A 48-page report detailing the investigation of the 12/14 shootings at Sandy Hook School and on Yogananda Street in Newtown that day has been released by the Connecticut State's Attorney's Office.
The report is accompanied by more than 200 pages of additional data available for public review through the state Judicial website.
Part of the introductory remarks in the document state that while no report is statutorily required of the state’s attorney once the investigation is complete, it has been the practice of state’s attorneys to issue reports on criminal investigations where there is no arrest and prosecution if the state’s attorney determines that some type of public statement is necessary.
Given the gravity of the crimes committed on December 14, 2012, a report is in order, the document states.
The purpose of the report, according to the state's attorney, is to identify the person or persons criminally responsible for the 27 homicides that occurred in Newtown on the morning of December 14, 2012, to determine what crimes were committed, and to indicate if there will be any state prosecutions as a result of the incident.
The document states that many witnesses to this case have expressed great concern that their identities will be disclosed publicly and make them susceptible to threats or intimidation as a result of their cooperation or connection with the investigation. This cooperation has been essential and greatly appreciated, according to the report.
As a result of the witnesses’ concerns, the report does not identify lay witnesses, except where necessary, according to the state's attorney.
Consistent with state statutes, and exceptions to the state Freedom of Information Act, the report does not list the names of the 20 children killed in the incident, nor will it recite 911 calls made from within the school on that morning or describe information provided by witnesses who were in the classrooms or heard what was occurring in the classrooms.
According to the report, the information that was released November 25 is not intended to convey every piece of information contained in the voluminous investigation materials developed by the Connecticut State Police and other law enforcement agencies, but to provide information relevant to the purposes of this report.
Responders' Initial Concerns
Among the many details in the report are timelines of response, along with an explanation clarifying why initial responders were concerned that there may have been more than one perpetraitor involved.
According to the report, this was based upon a number of factors:
1. The initial police encounter with the unknown male outside SHES;
2. Reports by school personnel during the shooting on a 911 call of seeing someone running outside the school while the shooting was ongoing;
3. The location of two black zip-up sweat jackets on the ground outside of the shooter’s car;
4. The discovery of an Izhmash Saiga-12, 12 gauge shotgun and ammunition in the passenger compartment of the shooter’s car. A police officer moved this shotgun and ammunition to the car’s trunk for safety purposes;
5. Shell casings that were located outside of the school; and
6. The apparent sound of gunfire coming from outside of the school.
The report states that a subsequent investigation revealed there were no additional shooters based upon:
1. Searches of the area and examinations of local business security surveillance videos;
2. Persons detained revealed they were not connected to the shootings. In the case of the initial unknown male, he was identified as the parent of a student and had a cell telephone, rather than a weapon, in his hand;
3. Witness interviews which indicated that no witness saw anyone other than the shooter with a firearm;
4. Witness interviews in which it was determined that a number of SHES staff had escaped from the school through a window and had been running outside the school building during the shootings;
5. The shotgun located in the shooter’s car had been purchased by the shooter’s mother previously;
6. The two sweat jackets were both C-Sport brand black zip-up hooded sweat jackets with no size listed and were located immediately outside the shooter’s car; both are believed to have been brought there by the shooter;
7. The live shotgun shells (other than the one found on the shooter and the ones found in the shooter’s car) that were located inside and outside of the school were in locations where first responders had been. Additionally, there were first responders who reported missing live shotgun rounds. Moreover, the shells were found in locations where there had not been reported sightings of any non-law enforcement individuals;
8. There were no expended shotgun shells found in the actual crime scene nor were any expended 12 gauge shotgun pellets or slugs recovered;
9. The only expended casings located outside of the school building were 5.56 mm casings located just outside the school’s front entrance, consistent with the shooter’s entry into the school; and
10. The officer who heard what he believed to be outside gunfire was in a position to have heard the shooter’s gunfire coming from window openings in the classroom in which the shooter was firing.
The report states that although a dozen agencies, including seven departments within the Connecticut State Police, were engaged in the post-incident investigation, it took seven days to collect all the evidence that was eventually utilized.
In the breakdown of information, the report notes that officers found 312 live rounds on the shooter, on the ground or in weapons seized at the scene, and the total number of expended casings seized from classroom 10 were 50.
Numerous video games were located in the basement computer/gaming area of the shooter's home. The list of video games includes, but is not limited to:
-Left for Dead
-Metal Gear Solid
-Call of Duty
-Grand Theft Auto
-Shin Megami Tensei
Other items found and noted for the report are:
- A Christmas check from the mother to the shooter to purchase a CZ 83 firearm;
- A New York Times article from February 18, 2008, regarding the school shooting at Northern Illinois University;
- Three photographs of what appear to be a dead human, covered in blood and wrapped in plastic;
- The book Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, Jossey-Bass, 2007, by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven Nolt and David Weaver-Zercher; and
- Photocopied newspaper articles from 1891 pertaining to the shooting of school children.
The report states that while the vast majority of persons interviewed had no explanation for the shooter’s actions, a review of electronic evidence or digital media that appeared to belong to the shooter revealed that the shooter had a preoccupation with mass shootings, in particular the Columbine shootings and a strong interest in firearms.
For example, there was a spreadsheet with mass murders over the years listing information about each shooting.
The review of the electronic evidence also found many things that are on a typical hard drive or memory card that would probably have no relevance to the investigation either because of creation date or subject matter.
The report states the following selected topics or items were found within the digital evidence seized:
- Bookmarks pertaining to firearms, military, politics, mass murder, video games, music, books, Army Ranger, computers and programs, ammunition, candy, economic books
- Web page design folders
- Two videos showing suicide by gunshot
- Commercial movies depicting mass shootings
- The computer game titled School Shooting where the player controls a character who enters a school and shoots at students
- Screen shots (172) of the online game Combat Arms
- Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) game screen shots
- Videos of shooter playing DDR
- Images of the shooter holding a handgun to his head
- Images of the shooter holding a rifle to his head
- Five-second video (dramatization) depicting children being shot
- Images of shooter with a rifle, shotgun and numerous magazines in his pockets
- Documents on weapons and magazine capacity
The report states that investigators sought to determine if anyone had conspired with or aided the shooter before the shootings. To that end, investigators examined social contacts, writings, e-mails, Internet blogs, telephone records, and his general Internet presence.
One of the Internet blogs on which the shooter posted focused on mass shootings and in particular the Columbine shootings. The shooter also exchanged e-mails with others who were interested in the topic of mass shootings, the report states.
None of these communications, however, related to SHES or in any way suggested that the shooter intended to commit a mass shooting, the report concludes. Thus, the evidence as developed to date does not demonstrate that any of those with whom he communicated conspired with the shooter or criminally aided and abetted him in committing the murders on 12/14.
The report also reveals a number of peculiar points about the shooter's home life:
In November 2012, the mother sought to buy the shooter another computer or parts for a computer for the shooter to build one himself. She was concerned about him and said that he hadn’t gone anywhere in three months and would only communicate with her by e-mail, though they were living in the same house.
The shooter's mother was planning to move, and was poised to purchase an RV for the shooter to reside in during the period of time that the home was up for sale, because he would not stay in a hotel. The report states that during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, with no power in the house, the shooter refused to leave the home and go to a hotel.
During the week of December 10, 2012, the shooter’s mother was out of town in New Hampshire. She arrived home Thursday evening December 13, at approximately 10 pm.
A GPS device found in the home, revealed that on Thursday, December 13, 2012, the device recorded a trip from and back to 36 Yogananda Street with a route in the Sandy Hook area of Newtown between 2:09 pm and 2:32 pm. The GPS did not provide any indication that the driver drove up to SHES.
What Others Knew
The report states that those who knew the shooter describe him in contradictory ways. He was undoubtedly afflicted with mental health problems; yet despite a fascination with mass shootings and firearms, he displayed no aggressive or threatening tendencies.
In some contexts he was viewed as having above-average intelligence; in others below-average. Some recalled that the shooter had been bullied; but others -- including many teachers -- saw nothing of the sort. With some people he could talk with them and be humorous; but many others saw the shooter as unemotional, distant, and remote.
According to witnesses discussing the shooter's past to investigators, it was revealed that when he was in fifth grade, related to a class project, the shooter produced the Big Book of Granny in which the main character has a gun in her cane and shoots people.
The report states that the story includes violence against children. There is no indication this was ever handed in to the school.
In 2005, the shooter was diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder and was described as presenting with significant social impairments and extreme anxiety, the report states.
His high level of anxiety, Asperger’s characteristics, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) concerns, and sensory issues all impacted his performance to a significant degree, limiting his participation in a general education curriculum.
Tutoring, desensitization, and medication were recommended. It was suggested that he would benefit by continuing to be eased into more regular classroom time and increasing exposure to routine events at school.
The report states that the shooter refused to take suggested medication and did not engage in suggested behavior therapies.
Over the years, the report states that his mother consistently described the shooter as having Asperger’s syndrome. She had a number of books in the home on the topic.
She also described the shooter as being unable to make eye contact, sensitive to light, and could not stand to be touched. Over time he had multiple daily rituals, an inability to touch door knobs, repeated hand washing and obsessive clothes changing, to the point that his mother was frequently doing laundry.
In 2006, the shooter’s mother noted that there were marked changes to the shooter’s behavior around the seventh grade. Prior to that, he would ride his bike and do adventurous things such as climbing trees or climbing a mountain.
He had stopped playing the saxophone. He had been in a school band but dropped out. He had withdrawn from playing soccer or baseball, which he said he did not enjoy.
The report states that it is unknown what contribution, if any, the shooter’s mental health issues made to his attack on SHES. Those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.
According to an e-mail accompanying the release of the report, the extensive Connecticut State Police case report, which amounts to several thousand pages on this tragic case, is completed. The process of redaction is under way: that is, any information contained in the report that is required by law to be redacted must be removed prior to the release of the document.
The process will be completed as quickly as possible. The State Police are expecting to complete the redaction process before the anniversary of this tragedy.