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Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:23

Newtown 911 calls show calm response to shooting

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Recordings of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting show town dispatchers calmly responding to a janitor, a teacher and others and assuring them help is coming.

The operators urge the people inside the school to take cover as they reach out to town officials and state police for help. The operators also ask about the welfare of the children.

A gunman shot his way into the school on the morning of Dec. 14 and gunned down 20 children and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle. He committed suicide as police arrived.

The calls to Newtown police were posted Wednesday on a town website. A court ordered the release of the tapes last week, despite the objections of prosecutors, after a legal challenge by The Associated Press.

Published in National News

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Adam Lanza may have hinted at his deadly plans online in the days before last year's Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

In documents that were part of a report released Monday, authorities say a Texas woman contacted Hartford police the day of the Dec. 14 attack to say her son had interacted with someone while playing a videogame 20 hours earlier who said there would be a school shooting.

It isn't clear whether she contacted authorities before or after the massacre.

Two days before the shooting, an anonymous user posted comments online saying that they planned to commit suicide Dec. 14 and that it would make national news. The poster said they lived in Connecticut.

The information came from an application for a search warrant for Lanza's computer. Authorities say that the computer's hard drive had been smashed and that nothing usable was obtained.

Published in National News

   HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Investigators are planning to release a long-awaited report on the Newtown school shooting, nearly a year after the massacre of 20 children and six women inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

   The summary report by the lead investigator, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, could provide some of the first official answers to questions about the history of the gunman and the police response to one of the worst school shootings in American history.

   The Dec. 14 shooting plunged the small New England community into mourning, elevated gun safety to the top of the agenda for President Barack Obama and led states across the country to re-evaluate laws on issues including school safety.

   The report expected Monday afternoon will not include the full evidence file of Connecticut State Police, which is believed to total thousands of pages. The decision to continue withholding the bulk of the evidence is stirring new criticism of the secrecy surrounding the investigation.

   Dan Klau, a Hartford attorney who specializes in First Amendment law, said the decision to release a summary report before the full evidence file is a reversal of standard practice and one of the most unusual elements of the investigation.

   "What I found troubling about the approach of the state's attorney is that from my perspective, he seems to have forgotten his job is to represent the state of Connecticut," Klau said. "His conduct in many instances has seemed more akin to an attorney in private practice representing Sandy Hook families."

   Sedensky said he could not comment.

   Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother inside their Newtown home before driving to his former elementary school, where he fired off 154 shots with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle within five minutes. He killed himself with a handgun as police arrived.

   Warrants released in March detailed an arsenal of weapons found inside the Lanza home. But authorities have not provided details on the police response to the shooting, any mental health records for Lanza and whether investigators found any clues to a possible motive for the rampage.

   Sedensky has gone to court to fight release of the 911 tapes from the school and resisted calls from Connecticut's governor to divulge more information sooner.

   The withholding of 911 recordings, which are routinely released in other cases, has been the subject of a legal battle between The Associated Press and Sedensky before the state's Freedom of Information Commission, which ruled in favor of the AP, and now Connecticut's court system. A hearing is scheduled Monday in New Britain Superior Court on whether the judge can hear the recordings as he considers an appeal.

Published in National News

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man who sold a rifle to the mother of the Newtown school shooter has pleaded guilty to failing to have a purchaser answer a question on a form related to citizenship.

 

   The transaction that led to the guilty plea involved a different customer.

 

   The U.S. attorney's office says Krystopher DiBella pleaded guilty Monday in Bridgeport to aiding and abetting the failure to make a proper entry on the form. Prosecutors and DiBella's lawyers have agreed to recommend three years of probation for the 25-year-old West Suffield resident.

 

   DiBella worked at Riverview Gun Sales in East Windsor. The Associated Press has reported Nancy Lanza bought from Riverview a Bushmaster rifle used in the December shooting by her son. Adam Lanza killed his mother at their home and then 26 people and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Published in National News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - When a gunman killed 26 children and staff at a Connecticut grade school, proposals to let teachers carry hidden guns into the classroom soon proliferated in many Republican-led states.

But less than four months later, the quest to put guns in schools has stalled in many traditionally gun-friendly states after encountering opposition from educators, reluctance from some governors and ambivalence from legislative leaders more focused on economic initiatives.

So far, South Dakota is the only state to respond with a new law allowing school personnel to carry guns into elementary and high schools. A similar proposal is poised for passage in Kansas. And Arkansas has enacted a new law allowing colleges to let staff with concealed gun permits bring their weapons on campus.

Published in Local News

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