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Daniel Caesar
Daniel Caesar
May 20, 2024

Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting


On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty of the victims were children between the ages of six and seven years old, and the rest of the victims were adult staff members. 

On November 30, 2012, 456 children were enrolled in kindergarten through fourth grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The school had recently had its security protocols upgraded, which required visitors to be individually admitted after visual and identification review by a video monitor. The doors would be locked at 9:30 a.m. each day after morning arrivals. Under the Connecticut gun laws at the time, 20-year-old Lanza was old enough to carry a long gun like a rifle or a shotgun, but too young to carry a handgun. The guns he used in the mass shooting were purchased legally by his mother.

On December 14, 2012, at around 9:30 a.m., Lanza shot and killed his mother Nancy Lanza who was 52 at the time, with a .22 caliber Savage Mark II rifle at their Newtown home. Investigators later found her body in her bed, with four gunshots to her head. Lanza then drove off to Sandy Hook Elementary in his mother’s car. Shortly after 9:35 a.m., Lanza shot his way through a glass panel next to the locked front entrance doors to the school. He was armed with his mother’s XM15-E2S rifle and ten magazines with 30 rounds each. He was wearing black clothing, yellow earplugs, a black hat, sunglasses, and an olive green utility vest. 

The principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach were meeting with other faculty members when they heard, but didn’t recognize at the time, gunshots. Hochsprung, Sherlach, and lead teacher Natalie Hammond went into the hall to determine what the sounds were, when they encountered Lanza. Lanza killed both Hochsprung and Sherlach. Many of the students and teachers recall hearing various gunshots and the shooter saying, “Put your hands up!” and other people telling him “Don’t shoot!”. After he killed Hochsprung and Sherlach, Lanza entered the main office but didn’t see the people hiding there and returned to the hallway. The school nurse Sarah Cox hid under a desk in her office, where she and school secretary Barbara Hlastead called 911 and hid in a first aid supply closet for 4 hours. Meanwhile, the janitor Rick Thorne ran through hallways, alerting classrooms. Lanza then went into rooms 8 and 10, where he proceeded to shoot as many of the kids as he could, with most teachers shielding them with their bodies. The students who were able to escape took the chance to run when Lanza stopped shooting, either because his weapon jammed or he erred in reloading it. Lanza later shot himself at around 9:40 a.m. 

The victims were Nancy Lanza (52), Rachael D’Avino (29), Dawn Hochsprung (47), Anne Marie Murphy (52), Lauren Rousseau (30), Mary Sherlach (56), and Victoria Leigh Soto (27). The students whose lives were lost were Charlotte Bacon (6), Daniel Barden (7), Olivia Engel (6), Josephine Gay (7), Dylan Hockley (6), Madeleine Hsu (6), Catherine Hubbard (6), Chase Kowalski (7), Jesse Lewis (6), Ana Márques-Greene (6), James Mattioli (6), Grace McDonnell (7), Emilie Parker (6), Jack Pinto (6), Noah Pozner (6), Caroline Previdi (6), Jessica Rekos (6), Avielle Richman (6), Benjamin Wheeler (6), and Allison Wyatt (6). This incident is the deadliest mass shooting in Connecticut history and the deadliest at an elementary school in U.S. history. This shooting prompted renewed debate about gun control in the United States.


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Jessica Aguilar-Resendiz is a student who lives in Cornelius Oregon. She likes to bake, listen to music and hang out with friends.

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