International leaders continute to express horror at Friday's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, with even Iran - at odds with the United States - calling the incident tragic and Pope Benedict conveying "heartfelt grief."
Twenty-eight people, including the gunman, died in Friday's shooting spree in the town of Newtown, Connecticut. The dead included 20 children and six adults killed at the school and one adult killed at a nearby site, police said.
Two of the children killed in the Connecticut school massacre, Noah Pozner and Benjamin Wheeler, both 6 years old, were Jewish. According to a Ynet report, when Pozner's mother arrived on the scene and didn't see her son come out, she knew. Noah's twin sister was studying in another classroom and survived.
According to a report in the CT Post, Rabbi Shaul Praver, the community rabbi in idyllic Connecticut town of Newton where the tragedy occured, told his congregation that the shootings remind us of "the presence of evil in the world." He also urged his congregants to remember, "It's not God who did these things, but a deranged person."
Another shooting foiled?
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, police arrested a high school student on charges that he was plotting to carry out a shooting and bombing massacre at his school, the Tulsa World newspaper reported on Saturday.
Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, 18, was arrested at his home in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on Friday, the same day that the gunman committed his rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Police alleged in an affidavit that Chavez tried to recruit other Bartlesville High School students to help him lure classmates into the school auditorium, where he planned to chain the doors shut and start shooting them, the newspaper said.
Also on Saturday, a man who opened fire at a hospital in Birmingham, in the U.S. state of Alabama, was shot dead, police said. The man shot at a police officer and two employees of the St. Vincent's Hospital. Their injuries were not life-threatening, the Birmingham News reported.
The assailant was shot dead by a second police officer. Police said they believed this was a "totally isolated incident" and that no one else was "involved with this shooter."
A principal and hero
As more details about the shooting began to emerge, officials said that Sandy Hook's well-liked principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was killed while lunging at the gunman as she tried to overtake him. Board of Education chairwoman Debbie Liedlien said administrators were coming out of a meeting when the gunman forced his way into the school, and they ran toward them.
Connecticut officials released on Saturday the identities of the 20 children and six adults killed in Friday's shooting. The state's chief medical examiner also confirmed that the gunman's mother, a twenty-seventh victim, was shot dead by her son in a related incident. The gunman took his own life.
Those killed at the school were 12 girls, eight boys and six female adults. They are listed below by name, date of birth(mm/dd/yy), gender and age.
The names of the children who were killed: Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female (age 6); Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male (age 7); Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female (age 6); Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female (age 7); Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female (age 6); Dylan Hockley, 03/08/06, male (age 6); Madeleine F. Hsu, 07/10/06, female (age 6); Catherine V. Hubbard, 06/08/06, female (age 6); Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male (age 7); Jesse Lewis, 06/30/06, male (age 6); James Mattioli, 03/22/06, male (age 6); Grace McDonnell, 11/04/05, female (age 7); Emilie Parker, 05/12/06, female (age 6); Jack Pinto, 05/06/06, male (age 6); Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male (age 6(; Caroline Previdi, 09/07/06, female (age 6); Jessica Rekos, 05/10/06, female (age 6); Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female (age 6); Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male (age 6); Allison N. Wyatt, 07/03/06, female (age 6.(
The names of the adults who were killed: Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female (age 29 ;(Dawn Hocksprung, 06/28/65, female (age 47 ;(Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female (age 52); Lauren Russeau, 1982, female (age 29 ;(Mary Sherlach, 02/11/56, female (age 56); Victoria Soto,11/04/85, female (age 27(
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast described the killings in Connecticut as "tragic," according to Iran's official news agency IRNA. The spokesman observed that "the children and young adolescents falling victim to armed clashes in Gaza or in the U.S., in Afghanistan or Pakistan, in Iraq or Syria, are not different from each other from the humanitarian point of view, so everyone should make efforts to restore peace, security and tranquility to the whole world," IRNA said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, condemned the "savage massacre of innocent children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut."
"We in Israel have experienced such cruel acts of slaughter and we know the shock and horror they bring," Netanyahu wrote.
Pope Benedict conveyed his "heartfelt grief" through Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
"In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, he asks God our Father to console all those who mourn and to sustain the entire community with the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love," Bertone said.
"Once again we're completely aghast over an act that we can't comprehend," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. "An incredible suffering has been brought to so many families so close to Christmas. "The thoughts over the schoolchildren and teachers killed weigh heavily on our hearts," Merkel added.
Leaders from France, Britain and elsewhere also sent their condolences on Friday.
Germany, France, Britain and other European countries have suffered similar mass shootings - one man killed 77 people in Norway last year. But commentators in Europe were quick to point to Americans' much higher levels of personal gun ownership as a factor in the frequency of U.S. shootings.
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