Sunday, December 16, 2012

Published:

Police: Conn. gunman had hundreds of rounds of ammunition, enough to kill almost every student

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- The gunman in the Connecticut shooting rampage was carrying an arsenal of hundreds of rounds of especially deadly ammunition -- enough to kill just about every student in the school if given enough time, authorities said Sunday, raising the chilling possibility that the bloodbath could have been even worse.

Hours later, President Barack Obama told mourners at a vigil that the nation is failing to keep its children safe. He pledged to seek change in memory of the 26 staffers and schoolchildren who were killed in the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

"What choice do we have?" Obama said. "Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"

The gunman, Adam Lanza, shot himself in the head just as he heard police drawing near to the classroom where he was slaughtering helpless children, but he had more ammunition at the ready in the form of multiple, high-capacity clips each capable of holding 30 bullets.

The disclosure on Sunday sent shudders throughout this picturesque New England community as grieving families sought to comfort each other during church services devoted to impossible questions like that of a 6-year-old girl who asked her mother: "The little children, are they with the angels?"

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Mother of school gunman shared friendships, but kept home life a hidden card

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- At the bar, everybody knew her name.

Nancy Lanza was the one who, if she heard you were short on cash, regularly offered to pick up the tab at My Place.

Two or three nights a week, Lanza -- the mother of the gunman in Connecticut's horrific school massacre -- came in for carryout salads, but stayed for Chardonnay and good humor. The divorced mother of two -- still smooth-skinned and ash blonde at 52 -- clearly didn't have to work, but was always glad to share talk of her beloved Red Sox, gardening and a growing enthusiasm for target shooting.

But while Lanza spoke proudly about her sons and brought them in for breakfast when they were younger, friends say she held one card very close: home life, especially its trials and setbacks, was off limits.

Now, the secrets Lanza kept are at the center of the questions that envelop this New England town, grieving over the slaughter unleashed by her 20-year-old son Adam, who investigators say killed his mother Friday with one of her own guns before murdering 26 children and teachers at a nearby school.

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10 Things to Know for Monday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and stories that will be talked about Monday:

1. LANZA HAD ENOUGH AMMO TO KILL ALMOST EVERY CHILD AT SCHOOL

As a Connecticut town mourns, some residents wonder if life can ever return to normal in Newtown.

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Obama pays tribute to Newtown victims, says he comes bearing 'love and prayers of a nation'

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- He spoke for a nation in sorrow, but the slaughter of all those little boys and girls turned the commander in chief into another parent in grief, searching for answers. Alone on a spare stage after the worst day of his tenure, President Barack Obama declared Sunday he will use "whatever power" he has to prevent shootings like the Connecticut school massacre.

"What choice do we have?" Obama said at an evening vigil in the shattered community of Newtown, Conn. "Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?"

For Obama, that was an unmistakable sign that he would at least attempt to take on the explosive issue of gun control. He made clear that the deaths compelled the nation to act, and that he was the leader of a nation that was failing to keep its children safe. He spoke of a broader effort, never outlining exactly what he would push for, but outraged by another shooting rampage.

"Surely we can do better than this," he said. "We have an obligation to try."

The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday elicited horror around the world, soul-searching in the United States, fresh political debate and questions about the incomprehensible -- what drove the 20-year-old suspect to kill his mother and then unleash gunfire on children.

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Many employees at Conn. school being hailed as heroes in wake of deadly shooting

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- A worker who turned on the intercom, alerting others in the building that something was very wrong. A custodian who risked his life by running through the halls warning of danger. A clerk who led 18 children on their hands and knees to safety, then gave them paper and crayons to keep them calm and quiet.

Out of the ruins of families that lost a precious child, sister or mother, out of a tight-knit town roiling with grief, glows one bright spot: the stories of staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School who may have prevented further carnage through selfless actions and smart snap judgments.

District Superintendent Janet Robinson noted "incredible acts of heroism" that "ultimately saved so many lives."

"The teachers were really, really focused on their students," she told reporters Saturday.

Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Conn. victims recalled as young children full of life and adults devoted to them

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- At the very start of their lives, the schoolchildren are remembered for their love of horses, or for the games they couldn't get enough of, or for always saying grace at dinner. The adult victims found their life's work in sheltering little ones, teaching them, caring for them, treating them as their own. The gunfire Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School left a toll both unbearable and incalculable: 20 students and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself.

A glimpse of some of those who died:

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CHARLOTTE BACON, 6

They were supposed to be for the holidays, but finally on Friday, after hearing much begging, Charlotte Bacon's mother relented and let her wear the new pink dress and boots to school.

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AP PHOTOS: Scenes from the Connecticut elementary school shooting

Most died at the very start of their young lives, tiny victims taken in a way not fit for anyone regardless of age. Others found their life's work in sheltering little ones, teaching them, caring for them, treating them as their own. After the gunfire ended at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the trail of loss was more than many could bear: 20 students and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself.

Here are some images from the town that was the scene of the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

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Movement seen in 'fiscal cliff' talks as Boehner offers revenue boost

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Big differences remain, but there is finally movement in long-stalled talks on avoiding the "fiscal cliff."

House Speaker John Boehner is offering $1 trillion in higher tax revenue over 10 years and an increase in the top tax rate on people making more than $1 million a year. He's also offering a large enough extension in the government's borrowing cap to fund the government for one year before the issue must be revisited -- conditioned on Obama agreeing to the $1 trillion in cuts.

The offer, made Friday after a long impasse between Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Barack Obama, calls for about $450 billion in revenue from increasing the top rate on million-dollar-plus income from 35 percent to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6 percent.

The additional revenue would be collected through a rewrite of the tax code next year and by slowing the inflation adjustments made to tax brackets.

In return, Boehner is asking for $1 trillion in spending cuts from government benefit programs like Medicare. Those cuts would defer most of a painful set of across-the-board spending cuts set to slash many domestic programs and the Pentagon budget by 8-9 percent, starting in January.

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Mistrust runs deep amid allegations of violations in Egypt referendum

CAIRO (AP) -- Nevine Mustafa finally had enough after 10 hours of waiting to cast her "no" vote in Egypt's referendum on a highly disputed draft constitution. She and the other women in line were convinced the judge running the polling station was deliberately stalling to drive away voters opposed to the document.

So the 39-year-old housewife and dozens of other women launched a protest, blocking the street and chanting against the judge in an upper class district of Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city.

"The line was not moving since 8 a.m. I protest. It is now 7 p.m.," an agitated Mustafa said at the time. "He wants us to get bored and leave." After their protest, new officials were brought in to speed up the process.

The scene was a reflection of the deep distrust of Egypt's ruling Islamists and their management of a referendum on a draft constitution that they largely wrote. Questions raised Sunday over the referendum's legitimacy suggest the confrontation between Islamists and their secular, liberal and Christian opponents will not be resolved by the long-awaited vote.

As Islamist President Mohammed Morsi rushed the referendum despite high pitched opposition, the dispute over the charter has turned into a fight over the Islamists' hold on power, and the ballot has become a yes or no vote on the president himself.

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Syrian vice president: regime, rebels both losing in civil war, no military decision possible

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria's longtime vice president said Sunday that his regime and the rebels are both going down a losing path after 21 months of civil war, a rare admission by a top government official that President Bashar Assad's victory is unlikely.

The comments by Farouk al-Sharaa came as an Islamist faction of Syrian rebels captured an infantry base in the northern city of Aleppo, and Syrian warplanes blasted a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, killing eight people and wounding dozens, activists said.

Al-Sharaa told the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar that neither the rebels nor the Assad regime can "decide the battle militarily." It appeared to be an attempt to show that the rebels are not the solution to the Syria conflict, and their victory might bring chaos to the country.

Balancing that, he said the Assad regime "cannot achieve change."

The solution to the conflict must come from within Syria, al-Sharaa said, adding that any political settlement "must include stopping all types of violence, and the creation of a national unity government with wide powers."