Eyewitness News at 6, 12-14-12

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<So our hearts are broken today for the parents and the grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost. >

Tragedy in Connecticut... The death toll at 28 tonight.

The violent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is our top story....

Hello, everyone.

I'm Frank Malloy.

Leah is off tonight.

The fatal shooting today...happened in the small city of Newtown.

 

 

That's located about 60 miles northeast of New York City in the State of Connecticut.

It's a community...of about 2,000 people...

But tonight...more than two dozen of them...did not return home from Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Sandy Hook is a school housing children from kindergarten age... To fourth grade.

Twenty of them died...law enforcement say.

Eighteen students at the school...two, later, at an area hospital.

six adults also died inside the school.

And another person was found dead at another location.

We're not sure yet, who that person is.

The shooter is also dead..

In a few moments...we'll have more on who police he is believed to be and his connection to the school.

At this moment, though... We want to break and turn our coverage to a murder case...we've followed for the past year and a half...

Lawyers for accused murderer Stephen McDaniel want to take the death penalty off the table in the case.

Defense attorney Frank Hogue says there is no hard evidence McDaniel Murdered his neighbor Lauren Giddings. That's why Hogue argues, it's not appropriate to seek the death penalty.

<go ahead and try him for murder, I can't quibble with that. They think they have enough evidence to convict him for that go for it. But it's not a strong enough case to also add the death penalty to it.>

This morning, Hogue asked the judge to dismiss the District Attorney's intent to seek the death penalty. It was one of 31 motions he filed after reviewing evidence for 4 months.

A few of the motions argue some evidence was obtained illegally without a warrant.

Hogue also wants the judge to exclude expert testimony that McDaniel might be a contributor to the DNA found on a hacksaw.

Prosecutors believe the hacksaw was used to dismember Giddings.

Hogue says he plans to file many more motions in the next few weeks. He says this is only the beginning, and the actual trial is still many months away. We'll bring you much more on this, tonight at eleven.

But for now, back to our top story... As we continue to follow the Connecticut school shooting.

As parents rushed to the campus of Sandy Hook, a community reacted with shock... Trying to piece together what witnesses had just seen.

<I just heard the principal was shot and killed. I heard some kids were shot...a teacher, Mrs. Hammonds was shot. And they did walk a guy out of the woods I did I saw them walk a guy out earlier. They walked him out with handcuffs and he said he didn't do it. >

Parents... Frantic with worry... Explained how they first received word... As calls went out, notifying them to come to campus immediately.

<we got a notification at the school at home, a telephone call. Um, so we immediately jumped in the car and headed on down here. So it's uh...troubling. It was really kind of mayhem in the room with all the kids and the teachers trying to identify where your kid is and making sure they're safe and find out what the situation is and everybody else is safe. It started with the neighbors and they're friends in school and everything so it uh...>

The principal of another school...that's seen its own share of tragedy...responded as well today.

Here are some comments...from Littleton Colorado, where the principal of Columbine high school drew a parallel between today's incident...and the shooting that killed 12 people in 1999.

<Not again, just sick in my stomach. It takes me back to what we felt on April 20th 1999 even though it's going to be 14 years it's just. Emotionally anyone that was alive during that time or in school during that time especially in Columbine it just takes us back to that horrific day we had.>

Time now to talk more about today's shooting in Connecticutt - specifically about the suspected shooter...and what authorities know about him.

The associated press identifies him as Adam Lanza, a 20 year old, and they site Connecticut law enforcement as their source, though a spokesman would not confirm at a press conference...when pressed by a crowd of reporters.

Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy, worked at the school.

Tonight, she is presumed dead...according to Connecticut law enforcement, though it is not clear whether she was killed on campus...or at home.

The associated press quotes officials who say Adam Lanza is dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

His older brother, Ryan Lanza.... Age 24...is being questioned tonight by authorities.

Of course...security at schools is a question on many people's minds.

We contacted Houston County schools, and several system representatives talked to us about precautions like secured vestibules...camera systems...and emergency safety plans.

Assistant Superintendent of school operations, Linda Horne, explained that secured vestibules...are a layout that allows people one way into the schools.

<Linda Horne: We have secured vestibules and our schools where when anyone comes into the schools it routes them through the office... so that whenever someone enters our school they cannot just go down a hall, they have to go into the office to check-in. >

Out of the 38 schools in Houston County...19 don't have the secured vestibules yet...but because of SPLOST money, they are being installed.

THe schools started adding these vestibules early this summer.

In terms of camera systems...we're told the average school has about 5 to 6 cameras...but more will be added, also using SPLOST money.

Administrators also say emergency safety plans are in place that are practiced twice a year and updated every year.

<Anthony: Each schools specific safety plan so that everyone in the school has a responsibility from where dismissal takes place to who's gonna be contacting the media, who's gonna meet law enforcement even to the point where kids who have medical needs there is a staff member assigned to them so in the event that there is an evacuation from the schools then everybody has something that they need to do>

We also contacted Bibb County schools...and received a statement about safety measures.

Here it is in part.

"Horrific incidents like this one reinforce the Bibb County School District's commitment to do everything in our power to protect the safety of our students. The District takes this responsibility very seriously.

Our recent Safety and Security Audit gathered experts together to offer advice and a plan on how to improve school safety. Since then we have been aggressively phasing in their recommendations.

Proposals implemented this year include safety walk-throughs and regular random searches in an attempt to eradicate weapons and drugs from our campus. "

President Obama addressed the nation this afternoon.

He got emotional, as he spoke of the tragedy that cut young lives short:

<

Beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. (wipes tear and pauses) They had their entire lives ahead of them... birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. >

We'll of course have much more on this developing story...

starting with a special, one-hour edition of the CBS Evening News at 6:30..

CBS News will also air a one hour Special Report tonight at 10 o'clock...

And we'll have more on Eyewitness News at eleven.

And of course, follow the latest updates throughout the evening at 13WMAZ-dot-com.

Tonight...on Eyewitness News at Six...13WMAZ ...offering Help for the Holidays.

Representatives with the Middle Georgia Food Bank are answering calls right now

and giving advice on feeding your family...during the holidays and beyond.

Welcome back, everyone.

Staff members are standing by to offer guidance...on ways to find resources when times are tough... And ways to save while taking care of the ones who depend on you.

You can reach them until 6:30 at 752-1300.

A state agency wants to breathe new life into downtown areas across Georgia.

Katelyn Heck explains how they plan to use state money to encourage growth... And why they have their eyes on Macon.

Cesare Mammarella is no stranger to starting businesses in downtown Macon.

<the beauty of the downtown Macon area is the fact that a lot of the buildings got preserved, they didn't get torn down. They didn't build brand new cities from the ground up, or brand new buildings. The negative part of that, or the other side of that is that they're in really really bad shape>

The Georgia Municipal Association wants to unlock the potential for downtowns across the state... And encourage more people like Mammarella... By offering 20 million dollars in tax incentives.

<we feel like if the state were to invest these income tax credits in projects in downtowns, which are the heart and soul, the economic centers of the state, we could get this economy revved up and back in shape.>

<the GMA says an empty storefront like this one loses almost 250-thousand dollars each year in sales with almost 25-thousand lost in business profits.>

The Downtown Renaissance Act isn't just about revenue... The GMA says they're estimating over two-thousand new jobs will open each year throughout the state.

<I think it will be a huge homerun for Macon, I mean, we've seen investors come in and want to build lofts, want to build businesses and all this will do is only spur more activity.>

<it's huge. It's a tax incentive, and for a lot of people that are borderline, like 'ehh, probably can't do it.' This will be able to push them over the edge and say 'okay, this is the last piece, the bridge financing if you will, term in however you want, that will allow me to do this project in downtown,' and from that point on, everyone benefits from all that.>

And you don't have to be a seasoned entrepreneur to qualify for the tax credits... The GMA left the act open for anyone who wants to revitalize a piece of downtown.

Katelyn Heck 13WMAZ Eyewitness News

GMA also wants to encourage homeowners with downtown properties to renovate... With 5 million dollars in tax credits.

They asked local state legislator Allen Peake to carry the bill in the General Assembly.

It takes a lot of hard work for farmers to produce the foods that we eat everyday.

One Bibb County elementary school will spend a whole week... teaching students about the process.

It's afternoon at Skyview Elementary.

And students line up for an important part of the day.

Most enjoy lunch... But do they know what it takes to get food from the farm... To the cafeteria?

< The best way to teach that is to actually grow it. >

Gary Wilson is a parent volunteer at Skyview.

He's helping students learn about organic foods and about making healthier choices.

< seeing them understand that vegetables don't just come from a supermarket. That they're grown and they're harvested, and they support people and the economy.>

Around this time next year... Students will spend time learning about the process... during "feed my school for a week".

The program will allow local and state farmers to provide food to Skyview... while allowing the students to engage in agriculture.

The Bibb School nutrition department says lunches will be 75 percent locally or state grown during that time.

< Of course we're going to be aiming for 100 percent of the items and we want to get as many products as we can locally. >

Of those items... The program will support more than fruits and vegetables.

< We'll also be looking at milk. We will look at our beef and chicken.>

< That's what makes this so exciting. That the kids are learning to eat right, and they're learning to fuel their bodies. >

The program hopes to make the farm to school lesson one that will stick with the students after the week of lessons is over.

< This may carry over to where we can maybe depend a little less on McDonalds and Burger King and a little more on creating our own meals. >

The school district will choose farmers to help with the program at the beginning of next year.

Recapping our top story... 20 children and seven adults died this morning in a mass shooting at a connecticut elementary school.

A law enforcement official says the suspect in the Connecticut school shootings is 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher at the school where the shootings occurred. A second law enforcement official says the boy's mother, Nancy Lanza, is presumed dead.

The first official says Adam Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., is being questioned by police.So far, they say he's being, quote, "extremely cooperative".

An earlier report from a law enforcement official mistakenly transposed the brothers' first names.

Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the developing criminal investigation.

The first official said Adam Lanza is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound..

Stay tuned for the CBS evening news with Scott Pelley...and an hour of special coverage.

 

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