December 28, 2013

Police file on Newtown yields chilling portrait

The thousands of pages include text, photos and recordings of 911 calls, but shooter Adam Lanza’s motives may never be known.

By John Christoffersen
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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A makeshift memorial with crosses for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre stands outside a home in Newtown, Conn., earlier this month on the one-year anniversary of the shootings. Connecticut authorities Friday released state police documents from the investigation.

The Associated Press/Robert F. Bukaty

click image to enlarge

This undated identification file photo provided Wednesday, April 3, 2013, by Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn., shows former student Adam Lanza, who authorities said opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, killing 26 students and educators. State police said their report from the investigation into last year's Newtown school massacre will be released at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, 2013.

Key findings in newly released Newtown documents

— Five teachers were meeting in Classroom 20 between 9 and 9:30 a.m. when they heard banging. Someone entered the room and told them to leave because he thought he smelled gunpowder. They began to hide, and then broke a window to climb out. Four of the five crawled out, but one couldn't get through the window and stayed behind. The ones who escaped ran to a Subway restaurant across the street from the school.

— Teachers told investigators they heard janitor Rick Thorn confront gunman Adam Lanza and attempt to get him to leave the school. One teacher, who was hiding in a closet in the math lab, heard Thorn yell, "Put the gun down!" Thorn was not killed.

— A male friend of Lanza's mother, Nancy, told investigators she had planned to sell their home in Newtown and move to Washington state or North Carolina, where she hoped Adam could get a job. She planned to buy an RV for Adam Lanza to sleep in. If they went to Washington, Nancy said, there was a special school where she planned to enroll him. In North Carolina, she said, a friend owned a computer firm and had agreed to give Adam a job and teach him the business.

— Images taken at the Lanza home show an open case of earplugs used to protect the hearing of someone firing a gun, curved ammunition magazines and gun cases. One room's windows are covered with dark plastic bags. In Nancy Lanza's room, where she was killed in bed, the rifle used by her son lay on the floor nearby.

Peter Lanza, who was estranged from his son, told police that Adam had Asperger's syndrome — a type of autism that is not associated with violence — and exhibited symptoms of being "slightly OCD," meaning obsessive compulsive disorder.

A former Newtown High student who was in Tech Club with Adam Lanza recalled him pulling his sleeves over his hands any time he was handed an object from someone.

A nurse told police that Lanza's mother had to do three loads of laundry each day because her son obsessively changed clothes — sometimes changing his socks 20 times daily.

Prosecutors previously issued a summary of the investigation last month that portrayed Lanza as obsessed with mass murders, but the report concluded that Lanza's motives for the massacre might never be known.

Lanza "was undoubtedly afflicted with mental health problems; yet despite a fascination with mass shootings and firearms, he displayed no aggressive or threatening tendencies," it said.

The new files revealed chaos during the rampage.

Lanza remained silent as he aimed and fired in Room 10, according to an officer who interviewed the mother of one of the surviving students. The woman said her son, who ran from the classroom, recalled the shooter kicking in the door and then firing.

The documents indicate investigators were gentle in their questioning of children, interviewing youngsters only if they or their parents requested it. Some of the parents thought talking openly about the shooting and getting accurate information out would help their children heal.

After the interviews, the children were given a copy of Margaret Holmes' book "A Terrible Thing Happened" to help them deal with that they witnessed.

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