NEWTOWN, Conn. —Â Federal investigatorsÂ planned to visit dozens of shooting ranges and gun stores across ConnecticutÂ Sunday, attempting to figure out what led smart but painfully awkwardÂ 20-year-old Adam Lanza to murder 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook ElementaryÂ School in Newtown, while townspeople and President Obama prepared to attend anÂ interfaith vigil amid sorrow and confusion.
The tragedy brought forth soul-searching and grief around the globe. FamiliesÂ as far away as Puerto Rico began to plan funerals for victims who still hadÂ their baby teeth, world leaders extended condolences, and vigils were heldÂ around the U.S.
The gunman’s father released a statement on Saturday.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to allÂ those who were injured,” Peter Lanza said. “Our family is grieving along withÂ all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can trulyÂ express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying toÂ find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. We have cooperated fullyÂ with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we areÂ saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.”
The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by rifle, the medicalÂ examiner said Saturday, and Dr. H. Wayne Carver said the deaths are classifiedÂ as homicides. Police began releasing the identities of the dead.
Police said they had found “very good evidence” they hoped would answerÂ questions about the motives of the gunman, described as brilliant but remote,Â who forced his way into the school and killed 26 children and adults in one ofÂ the world’s worst mass shootings.
Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said Saturday morning that theÂ suspect was not voluntarily let into the school.
Lanza shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, drove to the school in her car with atÂ least three guns, including a high-powered rifle that he apparently left in theÂ back of the vehicle, and shot up two classrooms around 9:30 a.m. Friday, lawÂ enforcement officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A custodian ran through the halls, warning of a gunman on the loose, andÂ someone switched on the intercom, alerting people in the building to the attackÂ — and perhaps saving many lives — by letting them hear the hysteria going onÂ in the school office, a teacher said. Teachers locked their doors and orderedÂ children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through theÂ building.
Lanza was found dead inside the school, according to officials. EighteenÂ of the children and six more adults were dead at the school and two moreÂ children died later, Lt. Vance said at a press conference Friday.
The well-liked principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was believed to be among the dead.Â A woman who worked at the school was wounded.
President Barack Obama will attend an interfaith memorial service Sunday inÂ Newtown.Â It will be the fourth time he has traveled to a city after a massÂ shooting.
The president had planned to travel to Maine Wednesday for an event promotingÂ his positions in “fiscal cliff” negotiations, but the White House canceled thatÂ trip because of the shooting.
The tragedy elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as itÂ raised more basic questions about why the gunman, a 20-year-old described asÂ brilliant but remote, would have been driven to such a crime and how he choseÂ his victims.
The rampage, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation’sÂ second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacreÂ that claimed 33 lives in 2007.
In tight-knit Newtown on Saturday, overflow crowds packed St. Rose of LimaÂ Roman Catholic Church. The Rev. Richard Scinto, a deacon, gave a homily.
“In the past 48 hours I’ve said the phrase `I don’t know’ about 1,000 times,”Â he said. “That not knowing has got to be the worst part of this wholeÂ thing.”
At St. John’s Episcopal Church, 54-year-old Donna Denner, an art teacher atÂ an elementary school in nearby Danbury whose classroom was locked down after theÂ shooting, said she feels the same way she did after 9/11 but isn’t sure the restÂ of the country is.
“I don’t know if the rest of the country is struggling to understand it theÂ same way we are here,” she said. “Life goes on, but you’re not the same. Is theÂ rest of the country — are they going about their regular activities? Is it justÂ another news story to them?”
Lanza’s brother, Ryan Lanza, 24, who wasÂ widely and erroneously reported to be the suspect, was questioned in Hoboken,Â N.J., but authorities said he was not involved.Â An FBI source tells FoxÂ News that Ryan Lanza and the father, Peter Lanza, have both been cleared and areÂ not longer being questioned.
The vehicle the suspect drove to the school was registered to his mother. AtÂ least three guns were found — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside theÂ school, and a .223-caliber rifle in the back of a car, authorities said.
Sources told Fox News the guns used in the shooting were owned by and legallyÂ registered to Nancy Lanza.
ATF spokeswoman Ginger Colbrun said earlier that there was no evidence LanzaÂ was involved in gun clubs or had trained for the shooting. When reached later inÂ the day and asked whether that was still true, she said, “We’re following anyÂ and all leads related to this individual and firearms.”
Dean Price, director of the Wooster Mountain State Range — a shooting rangeÂ in Danbury — said two ATF agents visited the range Friday night and stayed intoÂ the early morning looking through thousands of names on sign-in logs.
He said that he had never seen Adam or Nancy Lanza there and that agents toldÂ him they did not find their names on the sign-in sheets.
Law enforcement officials have said they’ve found no note or manifesto fromÂ Lanza of the sort they have come to expect after murderous rampages such as theÂ Virginia Tech bloodbath in 2007 that left 33 people dead.
Vance said during Friday afternoon’s newsÂ conference that police arrived at the scene “within minutes” of a 911 callÂ placed shortly after 9:30 a.m. Friday.
“Every door, every crack, every crevice ofÂ that school” was checked, Vance said. “The entire school was searched.” He saidÂ the shooting occurred inside two rooms in “one section of theÂ school.”
Lanza was believed to suffer from a personality disorder and lived with hisÂ mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation butÂ was not authorized to discuss it.
Education officials said they had found no link between Lanza’s mother andÂ the school, contrary to news reports that said she was a teacher there.Â Investigators said they believe Adam Lanza attended Sandy Hook Elementary manyÂ years ago, but they had no explanation for why he went there Friday.
President Obama was notified of theÂ shooting about an hour after it occurred, White House officials said.
“Our hearts are broken today,” Obama said in a brief address to the nation onÂ Friday. “We’ve endured too many ofÂ these tragedies in these past few years, and each time I receive the news IÂ react not as a president, but as a parent.”
“Most victims were children, between five and 10 years old…They had theirÂ entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations weddings, kids of their own,”Â he said, pausing before wiping tears from his eyes.
Sandy Hook Elementary School has close toÂ 700 students.
Newtown is in Fairfield County, about 45Â miles southwest of Hartford and 60 miles northeast of New YorkÂ City.
Source: Fox News