NEWTOWN, Conn. -

A man opened fire Friday inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked as a teacher, killing 26 people, including 20 children, by blasting his way through two rooms as youngsters cowered helplessly in the building.

The gunman killed himself and another person was found dead at a second scene, bring the toll to 28, authorities said.

The attack, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead in 2007.

Connecticut elementary school shooting

The gunman

A law enforcement official identified the gunman as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher. A second law enforcement official said his mother, Nancy Lanza, was presumed dead.

Adam Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, the first official said. Earlier, a law enforcement official mistakenly identified Ryan as the shooter.

---Photo courtesy MSN

The shooter was reportedly armed with two 9 mm pistols, a person with knowledge of the shooting said. Eyewitnesses said the shooter was clad in all black clothing. The first 9-1-1 call reporting the shooting was made to police shortly after 9:30 a.m.

Where this happened

Panicked parents raced to Sandy Hook Elementary School, about 60 miles northeast of New York City, looking for their children. Students were told to close their eyes by police as they were led from the building.

Schoolchildren -- some crying, others looking frightened -- were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders. The shooting took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, which has 456 students.

The school teaches children from kindergarten through fourth grade who are around ages 5 to 10.

"It is alarming"

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.

Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.

"That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."
He said the shooter didn't utter a word.

Richard Wilford's 7-year-old son, Richie, is in the second grade at the school. His son told him that he heard a noise that "sounded like what he described as cans falling."

The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle up in the corner until police arrived.
"There's no words," Wilford said. "It's sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him."

Schools in neighboring towns also were locked down as a precaution.

Several police agencies are involved in the investigation.

School shooting