Impossible as it might seem in the aftermath of Friday's horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the tragedy could've been worse. According to new reports, shooter Adam Lanza didn't shoot himself until after first responders arrived on the scene. Police found "hundreds of rounds" of ammo on Lanza's body, enough to have inflicted even more damage.
"We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that, decided to take his own life," [Connecticut Governor] Malloy said on ABC's "This Week.
"There was a lot of ammo, a lot of clips," State Police Lt. Paul Vance. "Certainly a lot of lives were potentially saved."
According to CBS, the first police officer on the scene spotted Lanza on the other side of the school before the shooter ran into another classroom. When the officer reached the room, the scene inside was horrifying.
"As the officer, now joined by a partner began to rush down the hall toward the gunman they heard a volley of shots. When they got there, they found the gunman, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Just beyond the gunman, in a classroom, children huddled together, and their teacher, all of them shot multiple times. Nearby, in a bathroom another group of children, huddled together, all shot multiple times. It appears that the gunman let go a last volley of shots at his victims before killing himself with a single bullet to the head."
As terrible as that is, the death total would've been higher had it not been for the quick thinking of teacher Victoria Soto, who hid her six and seven-year-old students in her classroom's closet. When Lanza asked her where her students were, she told him they were on the other side of the school, in its auditorium. Six of her students then attempted to flee, and Lanza shot and killed all six, along with Soto and another teacher in the room. But, miraculously, the remaining seven of Soto's students were later found alive, still inside the closet.
Details have also emerged about the origins of the guns used in the attack. All three – a Glock 10 mm, a Sig Sauer 9 mm and a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle, the same weapon used in the sniper attacks in the DC area in 2002 - belonged to Lanza's mother, Nancy, who was Lanza's first victim. She also owned two hunting rifles.
Shooting, along with dice games, were two of her favorite activities.
"Guns were her hobby," said Dan Holmes, the landscaper of Nancy Lanza's sprawling yard here on the edge of town. "She told me she liked the single-mindedness of shooting."
Holmes said she even spoke of taking her son to the firing range to practice his aim.
Marsha Lanza, Nancy's former sister-in-law, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the guns were for protection. "She prepared for the worst," she said. "I didn't know that they [the guns] would be used on her."
[Image via AP]