A man opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday morning, killing at least 26 people — including 20 children.
The gunman who committed suicide at the school has been identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Lanza's mother was a teacher at the school.
Authorities are questioning Adam's older brother, Ryan, who is 24.
“It’s alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America,” Stephen Delgiadice told the AP. His eight-year-old daughter heard two big bangs, but was not injured.
In a sign of respect for the victims of the shooting, President Obama issued an official proclamation ordering the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff at the White House, all public buildings and military posts until Dec. 18.
"As a country, we have been through this too many times," President Obama said in his remarks. "Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago -- these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children."
This was the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, "exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead in 2007," writes the Associated Press.
The president's proclamation reads:
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, December 18, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)