regardless of the politics. this evening, michelle and i will do what i know every parent in america will do. which is hold our children a little tighter, tell them we love them and 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 our days to come, the community needs to us be at our best as americans, and i will do everything in my power as president to help, because while nothing can fill the space of the lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to
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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 brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. >> president obama speaking earlier today. not just as president, but as a father of two daughters. denise korias' daughter goes to sandy hook. was in school this morning. we spoke earlier tonight. denise, i cannot imagine what this day has been like for you, for your child. how is your child? how are you? >> i think everyone is coping as best as they possibly can, and it is shocking when it happens anywhere.
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so we're all trying to wrap our arms around the situation as best as we can. >> did -- does your daughter want to talk about it with you? or are you encouraging her too? how do you handle this? a lot of parents around the world are trying to figure out what to say to their child. >> you know, the hard thing for me is, anderson, i'm a new yorker, so i'm very accustomed to manhattan and accustomed to always telling my kids to be careful. i guess you never expect it to happen in your school, and at the end of the day, you just -- i'm letting her talk. she's mentioned quite a bit about the principal, who many of us have worked with, and i adored her. i worked with her personally with my business. that is one person i know we've lost on a personal level. i know they are going to have counselors at the intermedary
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school tomorrow, and i already told my children, they are all welcome to go there. we are planning on doing that tomorrow, so if they need to speak to somebody, they will. >> has your daughter said much about what she saw or what she heard? >> she did mention that she did, of course, hear gunshots, and on the same floor, and she -- her teacher, managed to take two children out of the hallway, pull them into the classroom, lock the door and move everybody to the other side of the room, when, you know, it was very confusing as it would be in any of these cases to go and pick up your child, once we figured out that everything was dispatched to sandy hook elementary, i was one of the first parents there along with a friend of mine, we both figured out what was going
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on, ran over there, they were very smart to get them out of the building, moved them over to the firehouse. you could see my daughter's teacher was visibly upset as well as the children there. she did a very heroic thing. pulled two kids out of the hallway, shoved them into the classroom and locked that door. the kids will suffer from this. like everything else, a psychological event that will take time for healing and as long as everyone gets the proper help, it's not something you shake off very easily and certainly not for little people and we lost a lot of babies today in this town and there are a lot of very sad families, and as everyone can think, you never think it will happen, but basically it happens all over the world at this point, so we have to be very cognizant of mental health and gun control in my eyes and how schools are
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locked up these days. and it's unfortunate. you wouldn't think to take your children to school you have to worry about someone going in and blowing them all up. it's an unfortunate state of affairs, but, unfortunately, it's our reality these days. >> denise, i'm sorry that reality was visited upon your daughter today. and everybody else. and i wish you strength and peace in the difficult days ahead. thank you for talking tonight. >> oh, thank you so much, anderson. >> and there will be a lot of difficult days ahead. let's go back to soledad. >> no question about that. so, anderson, as word start to spread throughout the state today, so did the shock, so did the horror and now there is the grieving. >> you can never be prepared for this kind of incident. what has happened, what has transpired at that school building, will leave a mark on this community and every family
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impacted. i only ask that all of our fellow citizens here in the united states and around the world, who have already offered their assistance remember all of the victims in their prayers. >> that was connecticut's governor, dan malloy speaking earlier today. he said his main responsibility now is the investigation along with local and federal authorities. i want to emphasize once again that is the focus now. susan candiotti, handling our coverage of the investigation. let's focus first on what we know about the shooter. >> not very much. that he is 20 years old, we understand that he came to the school with three weapons, two of them were handguns, one described as a glock. one described as a sig sauer, and another one not found in the classroom with him, but instead was found in a car outside the
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school, and that is called a .223 bushmaster, a semi automatic weapon. it seems those guns were not registered to him. but we are told according to our law enforcement sources they belong to his mother which is -- don't have an explanation for that right now. >> were all those guns legally purchased in this state? >> yes, they were legally purchased and purchased in the state of connecticut. we believe he might have been living with his mother. our sources tell us his mother's body was found inside a residence and she lives in this area, so it's possible he lived with his mother. still waiting on that detail. >> some confusion as well with his brother. police went to hoboken to do an investigation there, and took the brother off for questioning as well. >> the brother is older, 24 years old, he does live in an
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apartment in hoboken, and they did go to him to ask him questions about his brother. everybody tightlipped about exactly what he told the authorities. but also his father has been questioned as well. his father is divorced from the mother who was killed in this incident and we're simply trying to find out more about that as well. >> susan canndiotti, the investigation continues. the suspected shooter's mother, we'll get more information on that right back to anderson for more. >> soledad, as we mentioned, just in case you joined us. we're intentionally limiting the use of the killer's name. we don't want to use it over and over again. we are trying to learn more about what led this person to the school. drew griffin joins us live. >> having covering so many of
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these, a shooter with possible mental health issues, a family trying to deal with those issues, something snaps, guns easily accessed and we have the outburst of violence in the case of this 20-year-old shooter, beginning play out in exact that will order. here is what we do know. the 20-year-old shooter had an older brother. that brother reportedly told abc news that the shooter had a personality disorder and also mentioned autism. cnn heard that same information from a man who called himself a friend of the shooter's in newtown where the shooter lived. we can confirm the guns, two handguns and semi automatic rifle were legally owned by the shooter's mother, now deceased, you can see the picture of the gun there, and somewhat standard in these cases, we find people that are shocked that the particular shooter could have been involved in anything like this, as is the case with one of the shooter's former classmates
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and former school bus driver. >> he was just a kid. >> just a kid? >> just a kid. >> never anti social? >> no, no. >> trouble maker? >> no, definitely not. >> noticeable? did he just kind of blend into the background? >> yeah. nothing that would warrant any of this. >> he went after her mom and her class of kids, can you wrap your head around that? >> no, i cannot. i don't know who would do anything like this? >> your general sense is what? >> this is -- this is unspeakable. when i first heard about it -- i'm still in shock. excuse me a moment. i want to go. >> he was a nice kid. very politely. she raised very nice boys to me. that's why i think it's a shock.
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to even know them and realize who they are, and what he did. you can't understand what happened that he snapped, what have you, and took such innocent lives. >> so what can we expect? well, anderson, as we've learned in the other cases, virginia tech, the shooting of congressman giffords, the mass killing at the movie theater in aurora, colorado, in the coming days, maybe by tomorrow, we'll see multiple warning signs, dangerous messages, ignored or perhaps or even practice sessions or an obsession with the mom's guns that weren't taken seriously or the family in many cases doesn't know how to handle the situation. they don't have anywhere to turn and there will never be an answer or explanation that could be anywhere near good enough for the victims' families to understand this, because in a lot of cases, it's just senseless and it's never going to be understood. >> yeah, and hearing the -- one of the people say autistic, or
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could be autistic, that -- i mean, i have never heard of somebody autistic doing something like this. it doesn't seem like it jives. >> it's two separate things. the brother said personality disorder and also autistic. we're not trying to put those together or say one leads to the other. >> got it. >> but some hints, early hints, like we've seen in the other cases, early hint where there is some sort of mental issue going on and we learn as things go on that there are warning signs. that's what i expect. that's what i've seen other experts expect talking about this. >> and there will be debate over gun issues, gun controls. connecticut has very strict gun laws and these guns were legally purchased as far as we know by the mother. >> if you were going to make a gun law to prevent this, you would have to take this woman's legally owned guns away the reason we found out so soon
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where these guns came from, connecticut has it's own registry, you have to have a certificate to own a handgun that comes with a -- a test -- not a test, but a class. a handgun safety class. no one under 21 can own a handgun and they have an assault weapons ban. this assault rifle, i don't have the details if it was legally owned, she must have owned it before 1993 and also had a certificate of possession registered with the state. some of the older guns were grandfathered in. can't have an assault weapon purchased in connecticut as i read from the law. >> how were they stored? in a locked box? a lot we don't know. drew, appreciate it. for parents, the ordeal began with the word that sandy hook elementary school was on lockdown. the first word that parents got. when we come back, we'll have more about what happened throughout the day.
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i was in new york, and my wife called me in hissterrics,
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so i rushed home, and she -- she heard some bangs and she went running into a bathroom. >> it was frightening, it was like my heart stopped beating. i can't even explain it. >> jason carroll gave us a look insi inside the vigil tonight. we're joined by the church's pasto pastor. what do you say to a parent? what do you say to a parent who is going through the worst possible kind of grief imaginable? >> you know, i had a number of conversations with parents today. a number of people belong to the parish community. the words are few. what can you say? many said thank you for many here with us. we prayed together, hugged each other, a lot of tears. certainly a lot of emotion, and
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i -- i don't really think it's settled into their lives. their child has been taken from them. i must say for the parents i spoke with today, there was a tremendous amount of love for these children, and i know that the days ahead are going to be very, very difficult. we as a community, certainly as a church community will be very present to them. but the words? what can you say at a time like this? >> there are a lot of parents wrestling around the country and around the world with what are they going to say to their children who ask them questions about this. what do you recommend for people to say to their kids. not kids at newtown at the school, but children who hear about this, want to know if they are safe, want to know about what happened? >> that's the one thing you have to assure them. some of the circumstances are beyond any human control. we have to teach these children they have to trust. you know, i know it's a difficult world in which we live and very difficult to trust
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everyone, but they have to have faith, faith in god and faith with each other and i hope parents learn the value of family and keep the values straight. the children need to know they are loved and they are in an environment where they can grow up to be productive citizens. i don't know how you take fear out of a child's heart except by love. and these children were deeply loved by their parents. i'm sure when they dropped their children off at the school, the last thing on their minds is this the way the day would end. i hope parents take the opportunity to talk to their children about the importance of being family and the importance of trusting and loving each other. >> one of the things i was thinking about today, after the aurora shooting in aurora, colorado, they had a sort of memorial service, and i remember the speakers would read the name of each person who was killed, and then the crowd would shout
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back, we will remember. we will remember you. that was so powerful. and i kept thinking about that today, our coverage tonight. we emphasize the importance of remembering the victims. and we saw that tonight at the vigil, people were literally -- they were outside. it was so many people wanting to go. they couldn't fit in. what was your message tonight? >> our message, i thut this was a day about hearts. i witnessed this morning, being with the families, with them for almost six hours. compassionate hearts, broken hearts, caring hearts. really about love in so many ways, and love lost, but love that will never be forgotten. i encourage people tonight -- we've got to do something about violence in this country, violence in the media, violence in the entertainment industry. it is filling their heads with an awareness that evil does exist in this world, but that good always conquers evil and the only way we'll change is by
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coming together as a community, and that's exactly what happened tonight. people came together to support each other and to encourage each other. to let each other know there is a better way to live. we don't have to be afraid if we work together as a community. >> monsignor, i know it's been a long day for you, a horrific day for you. i appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. thank you. >> thank you. >> again, soledad, as we've been saying all night long and all day long, there will be many difficult days ahead. >> no question, for those who have lost children and those whose children survived. tough conversations. many were telling us what happened when they came racing to the elementary school. they got word that the school was on lockdown and they were panicked. some tried to run to the school. sent to a nearby fire station, completely frantic scene by all
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accounts we've heard. people had to basically sit and wait to see if their children were alive or not. earlier, i spoke with christine wilford about her experience. her son is a second grader at the school. how are you doing now? >> it's still processing. it's -- it's scary, scary. no words. >> how is your son doing? are you encouraging him to talk and share or trying to take his mind off the terrible things that he witnessed and experiences? >> we've done a little bit of each. try to spoil him and, you know, take his mind off, let him play the ps3, stuff like that, and then trying to talk and process with him, letting them know when we found out about other children that he knows. >> you've gotten an electronic alert is really how you got the message, a robocall. how did that come across?
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what was said? it must have been the most terrifying thing. >> my husband and i were sitting there, and a neighbor was over and we got a robocall that all newtown schools were in lockdown due to a reported shooting. we immediately got online. my neighbor called her husband and he said he heard it was sandy hook. we hopped in the car and went down. >> the school was on lockdown. what does that mean? >> i'm not sure completely what that means. when i got there, all of the children evacuated were in the firehouse. which is close pitch. >> how are the kids holding up? >> it varies. my son seemed to be okay. mom, i'm okay, i'm safe. he gave me a big hug. a lot of children were crying and scared. >> how did he describe what happened? >> he said he heard what sounded like large pans falling, just
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loud noises. he said his teacher stepped outside the classroom, immediately came back in and locked the door and had them all get into a corner and sit down and just had them start reading quietly. >> how much time went by between that happened and before he was able to get to you? >> i don't know. he isn't able to piece how much time actually passed. he said after a little while, a police officer came and took them out of the building and brought them to the firehouse. >> we know that the principal had installed a system where you have to be buzzed in. >> yes. and it's been that way for the two years we've been here. you had to ring a doorbell and be let in, and the office is right in front of those doors, they can look out and see who is at the door? >> any particular reason for that? it's very typical in big cities, but communities pretty rural, a little bit of a rarity
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sometimes? >> i think they take the safety of our children very serious. it's a fairly large school. there's between 500 and 600 students there, and they want to keep control, and, you know who is in the building with our children. >> i was talking to the state police, and they said they are processing the scene still, which means there are children still inside. how do you explain to your son what has happened about his classmates? >> we -- we are a fairly religious family and we just had talked about that they had gone to heaven, and to, you know, be with jesus and that's about all we can say. you know, and talk about you're not going to see them anymore and not going to be around, and it's -- you really just struggle to find the words, you know, as to what happened. >> you should know that everyone is sending their well wishes, not just to you and your family,
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but to the community as a whole. >> we are a strong community. a strong family community with a lot of love. so i think that we'll get through this somehow, some way. >> christine, thanks so much. we appreciate it. right back to anderson. >> soledad, thanks very much. we'll be right back. americans are always ready to work hard for a better future. since ameriprise financial was founded back in 1894, they've been committed to putting clients first. helping generations through tough times. good times. never taking a bailout. there when you need them. helping millions of americans over the centuries. the strength of a global financial leader. the heart of a one-to-one relationship. together for your future. ♪ together for your future.
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talk about the hearts of newtown, the broken hearts, loving hearts and spoke in hopes of healing hearts tonight. here is more from the vigil today. ♪ >> i would like to share with you a letter from his holiness, pope benedict xvi, i was promptly informed of the shooting in sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. i conhave a my heartfelt grief and my personal prayers to the victims and their families. to all of those in the community of newtown and especially the


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