UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: The shooter has been identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Initial reports identified the gunman as his brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, who was taken into custody earlier today but is not a suspect in the shooting.
Ryan Lanza has been identified as the suspect in a mass shooting Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., authorities said. The tragedy, which claimed the lives of close to 30 people, with between 18 to 20 of the lives taken belonging to children, is one of the deadliest school shootings in the country's history.
Susan Candiotti, of CNN, reported that a law enforcement official had identified a Ryan Lanza, 24, of Hoboken, N.J., as the suspected gunman. According to several new reports, police believe that Lanza’s mother was a kindergarten teacher at the Connecticut elementary school. The report was quickly picked up by other media outlets including Slate, which linked to the suspect’s alleged Facebook page, tweeting, “Here's the likely Facebook page: http://slate.me/UMm3ni”
One Twitter user, named Jared Keller, wrote back to the news agency asking, “Is that confirmed? Are you sure you're not just pointing to a random page?” Slate tweeted back, “Not confirmed, but he's from Newtown and living in NJ.”
The report, however, appears to have already been contradicted by the user of that Facebook account. Twitter user @Fletch788 published what he claimed were screenshots from the Facebook account, with the Ryan Lanza in question writing frantic status updates to clear his name from connection to the horrific crime. “Everyone shut the f--- up it wasn’t me,” the user appeared to write in the screenshots. “I’m on the bus home now it wasn’t me.”
Most of the details of the crime are still unknown, including the shooter’s identity and motive. It remains unclear whether the suspect identified by local police is the same Ryan Lanza as the Facebook account being circulated, or whether news bureaus mistakenly linked to an account with the same name.
CBS News reported that based on a preliminary background search of the suspect, he did not appear to have a criminal history. New York Post sources said Lanza’s mother was a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school, and that he had “had a dispute with her.” The newspaper claimed that Lanza had targeted her kindergarten class, apparently in retribution; his dead body was found by police inside the school, according to multiple news reports.
According to a police official, who spoke to the New York Post, Lanza approached the school carrying two handguns and a .223-caliber assault rifle. An eyewitness told CNN that shots were heard in the school during a meeting, and that the shooter must have fired at least “100 rounds” of ammunition.