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Massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School

27 people – 20 of them children – were killed in a school shooting Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.

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Gun control debate heads to Olympia

grandmaOLYMPIA – In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Connecticut last week, many, including the President, are looking at new federal laws intended to prevent future gun violence.

Here in Washington, the same conversation is starting among state lawmakers, including an assault weapons ban.

“These are military assault weapons,” said Sen. Adam Kline (D-Seattle), who is outgoing chair of the Senate Judiciary committee that makes decisions regarding gun legislation. “This is murder of children. It’s allowed because we allow about anyone to have guns.”

The new chair of the Judiciary Committee is expected to be Republican Mike Padden of Spokane Valley. He downplayed the effect of such a law.

“They have an assault weapons ban in Connecticut,” Padden said. “Obviously, that didn’t stop the killer.”

Padden is skeptical that banning assault weapons or of closing the gun show loophole, which allows some gun purchases without background checks, could be effective.

“It’s not to say that nothing can be done,” he said.  “It’s gotta be something that is evidenced based, and so far, you know, I haven’t really seen that.

Padden does, however, favor stiffer sentences for criminals who use guns.

For years gun control legislation has been stalled in Olympia, even though Democrats, who typically supports such measures, have been in control. Some suburban and rural members of the party haven’t been supportive.

“I don’t believe the legislature by itself will act,” said Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle). “There needs to be an impetus from the community and from constituencies of legislator all across the state.”

Kohl-Welles will continue to push gun control legislation, something she has done for nearly 17 years.

“When it gets down to 20 children being mowed down, you can’t any longer say it’s not the gun it’s the person,” she said.

One local leader is tired of waiting for Olympia to act. She’s ready to go directly to the people.

“Here’s an opportunity to do what Washington state does best, which is an initiative campaign,” said Tina Podlodowski, a former Seattle City Councilmember. “We don’t have to wait. We don’t have to deal with partisan gridlock. We can actually do this ourselves. So, why not turn this around for something that is incredibly positive for all our citizens.”

Padden believes there’s at least some areas where lawmakers are in agreement.

“One thing that we are quite unified on,” he said, “is the need to really look at our mental health funding and policies, and I know that that could be a highlight for a number of committees.”

la elementary school shooter threatAuthorities seized nine guns from an East Hollywood home where a 24-year-old man was arrested after allegedly posting on Facebook a threat of shootings at multiple elementary schools, police said.

Kyle Bangayan, 24, of Pomona, was arrested Sunday at his parents’ home in the 1200 block of North New Hampshire Avenue, the Los Angeles Police Department said. He was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats and held on $500,000 bail.

Los Angeles police officers and FBI agents found the weapons — rifles, a shotgun and multiple handguns — along with ammunition, the LAPD said. It was not immediately known to whom the guns belonged.

A search of Bangayan’s home in Pomona turned up no weapons or other “related evidence,” authorities said.

The LAPD said the alleged threat did not specify a particular school but did refer to a deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Friday in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. The alleged threat referred to “kindergarten and elementary school kids,” sources said.

The arrest came the same day LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced daily dedicated patrols around Los Angeles schools to protect against potential shootings. The increased security will begin when students return to classes in January from winter break, he said.

Beck’s announcement was in response to the Newtown shooting, in which suspect Adam Lanza opened fire Friday after killing his mother at her home. Authorities said Lanza killed himself after the attack.

–Los Angeles Times


Courtesy LA Times

At a time when Newtown should be reveling in holiday cheer, the grief-stricken community will begin the grim task of lowering little coffins into the ground.

Jack Pinto, 6, whose love for sports ran the gamut, but none so deep as football, will be laid to rest Monday.

Noah Pozner, another 6-year-old, whose family said he could get what he wanted just by batting his long eyelashes, will also be buried.

And the heartbreaking ritual will continue for days.

Jessica Rekos on Tuesday. Benjamin Wheeler on Thursday. Madeleine Hsu, Friday. All of them 6 years old.

For the complete CNN story, go here.

0330-Military_full_600(CNN) — Hacktivist group Anonymous published what it claims to be personal information of members of the Westboro Baptist Church after the group announced on Saturday it would picket Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 children and adults were killed.

Anonymous published private e-mail addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of various members, and teased the group about the hack on Twitter. Anonymous also posted a video condemning the group for “breeding hatred” and adding, “We will destroy you. We are coming.”

The Westboro group holds protests at military funerals, and targets various cultures and demographics, particularly gay people. The group blames them for tragedies such as shootings, saying it’s God’s punishment for their actions.

Click here to read more from CNN.

ObamaWASHINGTON – President Obama vowed to take action to prevent mass slayings like the one that tore through a Connecticut elementary school Friday, saying, “We can’t tolerate this anymore.”

Speaking at a memorial service for the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shootings, Obama said he would use his office to try to stop the steady pattern of mass shootings.

“Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?” Obama said. “If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough, and we will have to change.”

For more on this LA Times story, click here.


NEWTOWN — On Saturday night, a candlelight vigil was held to remember the 26 women and children murdered by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Twenty first graders were shot multiple times in two adjoining classrooms Friday morning.  Twelve girls and eight boys will never return home.

The grief-stricken father of 6-year-old Emilie Parker shared the memory of his little girl.

“She was the type of person who could just light up the room,” Parker said. “She always had something kind to say about anybody. And her love, and the strength that she gave us, and the example that she showed us is remarkable. She is an incredible person, and I am so blessed to be her dad.”

A memorial in front of the fire station in Newtown is growing in love and support for the families of the children, teachers, principal, and school psychologist killed. The state medical examiner said he has never seen anything so tragic in his 30 year career.

“This probably is the worst I have seen,” Dr. Wayne Carver said. “It’s the worst that I know of any of my colleagues having seen.”

Newtown residents don’t know if they’ll ever be able to understand the senseless act.

“I am absolutely devastated by it and I feel it’s probably the least I can do to just come here and pay my respect to all the people who have had no reason to die that early,” Justin Cherry said.

Emilie Parker’s father made a request of the nation that’s focused on this tiny town.

“As we move on from what happened here what happened to so many people, let it not turn into something that defines us but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people,” Parker said. “Let us please keep the sentiments of love that we feel for our families and the compassion we feel for others even complete strangers and keep them with us at all times not just at times of sorrow and tragedy.”

School shooting

Courtesy Hartford Courant

NEWTON, Conn. It took less than a half-an-hour for the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. to kill 20 children.

Now, it will take months to piece together how and why the incident happened.

Officials in Newtown have begun their investigation into the mass shooting at the elementary school Friday that left 27 dead. Already, a few clues to the details of the incident are starting to surface.

According to sources, the suspected shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, had a history of mental illness and personality disorders. The guns he used in the shooting were bought legally and registered to his mother, who was found shot in the head at Lanza’s house in Newtown.

Lanza’s brother, 24-year-old Ryan, was originally identified as the killer. However, Ryan alerted the authorities through Facebook posts that he was not the killer. He was questioned by police and released. Lanza’s father was also questioned and released.

It is believed that Adam was carrying Ryan’s identification, which caused for some confusion as to his identity.

Officials worked at two crime scenes, the school and Lanza’s house, to determine the chronology of the crimes.  According to sources, the shooter was armed with two handguns and a .223-caliber rifle.  Official said first-hand accounts of witnesses at the scene will be crucial in determining what exactly happened.

“I heard gunshots in the loudspeaker,” one witness said. “It’s something out of the movie you never think it’s going to happen to you.”

Teachers said they barricaded the students in the classroom and played games with their students in order to keep their minds off the gunshots coming from down the halls.

“He heard strange noises coming from the roof of the school,” one parent told a reporter.

Sandy Hook is about 45 miles from Hartford, Conneticut and has about 700 students.

TomREDMOND, Wash. — The school shooting at a small town in Connecticut is thousands of miles away. But it still hits home for many, including school administrators.

For teachers, training for horrible events like a shooting have become commonplace. Every school in Washington state performs at least one safety drill a month. Most of those drills are for fires or earthquakes. But some are to guard against shooters.

Principal Karen Belshaw of Audobon Elementary School in Redmond said teachers train for events like a shooting on a monthly basis. Because they want to be prepared for the worst.

“You’re never gonna know exactly what that emergency is until it occurs, Belshaw said. “But I believe the more we practice and the more we talk about it, the better prepared folks are gonna be in that situation.”

Scott Emry is the Lake Washington School District Safety Manger said he had never had an incident where an intruder entered a building and caused a lock-down. But administrators continue to train in order to protect students and faculty. Emry wouldn’t elaborate on the district’s exact plan of action in a shooting event, but he said a specific procedure is in place.

Whether it’s turn off the light, getting them into a place where they are not visible, those types of things,” Emry said. “The teachers have those plans in place if there’s something in the building itself.”

Each classroom at Audubon Elementary also has a backpack full of emergency supplies. These bags have everything from classroom rosters to flashlights and snacks. Two storage closets have supplies stacked nearly ten feet high. They include large barrels of water, coats and blankets and back-up copies of student files. It’s just a part of a larger effort to protect children.

“As a district we don’t want to wait until an event happens to decide what to do,” Emry said. “We want to be as prepared as possible.”

videoVideo from PIX 11 news.