The nation's heart broke after a gunman killed six and seven year-olds. A former sports hero fell from grace and a massive storm devastated the most populated section of the country. Here is a look at the top national stories of 2012. A gunman stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and began firing. When it was over, 6 adults and 20 first graders were dead. The shooter, 20 year old Adam Lanza, killed himself. In July, a man opened fire during the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie in Colorado.
Prosecutors say James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58 others. The shooting death of an unarmed Florida teenager sparked protests around the country.
Neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman argued he shot 17-year-old Travyon Martin in self-defense. But prosecutors eventually charged him with murder.
A judge sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to seven life terms. He pleaded guilty to six counts of murder and the attempted assassination of former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Super storm Sandy slammed into the New York City area and left thousands of people homeless along the east coast. The biggest Atlantic storm in history caused billions of dollars in damages. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30-to-60 years in prison for sexually abusing 10 boys. The N-C-double-A took away 13 years of Penn State's victories - costing the late Joe Paterno his title as the winningest coach in major college football.
Lance Armstrong lost millions in endorsements and walked away from his Livestrong charity after the U-S anti-doping agency threw out his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from cycling. Despite overwhelming evidence, Armstrong maintains he didn't use performance enhancing drugs.
John Edwards walked after federal prosecutors failed to convince a jury - the former presidential candidate misused campaign donations to hide his mistress. (The last of NASAs fleet of space shuttles arrived at museums around the country. While the first privately - built spacecraft delivered supplies to the International Space station. The Curiosity rover landed on Mars, beaming back pictures of the red planet. And - Felix Baumgartner became a human missile as he broke the speed of sound during the fastest and highest free fall ever.