60 Minutes reports: Tragedy in Newtown

Scott Pelley reports on the Newtown shooting and interviews a school nurse, a former classmate of the alleged gunman's, and former Secret Service members

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The following is a script of "Newtown" which aired on Dec. 16, 2012. Scott Pelley is the correspondent. Nicole Young, Bob Anderson and Michael Radutzky, producers.

It is a Sunday of sorrow for Newtown, Conn., and for the nation. This afternoon, hundreds of residents walked the road to Sandy Hook Elementary School where, on Friday, 26 people were murdered, 20 of them children in the first grade. President Obama has been in Newtown tonight for a memorial service.

First reports of this tragedy have turned out to be inaccurate. We were told that the gunman's mother was a teacher at the school, that he was allowed in because he was recognized, and that he targeted his mother's classroom with two handguns. Well tonight, we know that all of that is wrong. Here's what we do know as told by people who knew the gunman and by one woman at the school that he approached, but did not kill.

That woman is Sally Cox, the school nurse. This picture was taken shortly after she left Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday. She's been the school nurse there 15 years. And she told us that Friday morning began with comforting routine; 9:10 Pledge of Allegiance, 9:15 outside doors locked. Then came 9:30.

Sally Cox: All of a sudden I heard a very loud popping noise. I mean a noise that I've never, ever heard before. And my first thought was, was this something with the heating-- something-- or did something fall? And, I called out to the secretary, "Barb, what is that?" And then she called out to me by name. She said, "Sally." And I could just hear, like, fear in her voice.

Scott Pelley: It was something about the way Barb called out your name?

Sally Cox: Yes. Yeah. She just had this horrible sound of fear in her voice. That's what made me just-- 'cause I think I was about ready to go to see what was going on. The popping kept going off. And I just dove underneath my computer desk. The back of the desk has a small opening for, like, wires to come out. And I just peeked. I could see his feet and his legs from the knees down. And he-- his feet were facing in my direction. And I just froze with fear. And then he just-- it was just seconds and then he turned around and I could hear him walk out. I heard the door close and then I just heard popping starting all over again. And then the secretary, she was down behind my desk and we pulled the phone off the desk and she called 911.

Scott Pelley: And she said what?

Sally Cox: She said-- I-- she said, "We have a shoo-- please send help right away. We have a shooter in the building." And then we just wanted to get out of there. And then we just ran into my big supply closet and we ran into the closet. We pulled that door closed. So we were behind two locked doors. And we could just hear the popping continue. And we heard screams. There's nothing we could do. You know? It was just a helpless, horrible feeling. You know? And just like a nightmare that-- couldn't believe that-- you know, you just think it's a bad dream. After some time, I think it was about 11:15, so we had been in that closet for about an hour and a half, I opened the door and I peeked out, 'cause my office has a lot of windows and looks into the courtyard. And I just saw what looked like maybe SWAT people but I didn't know, you know, who they were. I didn't know if there were other shooters. And it wasn't until 1:15 when I-- somebody was jiggling the door. And-- but nobody called out. So I decided to be brave enough and open that door into the office and a lot of state police officers were there at that point. And they were very surprised to see me.

Scott Pelley; You were in the closet for about four hours?

Sally Cox: Close to it. Yeah. Yeah. Just fearful.

Scott Pelley: I wonder what the standard security at the school is in terms of allowing visitors into the building and that sort of thing. How is it supposed to work?

Sally Cox: We do our Pledge of Allegiance at 9:10. And then five minutes later the doors are locked. All the doors and all-- going around the whole building. And then when be--when people come they have to buzz. There's a camera. They push a button. It buzzes in the office and we buzz them in.

Scott Pelley: How long has that been true?