Police investigators have put together a chilling timeline of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead in the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Investigators believe Adam Lanza, the killer, began last Friday by murdering his mother, with whom he lived, by firing two shots to her head while she was sleeping in her bed.
According to a timeline put together by the Hartford Courant, Lanza then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and forced his way into the building by firing “a half-dozen thunderous rounds from a semiautomatic rifle to open a hole big enough to step through in one of the school’s glass doors
As the Courant described (a map of the premises can be seen here), once Lanza was inside the school, he could have headed to the principal’s office ahead of him. He could have gone into the cafeteria to his right, where he would have found 25 children rehearsing for a play. Instead, he turned left to where the first grade classrooms were.
At about 9:40 a.m. on Friday, Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsburg and school psychologist Mary Scherlach, “shocked by the sounds of gunfire and shattering glass, bolted into a corridor from a conference room across the hall” and confronted Lanza in the hallway. Lanza shot them both. Hochsprung reportedly lunged at Lanza as she was being shot.
Then, Lanza reached teacher Kaitlin Roig’s classroom:
Alarmed by the gunfire, she had hidden her students in a bathroom and closed her classroom door. For reasons that could not be explained Saturday, Lanza passed by Roig’s classroom.
After bypassing Roig’s classroom, Lanza entered substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau’s classroom and executed everyone in the room. He killed all 14 children, who were found huddling and clutching each other, in addition to Rousseau and a special eduction teacher.
Later, when police arrived on the scene, they heard a “child’s moans from where the bodies of the children in Rousseau’s classroom had collapsed together. Police had to move several bodies to reach an injured boy, who died en route to Danbury Hospital.”
Lanza then entered Victoria Soto’s classroom. According to investigators, Soto hid her students in a classroom closet and told Lanza that the students were in the auditorium to divert Lanza to the other end of the school.
But when six of Soto’s students tried to flee, Lanza shot and killed them all, bringing the total number of children dead to 20. He then shot and killed Soto and another teacher in the room.
At this time, police were closing in on Lanza, and that is when Lanza shot himself in the head. Lanza’s body fell by the door to Soto’s classroom.
The scene the police found in Soto’s classroom was chilling, stunning, and heartbreaking. Police investigators said they were shocked when they opened the closet door and found seven sets of eyes looking at them. These were the students Soto heroically had saved.
Police later went to Lanza’s home, where they found his dead mother and evidence that they will use to try and find a motive. Investigators uncovered a computer of interest that Lanza used to play a “violent video game in which life-like characters engage in graphic battle scenes.”
Investigators have determined Lanza “fired at least three, 30-round magazines,” and all of his victims were shot multiple times.