NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- A gunman killed 27 people, including 20 young children, before killing himself at a U.S. school where his mother worked Friday morning in one of the worst school shootings in the country's history. Frightened students who were rushed from the building by police were told to close their eyes.
A law enforcement official said the suspect, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that his older brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, has been questioned and is not believed to be involved.
An earlier report from a law enforcement official mistakenly transposed the brothers' first names.
The law enforcement official said the boys' mother, Nancy Lanza , worked at the school as a teacher and was found dead at their home.
Adam Lanza then drove his mother's car to the school. Multiple guns were found -- a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols -- and a .223-caliber rifle. The rifle was recovered from the back of a car at the school, and the two pistols were recovered from inside the school.
NBC is reporting Lanza fired into the principal's office and then targeted the classroom where his mother taught kindergarten.
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The president spoke briefly in the White House briefing room Friday afternoon in his first appearance since the shooting.
"Our hearts are broken today," President Barack Obama said, wiping his eyes during brief but emotional comments to reporters. He said the children killed were 5 to 10 years old. He said the nation had been "through this too many times" and has to come together to take meaningful action, "regardless of the politics."
Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.
"That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."
Licata said the shooter didn't say a word.
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A law enforcement official also said Adam Lanza's girlfriend and another friend were missing in New Jersey. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the developing criminal investigation.
The attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School, just two weeks before Christmas, was the latest of several mass shootings in the U.S. this year, and it approached the deadly scope of the Virginia Tech university massacre in 2007 that left 32 dead.
This time, the victims were young children. Photos from the scene showed frightened students being escorted by adults through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders. Children told their parents they had heard bangs and, at one point, a scream over the intercom.
The shooting shocked the small community in one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., and anguished parents came running when they heard the news.
The Friday morning shootings happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City. The superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools, and schools in neighboring towns also were locked down as a precaution.
Anguished parents came running Friday morning when they heard the news.
Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs, and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.
"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.
Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and raced to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.
"Everyone was just traumatized," he said.
Richard Wilford said his 7-year-old son, Richie, said he heard a noise that "sounded like what he described as cans falling."
The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle up in the corner until police arrived.
"There's no words," Wilford said. "It's sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him."
Melissa Makris said her 10-year-old son, Philip, saw what looked like a body under a blanket as he fled the school.
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the administration would "do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement."
Already this year, a gunman killed 12 people at a Colorado theater, and another gunman killed six
people before killing himself at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
Carney wouldn't say whether the shooting would make gun control a higher priority on the president's agenda, but he said there would be a day for discussion on that policy issue.
"But I don't think today is that day," he said.
Already this year, a gunman killed 12 people at a Colorado theater, and another gunman killed six people before killing himself at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
"We have endured too many of these tragedies," Obama said.
He spoke in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, named in honor of the former White House press secretary who was shot and disabled in the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. Brady and his wife, Sarah, have become activists for gun control measures.
"If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don't know when is," one member of Congress, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, said in a statement."