|Candles commemorating victims of a Connecticut elementary school shooting burn during a vigil in Oakland, California, December 14, 2012. (REUTERS)
Twenty-seven people, mostly children between the ages of five and ten, were shot and killed at the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school early Friday morning.
The gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, 20 (not Ryan Lanza, as earlier reported), of New Jersey, was also found dead inside the school.
Sources said Lanza was armed with four weapons and wearing a bullet-proof vest when he opened fire in the elementary school.
A dead body has also been found in his home in Hoboken New Jersey, officials said.
Among the dead in the school was the gunman’s mother, who was a teacher at the school, sources told ABC News.
The White House immediately lowered its flag to half mast.
President Obama extended his condolences to the families of the victims–wiping away tears as he delivered his statement.
“As a country, we have been through this too many times. 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. We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics,” said Obama.
Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia Jr. and embassy staff have been making inquiries to Newtown officials to determine if there were any Filipino nationals involved in the tragedy.
In Danbury, the town adjacent to Newtown, where close to two hundred Filipinos reside, schools have heightened security following the shooting.
An officer of the Filipino American Association of Western Connecticut told Balitang America that so far, there has been no report of any Filipinos injured or affected.
Karen Cledera, a member of the association, said their association has been constantly checking on the whereabouts and situation of fellow Filipinos in the area.
Cledera added that most Filipino and Filipino American students in the area attend middle school and high school. Only a handful is in elementary, and as far as she knows, there are no Filipino children at the Sandy Hook Elementary where the shooting took place.
According to reports, Danbury police have increased security at all school buildings, both public and private, and a police presence will be increased for children who walk home from school.
-With reports from Don Tagala and Lenn Almadin-Thornhill, both from ABS-CBN North America News Bureau