Although it is clear that the 20-year-old local man who shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012, had “significant mental health issues” and had “an obsession with mass murders, in particular the Columbine shootings,” a motive for Adam Lanza’s horrific actions has not been established, according to a prosecutor’s summary report on the incident.
In his November 25 report, Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky, III, states that the investigation into the actions of Lanza is closed.
However, if additional reliable information related to any other persons’ involvement in the case should surface, the case is subject to being reopened, Mr Sedensky writes.
“I do not anticipate that occurring…As of now, there will be no state prosecution of anyone as an accessory or co-conspirator,” he adds in the single-spaced 48-page report.
“This investigation, with the substantial information available, does not establish a conclusive motive,” according to the state’s attorney.
“The shooter did not recognize, or help himself, deal with (mental health) issues. He had a familiarity with and access to firearms and ammunition…There is no clear indication why Sandy Hook Elementary School was selected, other than perhaps its close proximity to the shooter’s home,” according to the prosecutor. Lanza had attended that school as a child.
A conclusive motive may never be established, although police collected extensive background information on Lanza through many interviews and other sources, according to Mr Sedensky.
“The evidence clearly shows that the shooter planned his actions, including the taking of his own life, but there is no clear indication why he did so or why he targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School,” according to the prosecutor.
On the morning of December 12, Lanza used a rifle to shoot his mother Nancy Lanza, 52, in the head multiple times while she was in bed, killing her. Lanza left that rifle nearby.
Lanza then drove from their 36 Yogananda Street home to Sandy Hook School where he shot his way into the building through a large glass panel adjacent to the school’s locked front doors.
While inside the school, Lanza used the high-powered military-style semiautomatic rifle to methodically kill 20 first-graders and six adults, after which he shot and killed himself with a pistol as police approached. Lanza had fired at least 154 rounds of ammunition at the school.
Lanza killed 26 people in the school in a brief period and had the ability to kill many more people, based on the several hundred rounds of unused ammunition that he was carrying, according to Mr Sedensky. It is estimated that there were between 450 and 500 people in the school when Lanza broke into the building.
Police arrived at the school within minutes of the first shots being fired, he adds. Police went into the school to save lives knowing that someone might be waiting inside waiting to kill them, Mr Sedensky writes, noting “The staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School acted heroically in trying to protect the children.”
The prosecutor’s report, which is posted on the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office website, condenses an exhaustive crime report on the mass murder, which was prepared by state police, who investigated the case with the help of local and federal law enforcement officials. Also posted on the website are appendices with data substantiating the prosecutor’s summary of the investigation.
The eventual disclosure of a redacted full investigatory report is expected.
In his document, Mr Sedensky describes the sequence of events that occurred at the school at the end of Dickinson Drive, a side street extending from Riverside Road.
After shooting his way into the school, Lanza shot and killed the principal and the school psychologist as they were in the school’s northern hallway responding to the noises that Lanza had made while shooting his way into the building. He also shot and injured two other school staffers who were in that hallway.
Lanza then entered the main office, but apparently did not see the people who were hiding there and returned to the hallway.
Lanza then entered Classroom 8 and Classroom 10, killing two adults in each room, and killing 15 children in Classroom 8 and five children in Classroom 10. He committed all 26 murders in the building with the semiautomatic rifle.
Lanza then killed himself with a pistol in Classroom 10.
The first 911 call on the incident came into the Newtown Emergency Communications Center at 3 Main Street at 9:35:39 am.
The first town police officer arrived at the school in less than four minutes. Lanza shot himself about one minute after the first police officer arrived.
Less than six minutes after the first police officer arrived at the school, the first police officer entered the building.
In less than 11 minutes, the shooting stopped and 27 were dead, including Adam Lanza.
The prosecutor writes that all five of the firearms handled or used by Lanza on December 14 were legally purchased by his mother and that there is no evidence to show that anyone other than his mother bought the ammunition for them.
The crimes committed by Lanza include 26 counts of murder under special circumstances, two counts of attempted murder under special circumstances, one count of murder, plus counts of first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, risk of injury to a minor, possession of a weapon on school grounds, and carrying a pistol without a permit.
Lanza had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with people, even people to whom he should have been close. The reclusive, socially-isolated Lanza even had communicated with his mother via e-mail although they lived in the same house. The report describes him as being six feet tall and weighing 112 pounds.
As an adult, Lanza did not recognize his problems, or help himself deal with his mental health problems, according to Mr Sedensky
“Mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior, “ the state’s attorney writes.
“He had a familiarity with and access to firearms and ammunition and an obsession with mass murders, in particular the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. Investigators, however, have not discovered any evidence that the shooter voiced or gave any indication to others that he intended to commit such a crime himself,” the prosecutor adds.
Police collected as much information as possible about Lanza’s life seeking to determine the motives for his deadly actions.
They interviewed members of Lanza’s family, people who knew him or his family throughout his life, as well as teachers and school staff members who had been involved with him and his family during his life in Newtown. The family had moved to Newtown from New Hampshire when Lanza was a small child.
The police investigation reviewed aspects of Lanza’s medical history.
“Investigators found no evidence to suggest the shooter had taken any medication that would affect his behavior or, by any means, to explain his actions on December 14, 2012,” according to Mr Sedensky.
“In 2005, the shooter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder and was described as presenting with significant social impairment and extreme anxiety. It was also noted that he lacked empathy and had very rigid thought processes. He had a literal interpretation of written and verbal material. In the school setting, the shooter had extreme anxiety and discomfort with changes, noise, and physical contact with others,” according to the report.
Lanza attended Newtown High School for some of his high school level education.
Also, Lanza refused to take recommended medications and did not participate in recommended behavior therapy.
According to someone in the area near 36 Yogananda Street, two or three loud gunshots were heard in the neighborhood sometime between 8 and 9:30 am on December 14. That gunfire initially was thought to be caused by hunters. That noise apparently was the shots fired by Lanza when he killed his mother.
The shooter’s second-floor bedroom there had its windows taped over with black trash bags. The windows in a second-floor computer room also were covered. Investigators found a computer hard drive there which was apparently intentionally damaged. To date, because of the extensive damage, forensic experts have not yet been able to recover any information from that hard drive.
If any information on that hard drive is recovered pertaining to any accessory to the crimes or to a conspiracy, the investigation will be reopened, according to Mr Sedensky.
Besides the many firearms at the Lanza home, investigators found knives, swords, spears and various other edged weapons.
Police list a variety of computer games which they found in a basement computer/gaming area, some of which are violent games.
Police also uncovered a spreadsheet that Lanza had created, listing information about various mass murders that had occurred over the years.
The various electronic information seized by police included videos showing suicide by gunshot; commercial movies depicting mass shootings; an amateur-level computer game called “School Shooting” in which a player controls a character who enters a school and shoots at students; images of the Lanza holding a handgun to his head and also holding a rifle to his head; a five-second video dramatization of children being shot; images of Lanza with a rifle, shotgun and ammunition in his pockets; many documents on mass murders; and information about firearms, among various other items.
The Sedensky report notes that Lanza apparently was fascinated by a computer game known as Dance, Dance Revolution, adding that he would travel to area movie theater lobby where he would play an arcade version of that dancing game for hours on end.
In the report, the prosecutor provides a long list of tips which were provided to investigators which turned out to be unsubstantiated.
On November 26, a New Britain Superior Court judge ruled that the recordings, which were made of the Emergency 911 telephone calls originating from Sandy Hook School on 12/14 alerting police of the shooting incident, must be made public by December 4.
That ruling upholds a September decision by the state Freedom of Information Commission stating that that the calls must be disclosed.
In a statement, Mr Sedensky said he is reviewing the judge’s decision and after that review is complete, he will determine what action he will take. Mr Sedensky has sought to prevent the 911 calls from being disclosed.