Police found hundreds of rounds of ammunition, guns, three photos of “what appears to be a deceased human covered with plastic” and other evidence when they searched the Newtown, Conn., home of killer Adam Lanza, according to records released Thursday.
Five search warrants, which include lists of what detectives discovered in the first few days after the Dec. 14, 2012, mass shooting that left 20 school children and six educators dead, were made public. We’ll embed them below. Though not overly graphic, they do include some details about what investigators saw when they discovered the body of Nancy Lanza, the gunman’s mother, at the home.
There isn’t anything else said in the warrants about the photos of what appear to be a dead person, but it is noted that Lanza had saved a New York Times article about a shooting at Northern Illinois University. It’s also reported that investigators found “one handwritten note pad with what appears to be to do lists for Nancy Lanza from December 14 through December 20.” And they came upon an “Adam Lanza National Rifle Association certificate.” While some computers, gaming consoles and other electronic devices were recovered, there was “a smashed hard drive on top of a desk in what is believed to be Adam Lanza’s bedroom.” He had a gun safe in the room, as well. A witness, whose name was redacted, told investigators that Lanza “rarely leaves his home.”
The Hartford Courant begins its report on the warrants this way: “Newtown shooter Adam Lanza kept an arsenal of guns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, swords and knives at his home, search warrants released Thursday indicate.”
The Stamford Advocate leads with this: “Investigators found a trove of evidence … seven journals and drawings, three photos of dead people covered in plastic and possibly blood, and a huge cache of ammunition scattered through the home. … A gun safe and a military-style uniform were in his bedroom. Among other items in the home: three samuarai swords with blades ranging from 13 to 28 inches, 10 other knives, both X-box 360 and Sony Playstation game consoles and handwritten notes with locations of various gun shops.”
The full version is here:
Law enforcement sources say Adam Lanza was motivated by violent video games and a strong desire to kill more people than another infamous mass murderer.
Sources say Lanza saw himself as being in direct competition with Anders Breivik, a Norwegian man who killed 77 people in July 2011.
Breivik killed eight with a bombing in downtown Oslo. He then moved to a nearby island where hunted down and fatally shot 69 people, mostly teenagers attending a summer camp.
Two officials who have been briefed on the Newtown, Conn., investigation say Lanza wanted to top Breivik’s death toll and targeted nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School because it was the “easiest target” with the “largest cluster of people.”
Evidence shows that his mind, sources say, Lanza was also likely acting out the fantasies of a video game as he killed 20 first graders and six adults at the school. For Lanza, the deaths apparently amounted to some kind of “score.”
But Lanza ended his killing spree sooner than he intended. Unlike Breivik, who surrendered, Lanza killed himself as police closed in. Just before his suicide, Lanza fired some shots at police in the school’s parking lot.
Officials have not publicly revealed what led them to the motive, but sources say investigators have found evidence Lanza was obsessed with Breivik.
They’ve also recovered what they called a “trove” of video games from the basement of Lanza’s home. Sources say Lanza spent countless hours there alone, in a private gaming room with the windows blacked out, honing his computer shooting skills.
Lanza also made multiple visits to nearby gun ranges with his mother, Nancy Lanza, where they practiced together with actual weapons. Three guns, all registered to Nancy Lanza, were used in the Sandy Hook massacre. Lanza used a fourth weapon to kill his mother before his attack on the school.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In response to this piece, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police told CBS News that the investigation into the motive for the Newtown shooting has not been completed and therefore any statements about the shooter’s intent are mere speculation.
Investigators have succeeded in recovering some data from one of the damaged hard drives in a computer used by Adam Lanza and have subpoenaed computers of people they believe were in contact with the Sandy Hook mass murderer, a law enforcement source said Friday.
Another smashed hard drive is still being reconstructed by technicians with the U.S. Department of Defense, the source said.
Authorities are particularly interested in what relationships Lanza had within the online and video game community, hoping there may be clues about what provoked him to shoot his mother to death, then kill 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School on the morning of Dec. 14.
Earlier in their investigation, State Police found a trove of violent gaming material at the Newtown home Lanza shared with his mother, Nancy.
Lanza attempted to destroy the computer hard drives either on the day of the shootings or shortly earlier.
I must admit, the timing of this “award” is rather amusingly fortuitous, because it was just on Friday that Andrew Wakefield published a tirade on the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism that is just as misguided, wrong-headed, and inept as anything that Mike Adams, or Teresa Conrick has written entitled Patterns In Chaos: Child Psychiatry, Violence and Autism. In fact, it sounds very much like the anti-psychiatry rants recently written in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, CT by a deranged gunman named Adam Lanza that I deconstructed last week.
Like Conrick, Wakefield begins by correctly countering the misinformation rampant in the media in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting that Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome and correctly asserting that there is no good evidence of a link between autism or autism spectrum disorders and an increased propensity for violence and mass murder. Unfortunately, Wakefield then does what antivaccinationists do so well and proposes an alternate explanation that involves the same confusion of correlation with causation that Mike Adams and Teresa Conrick fell for, tying them to vaccines:
And for those at risk - young people receiving off-license mind-bending drugs, an urgent overview of individual indication, efficacy, compliance, and adverse effects must be undertaken, funded by the relevant players in the pharmaceutical industry and conducted independently of any other input from them.
Tragically, predictably, there will be more events like that at Sandy Hook Elementary. The vast number of individuals with developmental disorders presages such events. This is not because of their diagnosis, per se, but rather I would suggest, because they may be at increased risk for adverse reactions (due to pre-existing conditions) and are being inappropriately medicated with drugs for which violence is a recognized adverse reaction. These drugs are being prescribed by a “mainstream” medical system that, through clinical neglect, has run dry on alternative treatments for autism spectrum disorders while enjoying Parma’s inducements way too much to look for any.
My opinion is neither mine alone, nor is it new. In attempting to make sense of the “senseless” it offers both tangible reasons and approaches to prevention. It is not enough that our hearts break for those affected; we are compelled to act. Perhaps inevitably, I am left with a mental image of Pharma lobbyists scaling Capitol Hill like an army of Orcs closing on Helm’s Deep. It’s a hideous sight.
A military-like response is essential to combat the spate of massacres at schools, theaters, malls and other public spaces in recent decades, experts say, along with a combined effort to identify would-be attackers before they lash out.
There are roughly 300 million privately-owned guns among the roughly 310 million Americans. Even if gun distribution ceased today, the quality of these weapons means that hundreds of millions of them could last for hundreds of years, says former FBI Agent Clint van Zandt.
Barring a way to eliminate access to weapons, communities must look to telltale predictors of violent behavior among troubled people like Adam Lanza.
“His mother knew, his teachers knew, his counselors knew,” says van Zandt, a retired supervisor at the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. “Everyone had a piece of the behavior, everyone had a piece of the puzzle, but they didn’t come together.”
There is no one event that drives someone to commit these kinds of crimes, says van Zandt. Rather, it is composition of factors, such as violent video games that reward simulated killing, an inability to resolve issues non-violently, and a society that must improve its ability to identify and treat mental illnesses.
In his last few years, Adam Lanza shut himself off from the outside world almost completely, his troubles slowly escalating as his family splintered.
In the summer of 2010, Mr. Lanza cut off contact with his father, Peter Lanza, a General Electric GE -0.81% executive whose marriage with his mother ended a year before, said a person with knowledge of family matters. It is unclear why Mr. Lanza refused to speak with his father, who made repeated attempts to contact him, this person said, but the breakdown in their relationship came as Peter Lanza started to get serious with his girlfriend, whom he married last year.
After Christmas 2010, Adam Lanza had no contact with his older brother, Ryan, who had moved away for a job in New York City, according to records and a person with knowledge of the family. And three years ago, high-school classmates recalled Adam Lanza suddenly disappearing midway through high school in Newtown, Conn. “He disappeared off the face of the Earth,” according to one friend.
Then, last Friday morning, Adam Lanza fatally shot his final link to the outside world, his mother, Nancy Lanza, in her bed. He then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School—where he attended first through fourth grades—and he killed 20 children and six adults before taking his own life, authorities said.
The 20-year-old’s seclusion is proving to be the primary obstacle for investigators trying to piece together a comprehensive portrait of Mr. Lanza and his interactions with others in the days leading up to the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history, a state police official said. Afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, Mr. Lanza left few traces of interactions with people in person, or online, the official and others said. The person who knew him best, Nancy Lanza, is dead.
Throughout the country Friday, bells tolled at 9:30 a.m. — some deliberately ringing 26 times, some 27 and far fewer ringing 28 times.
The disparity in bells echoing throughout the country is symbolic of a looming question — how many victims are there?
While Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called for the ringing of the bells 26 times, and President Barack Obama noted 26 victims — one Newtown church Friday recognized 28 victims, including both the gunman and his mother.
But when the bells tolled Friday morning, some not only opted to include Nancy Lanza as a victim, but her son as well.
The United Methodist Church in Newtown, a site for vigils and services since the incident, rang the bell 28 times.
‘It’s a matter of theology, not judgment or logic,’ said the Rev. Mel Kawakami, the church’s senior pastor.
‘I don’t have to judge. I leave that to the God I believe in — and I believe in a God of mercy.
Jim Dietter, a Newtown resident, also agreed with the church’s decision to include Adam Lanza and his mother in the service.
‘He [Adam Lanza] is a victim of sorts as well. I feel someone in such a dark place as to kill children must feel such anguish,’ he said. ‘The church’s role, forgiveness, is a way to set people free. … I get that people hate him and want to strike him from history and kill him a thousand times over. Ultimately that’s not going to help people.’
I don’t think a little more compassion is going to hurt anyone.
There are a number of things we think we know about Adam Lanza, the Newtown, Connecticut 20-year-old, who last Friday murdered his mother, then shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first-graders and six adults before turning a gun on himself.
We’ve been told, by a former classmate, that he was “weird.” We’ve been told, by a family friend, that he played a lot of violent video games. And we’ve also been told by such sources that he had a “developmental disorder,” that some say was Asperger’s Syndrome.
From this, a narrative has emerged of a troubled young man, induced into violence by his preferred choice of media, and failed by an inadequate mental health system. This narrative has caught on so successfully that, as of Wednesday, a Gallup poll found far more Americans believing that events like the Newtown tragedy could be avoided through increased federal spending on mental health screening and services than by banning the sale of assault weapons.
And yet, in truth, we have virtually no hard facts to back up this storyline.
Rarely do residents mention the first person police said Adam Lanza killed that morning: his mother, Nancy, who was shot in the head four times while she lay in bed.
That makes 27.
A private funeral was held Thursday in New Hampshire for Nancy Lanza, according to Donald Briggs, the police chief in Kingston, N.H., where her funeral was held. About 25 family members attended the ceremony.
In Newtown, where makeshift memorials of stuffed animals, angels, candles, flowers and balloons have blossomed on patches of grass throughout town, there is only one noticeable tribute to Nancy Lanza. It’s a letter written by a friend on yellow paper affixed, screwed and shellacked onto a red piece of wood.
“Others now share pain for choices you faced alone; May the blameless among us throw the first stone,” it reads in part.
No one outwardly blames Nancy Lanza for the rampage. But authorities have said the gunman, her 20-year-old son Adam, used the guns she kept at their home to carry out a massacre that became the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history and has stirred lawmakers to call for gun control laws.