Transcript: Connecticut State Police press briefing on the Sandy Hook school shooting
Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang
Transcript of the two press briefings by Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance on the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012:
State Police Lt. Paul Vance: Hi. Good evening. I just would like to re-state some of the information that we made available earlier. We’ll take some questions but I must preface my remarks by saying this is an active, ongoing investigation. There’s a great deal of work to go and there’s a lot of things that we cannot confirm or discuss as of yet.
But shortly after 9:30 this morning, Newtown Police Department received a call for help at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Upon realizing the intensity [audio unintelligible], surrounding police departments and the State Police responded to assist.
Upon arrival, law enforcement officers at the school, they immediately entered the school as we knew this was an active – potential active shooter situation. Their focus was to search for students, faculty, and staff and remove them to a safe area outside of the school. They did search every nook and cranny, every room, every portion of that school and accomplished that task.
They took the rescued to a staging area to re-unite them with their family members.
As it’s been reported, there were fatalities. There were 18 children who were pronounced dead at the school; there were 2 that were transported to area hospitals and pronounced dead at area hospitals; and there were 6 adults pronounced dead at the scene at the school.
As the Governor reported, the shooter is deceased – deceased in the school.
There’s a great deal of work going on relative to that – that’s the reason why we have not identified him as of yet. By that I mean search warrants, examinations of areas of resident, employment, and any ancillary things that may be attached to the identity of that individual.
The scene has been secured. Newtown Police officers, State Police Major Crimes units from both western district and central district have responded and are working with several agencies to process the scene.
It is not a simplistic scene. You can certainly understand that we need to establish identity, we need to document the entire scene, and simply stated we need to answer every single question surrounding exactly how, why this incident occurred.
As the Governor said, we will be here through the night – certainly through the weekend. We’re not even putting a timestamp on this as to when we will complete this project.
We’ll work with the medical examiner’s office. We have to establish positive identification. And again, there’s a great deal of work that needs to be done here at this school.
We’ll take some very brief questions but understand that this is an active, ongoing case. There are many things that we cannot and will not discuss at this time.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: There’s a secondary crime scene here in Newtown. That is, in fact, correct. There’s an adult deceased at that location. I can’t discuss any further information on that at this time.
There is assistance being lent to us by New Jersey. I don’t have the details on that – that’s why I can’t answer that. I’m sorry.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: I can simply state that the information that we have right now that we wan to publicize the shootings did take place in one section of the school, in two rooms. One section, two rooms. That’s as much as we want to go in right now as far as location.
Our personnel are documenting that entire scene and will have literally everything mapped out in the final report and the final information we’ll present will answer those questions. But right now, I don’t have any more detail than that.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: Right now, there’s one shooter. But again, we’re still looking at every ancillary fact and circumstance related to the deceased shooter at the scene.
Question: What types of weapons did he use?
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: I don’t have that information. I’m sorry.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: To be determined. I don’t have that information either.
The next step will be the medical examiner’s office will certainly assist us in answering a lot of those questions – the manner and cause of death of all of the deceased.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: That’s it. 26 deceased. I’m sorry one injury. One person was injured.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: There was one section or one area of the school. That’s the best I can do on that answer. I don’t know specifically how many rooms were involved. I was told that there were two but in one section of the school building.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: Everyone was in that same section of the building.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: To be determined, sir. Section of the building is as far as we want to go.
Question: Did you sayhow the shooter died?
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: We did not. We did not. That’s to be determined once the post-mortem examinations are complete.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: 20 children. 6 adults. And the shooter. 27 total, that’s correct. That’s at the school itself. And then there’s one more, as we said, in the secondary crime scene. There’s a deceased adult in the secondary crime scene.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: To be determined. That’s really something that our investigators are going to have to look at thoroughly, completely, and that’ll take some time to try and answer that question.
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: We haven’t established any of that, ma’am. We have not made any positive identification. We’re working on that. There’s a preliminary identification that’s been made but we have, as I said, a great deal of work. That’s one thing we have to do is to establish positive identification on all of the deceased and it’s a time-consuming process.
Question: Age range of the victims?
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: I don’t. No. It’s a K-4 elementary school.
Question: When police went into the school, were there still shots being fired at that time?
Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance: That I don’t know. I don’t know the time sequence on that. That will be something that we will provide you.
State Police Lt. Paul Vance: Good afternoon. I will give you some very basic and very brief information as we know it now and we set up additional press briefings as appropriate.
Just after 9:30 this morning, Newtown Police received a 9-1-1 call for an emergency at the elementary school. Newtown PD upon obtaining information as to the stature of the situation contacted Connecticut State Police and requested assistance from State Police and surrounding local police departments.
On and off-duty troopers responded to the school and with Newtown Police immediately upon arrival entered the school and began a complete active shooter search of the building. That included checking every door, every crack, every crevice, every portion of that school.
Our main objective was to evacuate as quickly and as efficiently as possible any and all students and faculty at the school.
The entire school was searched. That was accomplished. A staging area was set up. Students and staff were put in that staging area and soon thereafter the children were re-united with their parents or loved ones.
There were several fatalities at the scene – both students and staff. There’s no information relative to that being released at this time until we make complete and proper notification.
The shooter’s deceased inside the building. There’s a great deal of work that is undertaken immediately upon locating the shooter and that is there’s a great deal of search warrant activity, there’s a great deal of law enforcement activity both in and out of the state to ensure that we cover all the bases relative to that specific individual.
Suffice it to say, the scene is secure. State Police Major Crimes Squad, Newtown Police Department, Danbury’s State Attorney and many agencies are working together to answer the questions surrounding exactly what happened.