New York/Washington: Investigators looking for answers as to why a 20-year-old gunman shot dead 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut elementary school before apparently killing himself were combing the crime scene Saturday.
The bodies of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, 60 miles north of New York City, were transported to the office of the state medical examiner for post-mortem examinations, state police said.
Police were still groping for the possible motive of the shooter, identified by as 20-year-old Adam Lanza who authorities said appeared to have taken his own life, turning his gun on himself in the school.
Police said Lanza, who grew up in the tight-knit community of 27,000, killed his mother at her Newtown home before going to the school where he primarily targeted two classrooms.
Until Friday, only one homicide in the past 10 years had been reported in the upscale community of expansive homes surrounded by woods, where many residents commute to jobs in Manhattan and the nearby Connecticut cities of Stamford and Hartford.
Lanza may have had access to at least five guns, CNN reported Saturday citing a law enforcement official.
Three weapons were recovered from the school Friday: a semi-automatic .223 calibre rifle made by Bushmaster was found in a car in the school parking lot, and two pistols made by Glock and a Sig Sauer were found with suspected gunman Lanza’s body, a law enforcement source said previously.
The weapons were legally purchased by Lanza’s mother, the official was quoted as saying.
After killing his mother, investigators believe Lanza took her guns and made his way to the elementary school.
There, dressed in black fatigues and a military vest, according to a law enforcement official, Lanza reportedly targeted two classrooms of kindergartners and first-graders, CNN said.
Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance told a press conference in Newtown Saturday that the gunman forcibly entered the school whose doors were locked.
At about 9.30 a.m. Friday, as announcements were read over the loudspeaker to the nearly 700 students, the first shots rang out. Students described being ushered into bathrooms and closets by teachers after hearing the first shots.
Authorities, meanwhile, in Hoboken, New Jersey, were questioning Ryan Lanza, the suspected gunman’s older brother, CNN reported citing law enforcement sources.
Lanza’s father, Peter, who lives in Connecticut, was similarly questioned, one of the law enforcement officials said.
With the death toll at 26, the massacre in Newtown is the second-deadliest school shooting in US history, behind the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting that left 32 dead, including two Indians.