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26 killed in US school shootings
A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut (AP)
A gunman murdered 20 children aged between five and 10 and six adults in one of the worst school shootings in American history, state police have confirmed.
The suspect is also dead and there is another victim at an address in Newtown, Connecticut, the home of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the mass killing took place, police said.
A law enforcement official said the school shooting suspect, named as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that his older brother Ryan was being held for questioning as a possible second gunman, the Associated Press reported. He said the men's mother, Nancy Lanza, worked at the school as a teacher and was presumed dead.
But the picture remained confusing as police worked to identify the gunman and the victims. The shootings took place in one section of the school, in two rooms, according to Connecticut police lieutenant Paul Vance.
Speaking to journalists, he said: "There were 18 children who were pronounced dead at the school. There were two that were transported to area hospitals and pronounced dead at area hospitals. And there were six adults pronounced dead at the scene, at the school.
"The shooter is deceased in the school, there's a great deal of work going on relative to that. That's the reason why we have not identified him as of yet."
He went on: "It is not a simplistic scene - we need to establish identity, we need to document the entire scene and we need to answer every single question surrounding exactly how and why this incident occurred."
Answering questions, he said there was a "secondary crime scene" in Newtown. "There is an adult deceased at that location, I can't discuss any further information on that at this time," he said. Lt Vance added that New Jersey Police were assisting their Connecticut counterparts.
David Cameron took to Twitter to say he was "devastated" by the Connecticut shootings and described the death of so many children as "truly heartbreaking". The Prime Minister later issued a statement, saying: "My thoughts are with the injured and those who have lost loved ones. It is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them at such a young age, when they had so much life ahead of them."
The Queen sent a message to Mr Obama, which read: "I have been deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the dreadful loss of life today in Newtown, Connecticut; particularly the news that so many of the dead are children."