OTR Interviews

A gruesome crime scene in Connecticut that disturbs the most experienced of police officers and will take days to decipher

Conn. police say they will be examining the crime scenes at Sandy Hook Elementary School for days


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Police telling us it will take days to process the gruesome crime scene, 26 people, 20 just mere children slaughtered inside the elementary school. Now, we spoke with Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance.


VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Lieutenant, you know, we've seen so many of these across the country and going back even as long as Columbine and before that. You never think it's going to happen in your own community, do you.

VANCE: No, you don't. This is something that is horrific, it's tragic. These parents sent these children to school today to be educated and they never expected never to see them again. And it's just a heartbreaking tragedy that this community's enduring.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you think right now -- you haven't identified all the bodies for the families, have you.

VANCE: We have not. We have tentative identification. We have a process where we have to positively identify everyone, and we want certainly to do that as expeditiously as possible. We're working on that as we speak right now. We'll work right through the night. It's important for the families and we understand that.

VAN SUSTEREN: But just imagine, you're home tonight and you haven't gotten the official word, but your child isn't home, so you know that your child was one of the victims. I mean, it's inevitable. I mean, imagine that pain.

VANCE: It's -- it's unbelievable. I mean, it's something that no one really ever wants to bear, and it was heartbreaking to have to hear the parents being told that their children were not coming home. It was heartbreaking for the law enforcement officers to go in to rescue as many people as they did, as many staffers as they did, and then encounter what they discovered in those last two classrooms.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was the situation where the killer killed everybody in one single room, so that he killed an entire class?

VANCE: No, it wasn't -- it wasn't like that, and it's even difficult to talk about. But suffice to say that, you know, there were deceased in two classrooms and the hallway, and it was a horrific scene.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was he known to law enforcement? Because sometimes, these people who come in here and to that, you know, their names are familiar to law enforcement. They've been around.

VANCE: We're looking at that. We have a State Police command investigation under way. We've brought in major crime detectives. We've had the Newtown police detectives working with us. And we're going to answer all those questions. We're going to do an extensive background on the shooter, going back as far as we need to go. We're going to answer every question about the history and historical -- any historical events that this young man may have been involved n. We'll leave no stone unturned.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has the school indicated that they know him? Had his mother ever complained about him or said anything about him that she was worried about him?

VANCE: There's nothing that showed that something like this could occur. But again, our investigators will look at all of that. We'll certainly interview all the administration of the school, superintendent, friends, family, relatives, co-workers. The list is endless, and we will certainly do everything we can to answer all those questions.

VAN SUSTEREN: One thing that I was sort of curious -- I didn't quite understand, maybe you can clear it up for me, is that -- that I've read or heard that the mother was found dead at her home and that she's also a teacher. So was she not teaching now or was she not -- did she call in sick? Or why wasn't she at school today, do you know?

VANCE: I've got to -- I've got to say we haven't identified officially anyone yet. So I'm in a position where I can tell you we have a secondary scene with a deceased female, who we tentatively have identified. And those are questions that we have and those are questions that we have to answer. And at this point in time, we haven't answered them yet.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, can you tell me whether there was a substitute teacher in that classroom?

VANCE: That I don't know. I'm sorry. I don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so -- and right now, medical examiners in with those children and the adults?

VANCE: Yes, the medical examiner's at the scene with a team, and he has his team in place and they're going to work right through the night. They're going to do whatever they need to do, again, to identify these children for these families.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I can't -- you know, every time I've covered these stories, you know, the police officers, the law enforcement -- I mean, they're all parents. And you know, and they go into these scenes and it's, like, you know, it's -- it's unthinkable and unspeakable. I mean, they've all got kids these -- you know, the age of these children.

VANCE: Yes. It's a very difficult scene for them. The law enforcement officers that entered that building, we've provided them with counseling. We have the briefers with them. We did the same for the family. We brought in clergy. It's hard. It's very hard for law enforcement, the fire service, EMS personnel, but certainly nothing like the parents are going through.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no parent wants to send his child to school that's essentially a prison and with a lot of metal detectors and security and everything else. But I'm curious. With this school, any security? Not that I'm any way condemning them if it hasn't because it -- you know, both -- it goes both ways.

VANCE: Suffice it to say that the school was secure. It was very secure. And we will certainly determine exactly how the shooter was able to gain access.

VAN SUSTEREN: Secure in a sense that if I tried to get in, somebody would stop me? Is it that kind of security? You've got -- someone's got to me in?

VANCE: That's correct. You could not have gotten in.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir, and good luck. I know it's tough on you, and everybody in the community, especially the families of the dead. Thank you, sir.