State police personnel lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in this handout picture from the Newtown Bee, in Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012. All public schools in Newtown, Connecticut, were placed in lockdown on Friday following a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
UPDATE: According to ABC News, the killer was 20 year old Adam Lanza. His mother was a teacher at the school, and she is one of the 27 dead.
In one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, at least 27 are dead at a Connecticut elementary school. Those dead include 18 children, the school principal, and psychologist, according to a Reuters report. Many of the shootings reportedly took place in a kindergarten classroom.
The situation is still unfolding, but at least one shooter is dead inside the building while a second man in camouflage was arrested in the woods nearby. The deceased shooter had from two to four guns and wore a bulletproof vest. He is reportedly the father of one of the students at the school. Details of his death are not yet available.
A SWAT team responded to the shooting, with the police directing children to run from the school to a nearby firehouse. Some of the children left the school with blood on them. Stephen Delgiadice, father of an 8-year-old daughter who escaped unharmed, said, “It’s alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America.”
According to the White House, President Obama has been advised of the situation. He will continue to receive reports throughout the day.
The debate over guns is bound to be renewed. The question of just how safe any corner of America can be under the current gun laws needs to be at the forefront of the discussion. The recent rash of shootings — in the wake of budget cuts for programs that help the mentally ill — should also make us wonder wonder why mentally ill people have better access to guns than they have to treatment for their conditions.