Tragedy at the Elementary School

ABC News' Brian Ross and Juju Chang report the latest on the Newtown shooting.
9:00 | 12/16/12

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Transcript for Tragedy at the Elementary School
Some things will. This morning from newtown, connecticut, a special edition of "this week." Tragedy at the elementary school. Everything was just normal, and then it all just changed. 27 killed, most in the first grade. She is a special type of person, and I'm so blessed to be her dad. today. Evil met by bravery. I said there's a bad guy out there but make way for the good guys. This morning we remember those lost. They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings. And ask why. This was not god's plan. This was a man who has serious issues in his life. And now as america grieves, how should our leaders respond? What can all of us do to stop this senseless violence? We will find a way to heal. We'll get to the heart of those questions right now. Announcer: From abc news, this is a special edition of "this week" with george stephanopoulos. "Tragedy at the elementary school." Reporting from newtown, connecticut, george stephanopoulos. And good morning from the library at newtown middle school. This is where the 20 children killed at sandy hook elementary would have continued to learn and grow. Just down the road from newtown high school where president obama will come tonight to comfort the families, thank the first responders and console the community still in shock. The heartbreak here is magnified by the age of almost all the victims, little children, 6 and 7 years old, all in just the first grade. Overnight the shooter's father, peter lanza, released his first public statement. "We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why." And this morning america is honoring the victims. Today every nfl team will observe a moment of silence before the games. The giants and patriots will wear special decals on their helmets. Our guests and experts are standing by for a conversation on what happened and why to cuss what it means to take meaningful action, that's president obama's phrase and a shattering moment of mindlessness. The latest on the investigation, brian ross our chief investigative correspondent and, brian, investigators are beginning to piece together what happened in that terrifying ten minutes in the school. That's right, george, they say they are making good progress in knowing much of the how, although less of the why of the stunning crime. In particular, they are focusing on the weapons used, there were three weapons recovered, two handguns and a semiautomatic assault-style rifle that authorities believe was owned actually by adam lanza's mother, nancy. Her friends say she was a gun enthusiast who bought the weapons for self-defense when she was divorced and lived in a large home by herself and often took her sons, her friends say, to a nearby firing range for target practice. So they confirm that the weapons belonged to her, but there had also been some reports, at least one in the "l.A. Times" that the shooter may have tried to buy a weapon recently. Our reporting doesn't confirm that, and the fact is in connecticut, there is a waiting period to buy any weapon. You need a permit to buy a handgun, not a long rifle, but even so there is a waiting period, and if there was an attempt to buy one in a short period of time, that wouldn't work. There had also en some information earlier that the shooter's mom may have had some connection to sandy hook, may have been a substitute teacher or a volunteer there, but the superintendent has said that is not the case. Do we have any better idea of why adam lanza chose this school? Well, the superintendent has said that the mother, nancy lanza, did not work there, she was not a teacher, but her relatives say she did volunteer as a teacher's aide at sandy hook apparently around the same time that adam was a student there. He was a troubled young man, according to friends, and according to relatives, nancy had many issues with the school district about how they were treating him and handling his particular special needs, so it may have been a source of conflict, and at one point according to the aunt of adam, the mother pulled adam out of the public school system and home-schooled him because of her unhappiness with the way he was being treated at school. And the police also spent an awful lot of time at the home which is also a crime scene for where the mother was murdered. What else have they been able to find inside that home? Well, they say they have made good progress from evidence found in the home unspecified as to the why and the motive. We don't know if that means we don't know if there was a note or some sort of a video, but they say they are making progress in determining a motive here that was involved in which, you know, he started the day by shooting his mother and then drove about ten minutes to the school. So he had a very determined mission in his head when he started that day friday. I saw one report that the hard drive, the hard drive of his computer at his home had been broken. Is that true? We haven't been able to confirm that. There are a number of reports. The police say they're purposely keeping a lot of things close to the vest as they put together a full picture. The best information really about adam and his background comes from former classmates who attended school with him and say he was awkward and socially very ill at ease around people, didn't like to be talked to. He was a member of the tech club at his high school. Friends say he was very bright, very smart, but withdrawn. But the mystery still why he did this. That remains a serious question. There seems to be some connection, at least in his twisted way of thinking, that put him on that path, but it's not certain yet just what that was, george. Okay, brian ross, thanks very much. And as we said earlier, so many americans joining in to honor and remember those lost on friday and this whole community. On "saturday night live" last night a children's choir sang "silent night." ♪ Silent night holy night ♪ ♪ all is calm all is bright ♪ and here in newtown a continues to come together in prayers and tears and juju chang is at st. Rose of lima church this morning. Reporter: Good morning, george. The second mass is already under way at st. Rose and the outpouring is so staggering, state troopers have to control the flow. People are coming together to express condolences, come together as a community and to ponder those questions to which there are never easy answers like how does a gunman slaughter such innocents, all this while more photos, images are emerging of lives cut short, snapshots, if you will. 20 children who died in that those 2 classrooms, all 6 or 7, and of them 9 left behind siblings. Robby parker spoke poignantly at st. Rose church about his daughter emilie who left behind two grieving parents and two little sisters. She was an exceptional artist and always carried around her markers and pencils so she never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card and was a mentor to her two little sisters and delighted in teaching them to read, dance and the simple pleasures in life. Reporter: Of the six adults who died at that school, we're hearing about acts of heroism. The principal died after confronting the gunman and we heard of one teacher, vicki soto, who shielded some of her children by hiding them in a closet and by protecting the other children literally with her body. She lost her life that day. Monsignor robert weiss is the priest here and has been planning masses for the congregants. We learned from church officials there will be eight funerals here for eight children, eight families devastated but it's not just this church, there are houses of worship around this community that are comforting those who have lost their innocence in a way here. There are makeshift memorials popping up not just with candles and flowers but childlike objects, a soccer ball signed by the newtown soccer club or little teddy bears that a 6 or 7-year-old would take to bed or signs that say hug a teacher today or sleep in evanly peace. There are four masses planned at this church and one final sad footnote on each and every one of those aisle there is a box of kleenex waiting for the outpouring of tears. Okay, juju, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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