A state prosecutor’s report released Monday concludes that 20-year-old Adam Lanza acted alone in planning and executing his horrific attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School, but offers no answer to the one-word question that has plagued Connecticut and the nation since the murders of 20 children and six women at the Newtown school Dec. 14, 2012: Why?
“Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively, despite the collection of extensive background information on the shooter through a multitude of interviews and other sources,” wrote Stephen J. Sedensky III, the Danbury state’s attorney. “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.”
Police found fictional writing on Lanza’s computer that described being attacked by babies, as well as material on pedophilia, a screenplay about a relationship between a man and a 10-year-old boy, a game called “School Shooting” and stories about mass murder. The prosecutor offered no assessment of the material’s significance.
Sedensky took pains to debunk conspiracy theories about a second shooter, detailing how arriving police detained four others outside the school, including a parent, two reporters who were briefly held at gunpoint, and a fourth man who was handcuffed and questioned. DNA evidence indicated no weapon fired that day was handled by anyone other than Lanza, and rumors of Lanza sharing his plans with others on the Internet were unfounded, Sedensky said.
The long-awaited report officially closes the investigation of an attack that left 28 dead: 20 first-graders and six educators at the school; Lanza’s 52-year-old mother, Nancy, whom he shot at their home; and Lanza, who took his own life with a single shot to the head with a 10mm-Glock, one of two handguns and a semiautomatic rifle he carried inside the school with nearly 20 pounds of ammunition.
Sedensky describes the educators as heroic and the police response as cutting short what could have been even a more devastating assault, given Lanza’s firepower and ammunition. The principal and school psychologist died confronting Lanza in the school foyer, and the other four women died in their classrooms with the children they were trying to protect.
But the document also is bound to provoke second-guessing about the response of Newtown police, who waited five minutes to enter the school after arriving, though it appears the first officers were confronted by a chaotic scene outside the school, including a man seen running with an object in his hand. It turned out to be a parent with a cellphone.
Parents were arriving at the school for a holiday event as Lanza began shooting, and some adults and children were outside running as police arrived. Police radio transmissions showed that officers questioned if a second shooter was outside the school.
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| November 25, 2013