Saturday, December 15, 2012

Published:

Conn. gunman forced his way into school, shot some victims twice with rifle, authorities say

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- The gunman behind the Connecticut elementary school massacre stormed into the building and shot 20 children at least twice with a high-powered rifle, executing some at close range and killing adults who tried to stop the carnage, authorities said Saturday.

He forced his way into the school by breaking a window, officials said. Asked whether the children suffered, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver paused. "If so," he said, "not for very long."

The terrible details about the last moments of young innocents emerged as authorities released their names and ages -- the youngest 6 and 7, the oldest 56. They included Ana Marquez-Greene, a little girl who had just moved to Newtown from Canada; Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old teacher who apparently died while trying to hide her pupils; and principal Dawn Hochsprung, who authorities said lunged at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him and paid with her life.

The tragedy has plunged Newtown into mourning and added the picturesque New England community of handsome Colonial homes, red-brick sidewalks and 27,000 people to the grim map of towns where mass shootings in recent years have periodically reignited the national debate over gun control but led to little change.

Faced with the unimaginable, townspeople sadly took down some of their Christmas decorations and struggled Saturday with how to go on. Signs around town read, "Hug a teacher today," ''Please pray for Newtown" and "Love will get us through."

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On routine morning, gunman killed his mother, then unleashed a slaughter on elementary school

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Inside the four-bedroom colonial set on a small rise, Nancy Lanza was already dead. But it was early yet, and it would be hours before her body was found -- time enough for her son to unleash a slaughter.

For now, though, all seemed idyllic in this 300-year-old town under crystalline skies.

Adam Lanza, 20 years old, fascinated by computers and recalled by former classmates as painfully awkward, left the house in his mother's car and drove past fine old churches and towering trees. It was the holiday season, and lawns were decorated with lights and electric reindeer. It was just five miles from home to Sandy Hook Elementary, where hallways and classrooms rang with talk of Hannukah and Christmas.

Inside the music room, a group of fourth graders were watching the movie "The Nutcracker."

Theodore Varga and some other teachers were meeting. Their students, the oldest kids in the school, were in specialty classes like gym and music. The glow remained from the previous night's fourth-grade concert.

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Portraits of Conn. shooting victims show lives at their very start, ended in hail of gunfire

Most died at the very start of their young lives, tiny victims taken in a way not fit for anyone regardless of age. Others found their life's work in sheltering little ones, teaching them, caring for them, treating them as their own. After the gunfire ended Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the trail of loss was more than many could bear: 20 children and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself.

A glimpse of some of those who died:

Olivia Engel, 6, student

The images of Olivia Engel will live far beyond her short lifetime. There she is, visiting with Santa Claus, or feasting on a slice of birthday cake. There's the one of her swinging a pink baseball bat, and another posing on a boat. In some, she models a pretty white dress, in others she makes a silly face.

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Names and ages of those killed in Conn. rampage

Names and ages of the 26 people gunned down at a Connecticut elementary school Friday in the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

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Obama to travel Sunday to Newtown, Conn., site of deadly elementary school shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will attend an interfaith memorial service Sunday in Newtown, Conn., the site of Friday's deadly elementary school shooting.

Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were killed when a man opened fire inside the school.

Hours after the shooting, a tearful Obama said he grieved first as a father. In those remarks and later in his Saturday radio address, Obama called for "meaningful action" to prevent such shootings, but did not say what it should be.

Obama's visit to Newtown for an interfaith vigil would be the fourth time he has traveled to a city after a mass shooting.

The president had planned to travel to Maine Wednesday for an event promoting his positions in "fiscal cliff" negotiations, but the White House canceled that trip because of the shooting.

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School adviser remembers Connecticut gunman as awkward loner who had trouble feeling pain

SOUTHBURY, Conn. (AP) -- At Newtown High School, Adam Lanza had trouble relating to fellow students and teachers, but that was only part of his problem. He seemed not to feel physical or psychological pain in the same way as classmates.

Richard Novia, the school district's head of security until 2008, who also served as adviser for the school technology club, said Lanza clearly "had some disabilities."

"If that boy would've burned himself, he would not have known it or felt it physically," Novia told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "It was my job to pay close attention to that."

Novia was responsible for monitoring students as they used soldering tools and other potentially dangerous electrical equipment.

He recalled meeting with school guidance counselors, administrators and with the boy's mother, Nancy Lanza, to understand his problems and find ways to ensure his safety. But there were others crises only a mother could solve.

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Egyptians take their quarrel over Islamist-backed constitution all the way to the polls

CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptians took their quarrel over a draft constitution to polling stations Saturday after weeks of violent turmoil between the newly empowered Islamists and the mostly liberal opposition over the future identity of the nation.

Regardless of the outcome, the heated arguments among voters standing in line signaled that the referendum over the contentious charter is unlikely to end Egypt's worst political crisis since the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.

The voting capped a nearly two-year struggle over the post-Mubarak identity of Egypt, with the latest crisis over the charter evolving into a dispute over whether Egypt should move toward a religious state under President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and their ultraconservative Salafi allies, or one that retains secular traditions and an Islamic character.

Underlining the tension, some 120,000 army troops were deployed to help the police protect polling stations and state institutions after clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents over the past three weeks left at least 10 people dead and about 1,000 wounded. The large-scale deployment did not stop a mob of supporters of ultraconservative cleric Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail attacking the Cairo offices of the liberal Wafd party, a member of an opposition alliance that has campaigned against the draft constitution.

"Today I would like to offer my condolences to the Egyptian people on the collapse of the rule of law," Wafd leader El-Sayyed el-Badawi said.

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Ill Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton faints, sustains concussion, recovering at home

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who skipped an overseas trip this past week because of a stomach virus, sustained a concussion after fainting, the State Department said Saturday.

The 65-year-old Clinton, who's expected to leave her job soon, was recovering at home after the incident last week and is being monitored by doctors, according to a statement by aide Philippe Reines.

No further details were immediately available.

President Barack Obama telephoned his top diplomat Saturday to wish her well, a White House official said.

The State Department said Clinton was dehydrated because of the virus, fainted and sustained a concussion. She will continue to work from home in the week ahead and looks forward to returning to the office "soon," the statement said.

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AP source: Boehner proposes higher taxes for millionaires, Obama declines but talks continue

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Signaling new movement in "fiscal cliff" talks, House Speaker John Boehner has proposed raising the top rate for earners making more than $1 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said. President Barack Obama, who wants higher top rates for households earning more than $250,000, has not accepted the offer, this person said.

The proposal, however, indicated progress in talks that had appeared stalled. The person would only discuss the plan on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

As part of a broader budget deal, Boehner is still seeking more spending cuts than Obama has proposed, particularly in mandatory health care spending. Boehner has asked for a long-term increase in eligibility age for Medicare and for lower costs-of-living adjustments for Social Security.

Boehner's tax proposal was first reported by Politico.

A Boehner aide would not comment on the report.

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Butler topples No. 1 Indiana 88-86 in overtime on late basket by walk-on Barlow

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- All Butler guard Alex Barlow saw Saturday was space and an opportunity to make a play.

So the unlikeliest player on the floor took a chance and made the biggest shot of the game.

When Indiana's defenders failed to converge on the 5-foot-11 walk-on, Barlow kept right on going through the lane, drove to the basket and hit a spinning 6-foot jumper with 2.4 seconds left in overtime Saturday to give the Bulldogs another stunning upset -- 88-86 over No. 1 Indiana in the Crossroads Classic.

"The floater is a shot I work on a lot and I happened to get a lucky bounce," Barlow said. "It was a good feeling."

Luckily for the Bulldogs (8-2), Barlow was on the floor.