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A gunman killed 26, including 20 children, then turned a gun on himself during an early morning killing spree at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, The Associated Press reported. The shooter was found dead at the scene, with reports indicating there were at least 100 shots fired. He also killed his mother earlier that day.
An AP video showed a father, whose child attends the school but was not injured, struggling to describe his emotions when he learned about the event. He stated that there were “no words that I could come up with that would even come close to describing the sheer terror of hearing that…your child’s in a place, where there’s been violence. You don’t know the details of that violence, you don’t know the condition of your child and you can’t do anything to immediately help them or protect them. It is a powerless and terrifying experience.”
Newtown High School students told their reactions to The Hartford Courant:
The newspaper stated that many of the students wondered, “Why someone would do that to the children.”
The incident takes its place among the most deadly mass shootings in United States history, including Columbine (15 deaths) and Virginia Tech (32 deaths). It also comes on the heels of a July 2012 movie-theater massacre in Colorado, which left 12 dead; a shooting spree in an Oregon mall earlier in the week, resulting in three deaths; and, on the same day, a knife attack at a primary school in China that injured 22 children. Also on the same day, a high school massacre plot was foiled in Oklahoma.
For more about such killing sprees—and why they happen—read Making Sense of an Earth Filled with Violence.