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Dec. 14, 2012 at 4:59 PM   |   Comments

26 killed in Connecticut school shooting

NEWTOWN, Conn., Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man went to his mother's kindergarten classroom in Newtown, Conn., Friday and opened fire, killing her and 25 others, 20 of them children.

State Police Lt. Paul Vance told reporters the gunman shot up two classrooms in one section of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which serves children in kindergarten through fourth grade.

Vance said 18 children were dead at the school and two others died at Danbury Hospital. The bodies of six adults and the gunman also were found in the school. It wasn't immediately clear whether the gunman killed himself or was killed by responding officers.

Vance said one more person was found dead at a "secondary" crime scene and one adult was injured.

Various broadcast reports identified the gunman as Ryan Lanza, 24, of Hoboken, N.J. ABC said Lanza was wearing a bulletproof vest and had four weapons including at least one semi-automatic.

Police escorted a second man out of nearby woods and took him into custody. ABC identified the man as Lanza's brother, Adam.

"I saw some of the bullets going past the hall ... then the teacher pulled me into her classroom. ... It sounded like someone was kicking the door," one child told reporters.

"I saw policemen -- lots of policemen in the hallway with guns," 9-year-old fourth grader Vanessa Bajraliu told the Hartford (Conn.) Courant. "The police took us out of the school. We were told to hold each others' hands and to close our eyes. We opened our eyes when we were outside."

A shaken President Barack Obama, wiping away tears, said, "Our hearts are broken today."

The president, who ordered the nation's flags lowered to half-staff, went through a litany of such incidents.

"We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," Obama said.


Pro- and anti-Morsi protesters clash

CAIRO, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The Muslim Brotherhood rallied Friday in support of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as he released a statement calling his opponents "counter-revolutionary."

In Alexandria, at least 19 people were hurt in clashes between the two sides, al-Masry al-Youm reported. Morsi supporters attacked demonstrators outside the Leader Ibrahim Mosque.

Inside the mosque, a preacher called the anti-Morsi protesters a minority.

In Cairo, thousands of people joined a pro-Morsi demonstration outside the Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City, Ahram Online said.

Morsi was in Brussels where he met with Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Union.

In an English-language statement published in al-Ahram and released to reporters he said the protesters are "counter-revolutionary forces aiming at destroying the gains of the revolution."


Russia denies change of policy on Syria

MOSCOW, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Russia has not changed its position on Syria and believes attempting to overthrow President Bashar Assad through force is fruitless, an official said Friday.

Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, responded to a statement by Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, ITAR-Tass reported. Nuland praised the Russian government Thursday for "finally waking up to reality."

"We were never sleeping," Lukashevich responded.

Lukashevich said Russia is not involved in talks with the United States or any other country about Syria's future. He urged Assad and the Syrian opposition to put down their arms and begin negotiations.

"We are convinced that the confrontation is only leading to a deadlock," he said.

Nuland urged Russia to join the United States and others in the international community in working for a smooth transition to democracy in Syria. Her comment that Russia had finally realized Assad's "days are numbered" was a response to remarks by Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia's top envoy for Middle East affairs, to a Kremlin advisory group and oversight committee.


Cold, snow hit northern Italy

GENOA, Italy, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A blizzard struck Liguria in northwestern Italy, disrupting air and road traffic and leaving ships unable to berth in the port of Genoa.

Temperatures in central and northern Italy fell Friday, and highway operator Autostrade per l'Italia said about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of the country's highway network was affected by bad weather.

Heavy vehicles on the A6 motorway between the cities of Savona and Ceva required escorts to travel, and ice caused problems on roads in the Lombardy and Marche regions, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday.

The national airline Alitalia warned of flight delays and cancellations.


Man, stunned twice by police, dies

CHICAGO, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A man hit twice with a stun gun by Chicago police, after an arrest for allegedly beating his mother and again after he was hospitalized, died, authorities said.

Philip O. Coleman, 38, was arrested Wednesday evening after he alleged beat his 69-year-old mother, police said in a statement, adding he "became combative" and spit blood on the faces of police officers and a police supervisor.

As he was taken from the police station to court Thursday, "he again became combative" and a stun gun was used "to gain control of the subject," a police statement said.

Instead of court Coleman was taken to Chicago's Roseland Community Hospital, where the police statement said "he became physically aggressive with hospital staff and accompanying (officers). Once again, reasonable force was employed, including a Taser deployment."

Coleman was admitted to the hospital, given a sedative and died Thursday afternoon, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the incident, and agency spokesman said.

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