Shooting Affects the Newtown Community to the Core

BY News Desk  December 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM EDT


In a news conference Friday afternoon, state police Lt. Paul Vance announced that police responded to 911 emergency calls from Sandy Hook Elementary School received at 9:30 a.m. this morning. A shooter was reported to have entered the school and started to open-fire.

The shooting at the school in Newtown, Conn., left the gunman dead, with Associated Press sources reporting at least 27 fatalities, including 18 children. State police confirmed that students and staff were among victims, though the police will release no further details until family members are contacted.

When news first broke to residents of Newtown, Conn., the community was shocked, said Lillian Bittman in an interview with NewsHour. Bittman was the chairperson of the Newtown Board of Education until last year and volunteered as a teacher for the school’s newspaper class. Her children also attended Sandy Hook Elementary.

Listen to an excerpt from Lillian Bittman’s interview with NewsHour producer Mike Melia:

“We are a small town. I know many, many people whose children are still at the school,” said Bittman. “We are all just holding our breath.”

Police have not yet released further details about the gunman or the number of injured or dead.

But for Bittman, further details cannot take away from the immediate horror from the incident. “It was the horror of that peaceful sanctum being violated this way. I didn’t even need any information aside that there was a shooter and the school was on lockdown,” she said. “We all love each other so much. To think of that being violated just breaks my heart.”