Details Of Connecticut Shooter Still Unclear
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
This morning in Newtown, state police have briefed residents and reporters on the latest information about yesterday's tragic events. And at the moment, information about the shooter, who's been identified by law enforcement officials as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, is scant. He was found dead at the elementary school. Lanza is believed to have acted alone. NPR's Joel Rose is at this morning's briefing in Newtown. Joel, thanks for being with us.
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Hi, Scott.
SIMON: And what was the new information that came out; that in fact, contradicted some reports that we've been hearing since yesterday?
ROSE: Well, so State Police Lt. Paul Vance did say a few things that, as you say, contradicted previous reports. Vance said that the gunman forced his way into the school; that he was not admitted voluntarily, as some news outlets had previously reported. That was new. And Lt. Vance also, in response to a question about a possible motive for the shooting, said that police had gathered some good evidence - he called it - at the primary crime scene, at the school, as well as at a secondary crime scene. Lt. Vance did not elaborate on what that evidence is, but it's really the first hint we've had at all, that police have a theory about a motive, an idea about a motive. As I say, it's very preliminary, Vance did not go into any detail about what the evidence is, or what that theory might be. But it's the first hint we have that police have anything to go on here, when it comes to the motive for these horrific shootings.
SIMON: And what do we know about that second crime scene? Apparently, Adam Lanza's mother has been found there.
ROSE: Right. Federal law enforcement officials have confirmed to NPR that the body found at that second site is Nancy Lanza, the mother of the shooter. That's about all we know. There are a lot of conflicting questions - there are a lot of conflicting reports, rather, about Nancy Lanza; a lot of questions about her relationship to the school. You know, it was initially reported that she was a teacher there, or perhaps a teacher's aide, or perhaps a substitute teacher. There have been a lot of statements that - you know, from teachers and other staff at the school, who say they don't know who she is.
So we really, at this point, have more questions about Nancy Lanza; and can't really say, with any confidence, what her connection was to the school. We are hoping to get more information about that from the superintendant of the school district, who is expected to speak to reporters sometime today. But, you know, we don't have any TA for that and we don't - you know, we just don't know what the superintendant will be able to tell us about Nancy - Nancy Lanza.
SIMON: And I gather, Joel, in the next few hours, we might begin to get official report of the names of those who died in the school.
ROSE: Yeah. Lt. Paul Vance says - told us to expect that today. The medical examiner has been working through the night, and has positive identification for all of the victims. And when that work is finished, Vance promised that the medical examiner would be coming forward to talk to the media here; and that the department would be simultaneously releasing the names of the victims. You know, some of them have been widely discussed but, you know...
ROSE: ...nevertheless, you know, the official release is likely to happen today.
SIMON: Joel, how are families getting through these hours?
ROSE: Well, there are crisis response hotlines that have been set up by several local hospitals. Grief counseling is taking place at - at least one middle school here, in Newtown. Churches here have been open - really, around the clock, since the shooting yesterday. There are at least four separate candlelight vigils that we know of, here in Newtown. You know, this is going to be a very long process of grieving in this town, in western Connecticut; that residents described as a safe place, where nothing could ever go wrong. Now that, you know - it's going to be a very slow process for them to come to grips with this as the, you know, the real depth of the tragedy here starts to sink in.
SIMON: NPR's Joel Rose in Newtown, Connecticut. Thanks so much.