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Police confirm 20 children dead in US school shooting

NEWTOWN, CT (NEWS1130) – Police have confirmed 20 children have been killed after a man with a gun went into an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut today.

Eighteen children died at the school; two others died in hospital.

In total, seven adults were also killed, including the school principal, a psychologist, and the mother of the suspected shooter, who was a kindergarten teacher at the school, but not there at the time of the shooting.

CNN is reporting she was found inside of a home in Newton, CT. There are suggestions that three of the guns found at the elementary school were registered to her.

The suspected shooter is a 20-year-old.

The suspect’s older brother is now in police custody and is being questioned. The Associated Press is reporting that he is being “extremely co-operative” and is not under arrest. CNN is also reporting the shooter’s father has been taken into police custody for questioning.

We’re also hearing the suspect’s girlfriend and another friend are missing in New Jersey.

The shots rang out around 9:30 a.m.

A picture posted by the local newspaper, the Newton Bee, shows frightened children being led away by a teacher. They were apparently led out of the school and told to cover their eyes as they passed an office where the shooting is said to have occurred.

“We’re cautiously optimistic we can have positive IDs by tomorrow,” says Connecticut Lt. Paul Vance. “We are confident we have the shooter.”

“We’re looking at all the history. We’ll go back as far as we need to go in this investigation and hopefully we’ll stumble on answers and not develop any more questions,” he continues. “This is something you train for, you train for, you plan for, you work towards, you hope to never have to use. Their training kicked in, they saved a lot of lives.”

“Everyone has come together in the law enforcement community, this is a massive investigation that many law enforcement agencies never have to undertake.”

Parents reportedly learned about the shooting via text and email.

This is one of the worst school shooting in US history.

There have been 31 US school shootings since the killings at Columbine more than a decade ago; there have been 14 school shootings in every other country in the world since then, combined.

Six hundred students in kindergarten to Grade 4 attend Sandy Hook Elementary School.

US President makes statement

Barack Obama says the country’s leaders must “take meaningful action,” regardless of politics.

The president teared up, at times using an index finger to wipe at the corner of his eyes, as he addressed the nation from the White House. He also paused repeatedly as he struggled to keep his composure while speaking of the children — aged 5 to 10 — who had died and the life milestones they now would miss.

He said, “Our hearts are broken.”

Shortly before speaking, Obama ordered that US flags be flown at half-staff on public grounds through Tuesday.

Condolences flowing in from around the world

Virginia’s governor, still reeling from the massacre at Virginia Tech five years ago, is offering his thoughts and prayers.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Christy Clark are also offering their sympathies.

Reactions have been pouring in on Twitter; the hashtag #PrayForNewtown has been trending.