Days before the sixth anniversary of the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, a Connecticut newspaper has obtained writings that show the loneliness and depravity of the man responsible.
Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Dec. 14, 2012, using a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle to gun down 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six educators, including the school’s principal and and teachers who used their own bodies to shield students from the barrage of bullets. Lanza, who then killed himself, had also gunned down his mother, shooting Nancy Lanza four times in the head before leaving their home for the school.
Lanza was armed with the assault rifle and multiple handguns when he gained entrance to the locked school by shooting out a plate glass window next to the front doors.
The Hartford Courant obtained more than 1,000 pages of documents from the Connecticut State Police about Lanza and the shooting, including Lanza’s own writings and a spreadsheet in which he cataloged 400 murderers who unleashed mass violence on the world. The Courant spent five years seeking the documents, ultimately winning access through the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Part of what was documented by the files was Lanza’s extreme scorn for those around him.
“I incessantly have nothing other than scorn for humanity,” Lanza wrote in what the Courant said appeared to be an online communication with a fellow video game enthusiast. “I have been desperate to feel anything positive for someone for my entire life.”
His hatred began with his parents, who, according to a psychiatrist’s evaluation written about six years before the massacre, Lanza said got separated because “they were irritating to each other as they are to him.” Lanza was also irritated by his brother Ryan Lanza, the Courant reported.
Dr. Robert King, who in 2006 evaluated a 14-year-old Adam Lanza at the Yale Child Study Center, also noted Lanza’s scorn for those outside his family. He stopped playing saxophone in the school band because the students “all played badly. No one practiced. No one paid attention,” the newspaper said.
King found that, while Lanza was a “careful reader,” he had “no grasp of empathy for characters’ motives, feelings or perspectives,” the documents said.
Lanza, whose autopsy found he was malnourished and emaciated, also disliked “fat people,” according to the files. He was 6 feet tall and weighed just 112 pounds when he walked into Sandy Hook Elementary and began shooting.
Dr. Harold Schwartz, former director of psychiatry at Hartford HealthCare and a former member of the Sandy Hook Commission, told the newspaper that Lanza, who may have had anorexia, could have suffered brain damage from starvation.
Lanza, who as a child had been diagnosed with a sensory disorder and speech delays, was good with math, computers, science and languages, the Courant reported. Many people -- his parents, teachers, counselors and psychiatrists -- all struggled to understand the boy, who by 14 was already becoming a “homebound recluse.”
None fully suspected what he would become.
The isolation from his peers began as early as age 3, the Courant’s review of the documents found.
“Adam’s parents said Adam’s speech attempts were not easily understood, and that Adam became quickly frustrated when others asked him to repeat himself,” a February 1995 speech evaluation of the not-yet-3-year-old read. “Recently Adam reportedly began hitting, spitting and crying when he could not make his needs known.”
When he could not be understood, he simply said the same thing louder, the report said, according to the newspaper. He would not try to supplement his speech with facial expressions or gestures to help others understand him better.
One of the diagnoses Lanza would receive in his lifetime was autism spectrum disorder. His mother told people her son has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism.
As he got older, he apparently suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder and a phobia of germs. He also used black trash bags to black out the windows of his bedroom, where he would spend hours playing video games and would sometimes speak to his mother only via email.
Nancy Lanza told specialists that she was worried about her young son because he had stopped trying to speak in groups due to the speech delays, the Courant reported. Young Adam Lanza became increasingly dependent on his mother after his parents separated when he was 9 years old, the newspaper said.
The worried mother seemed to understand that her son’s condition would only get worse without the proper interventions.
“One on one he is extraordinary. In a classroom setting he is performing well below age level,” she wrote in a document obtained by the Courant. “Other children will tease him and undermine his confidence. He will learn to talk less, not more. Already some children are saying he’s weird when they don’t understand him.
“At this point he thinks it’s funny when they say that. As he gets older, he will realize that it isn’t.”
Along with his isolation, his sensory issues became worse as he grew older, the documents showed. He was more sensitive to sound, light, textures and movement. He turned away from classmates and set up rules for himself that served to further isolate him.
“Relationships have absolutely no physical aspect to me; all that matters is communication,” Lanza wrote to a chat room acquaintance in a document obtained by the Courant.
A list titled “Problems” laid out some of the obsessions and compulsions ruling his existence. The list included lights that were too bright, too many dirty dishes in the sink and a lack of tissues in the pantry.
“You were in the room while I was in the kitchen,” one entry stated. “My arms kept touching things,” said another.
“My hair touched Ryan’s towel in the morning,” the list said.
“I am unable to distinguish between my problems because I have too many,” Adam Lanza wrote, according to the Courant.
In another, undated document, Lanza lamented examinations by doctors, likening the touching that goes on during a physical exam to rape.
“I was molested at least a dozen times by a few different adults when I was a child. It wasn't my decision at all: I was coerced into it,” Lanza wrote, according to the Courant. “They felt me all over my body, and it usually culminated in the fondling of my penis. What do each of the adults have in common? They were doctors, and each of them were sanctioned by my parents to do it.
“This happens to virtually every child without their input into the matter: Their parents sanction it.”
One of the most enlightening -- and damning -- documents the newspaper received was the 2006 report by King at Yale. King described the teen as “a pale, gaunt, awkward young adolescent standing rigidly with downcast gaze and declining to shake hands,” the Courant reported.
“Adam has a variety of rigid, controlling and avoidant behaviors, which have been loosely described as OCD, but seem to have several facets,” King wrote in the report obtained by the Courant.
Aside from the indignities he cited in his handwritten list, Lanza’s OCD tendencies also included a dislike of asymmetric objects, as well as if his mother served food on the wrong plate. He refused to share towels and objected if his mother folded clothes in his bedroom, because other people’s clothes might touch his floor.
Lanza also objected to the volume at which his mother spoke on the phone, grew upset if she leaned on something or brushed by his chair and was appalled by the smell of her cooking, the Courant said. He often refused to eat his mother’s food because of the texture.
When King asked if there were other children Lanza liked spending time with, the teen asked how that was significant. The psychiatrist asked Lanza to define the term “friend,” the newspaper said.
“It is difficult to define,” Lanza responded. “In whose culture do you refer?”
King asked Lanza what he would wish for if he were given three wishes.
“I would wish that whatever was granting the wishes would not exist,” he responded.
Despite his isolation, Lanza appeared to long for a connection with others.
“I am capable of boundless affection,” he wrote in communication with a gamer online. “I had never been in a situation to feel that way before, so I thought that it was special… I took my focus away from myself and directed it toward you.”
He also expressed his yearning for love in the notes for a play he was writing -- about pedophilia. The Courant reported that it was not clear if anyone besides Lanza had seen the document prior to the mass shooting.
In an outline for a screenplay, Lanza wrote that it would show the “beauty in the romantic relationship between a 10-year-old boy and a 30-year-old man.”
“No, it’s not at all pornographic,” Lanza wrote, according to the newspaper. “And it is not satirical. Nor metaphorical. Take it for what it is.”
The gunman also had a fascination with murder from an early age. The Courant reported that he and another boy wrote a book, “Big Book of Granny,” in the fifth grade, a story with references to violence against children.
One chapter of the 52-page book has a character entering a day care and telling Granny, “Let’s hurt children,” the newspaper said.
Lanza’s penchant for violence continued into his later years with his spreadsheet of mass murderers, which included killers worldwide between 1786 and 2010. Former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole, who reviewed the document for the Courant, said it contained a lot of information that would not have been easy to come by.
“He’s not doing this for a term paper,” O’Toole said. “This took a lot of work and a lot of effort, and so what are the other possible reasons he could be doing this?
“He’s interested in mass shootings. Now did he use this research to develop his own plan and his own strategy? It’s certainly possible.”
Schwartz told the Courant that Lanza’s anger, fascination with murder, obsessions and isolation were building blocks that helped lead to the massacre.
A fifth factor -- his lack of empathy and social connections -- had to be present for Lanza to become deadly, Schwartz told the newspaper.
“In this mental state, known as solipsism, only the solipsist is real,” Schwartz said. “Everyone else in the world is a cardboard cutout, placed there for your benefit and otherwise devoid of meaning or value. It is the most extreme end of one form of malignant narcissism.
“If the victims have no value than there is nothing to constrain you from shooting them,” he said.
Officials said during the short appearance, the judge revoked 34-year-old Michael Ray McLellan's bond and said he could face the death penalty in the case.According to officials, McLellan is due in court again later in the day regarding a different criminal case he faces.
After following more than 850 leads and conducting nearly 500 interviews, the FBI and the Lumberton police arrested and charged McLellan in connection with Aguilar's abduction and death.Agents announced early Saturday morning that McLellan had been charged and was being held at the time of his arrest in law enforcement custody on charges unrelated to Aguilar's case.
A California man is accused of catching 19 trout he planned to let die on the grass before tossing them back into a Sacramento pond, KCRA reported.
Igor Gasur, who has a lifetime fishing license ban, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of poaching, probation violation and various Fish and Wildlife violations, according to the Fulton El Camino Park Police Department.
"Just for clarification, he wasn't catching to keep or eat. Per his own statement, he was catching them, letting them die in the grass and planned to throw the dead fish back in the pond," KCRA reported, citing a statement from park police.
Gasur was spotted by authorities fishing at the Howe Park Community Pond after hours, the television station reported. Authorities said they found the fish in his possession.
Gasur is on probation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, KCRA reported. He is barred from owning or possessing fishing equipment, authorities said.
Police arrested the owner of a liquor store in Memphis, Tennessee, after he had too much to drink, according to court records.
According to the arrest affidavit, Richard Coda, who is the owner of Coda’s Liquor, was drunk and irate inside his business on Dec. 9.
When officers with the Memphis Police Department arrived, they found him behind the counter. Officers said he was shirtless, had slurred speech and could barely stand on his feet. They could also smell alcohol on his breath.
While inside, officers said they saw multiple broken bottles.
For Coda’s safety, police took him to the Memphis Mental Health Institute to detox, however, he was so irate that a nurse refused to treat him, according to the affidavit.
Coda was booked into jail and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct.
A 15-year-old Pennsylvania boy was killed in New Castle after a gun in the hand of a 19-year-old discharged, according to police.
Police were dispatched to the 400 block of Liberty Street around 1:36 a.m. Saturday for an unresponsive male.
When they arrived, officers saw Zach Mulford, 15, lying on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound. A friend of Mulford was still on scene and attempted CPR, but Mulford died from his injuries.
Police said Mulford and his friend went to a residence to hang out with other friends. When they knocked on the door, 19-year-old Kyle Harris opened the door holding a gun.
When Harris realized who was knocking, he lowered his gun and let them both in, police said. As Harris removed the magazine from the gun and began to clear the chamber, the weapon discharged and a bullet struck Mulford.
Harris fled before officers arrived. Police said he subsequently turned himself in and provided a matching statement to a witness at the scene.
He also showed officers where the gun was. Police said it was stolen.
Harris is being charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and receiving stolen property.
Mulford's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.
Zach’s mother, Stacy Mulford, held back tears as she spoke about him with Channel 11, saying she just wanted people to know that Zach was a good kid.
“He’d get so excited and he’d just be so happy because he was getting to do something with his hands and build it. He just loved it,” she said. “This is hard. He had his future planned out and now he doesn’t have his future anymore.”
The man accused of killing a former beauty queen and teacher in south Georgia in 2005 confessed to investigators in 2017, according to newly leaked documents.
Duke is accused of killing Tara Grinstead, who vanished from her home in Ocilla in 2005. Her body has never been recovered. Duke was not arrested until 2017.
Thomas worked for two days to confirm with sources familiar with the investigation that the 11-page summary of the confession, which was written by a GBI agent, is legitimate.
Before Duke appeared in court for the first time last year, GBI agents said he spent nearly four hours confessing.
In the documents, an agent wrote that Duke told investigators he was looking for drug money when he broke into a random house and tried to steal Grinstead's purse and keys. When she caught him in the act, he punched her, which led to her death, Duke reportedly said.
"I was involved with it, man," Duke apparently told investigators. "I was alone that night. I killed her."
In the confession documents, Duke told investigators he had been bothered for years by what he did.
In the documents, he is quoted as saying, "I was a coward or I would have told this a long time ago. I am ashamed of my behavior and hiding a lie."
Duke said he called Grinstead's home from a pay phone hours after the attack to see if she would answer. Agents wrote in the report they had known for years about a phone call from that phone.
"The fact that Duke knew about the telephone call was knowledge only known by the GBI and guilty persons," agents wrote.
After he called and she didn't answer, Duke said he went back to the house and removed her body.
He claimed he came back to the home a few hours later, wrapped Grinstead's body in a blanket and placed it in the back of a truck that belonged to his friend, Bo Dukes. He said he then took the body to a pecan orchard and dumped it.
Later, Duke said he and Dukes came back, moved Grinstead's body deeper into the woods and burned it.
"The burning of Grinstead's body took several days, and they returned to the burn pile only once to re-burn the body and throw trash into the burn pile," agents said Duke told them.
"I know I'm going to prison," Duke also apparently said.
At the end of the confession, agents wrote that Duke expressed remorse.
"I'm sorry for the pain I've caused. I took her life. She didn't deserve that," Duke apparently said.
It's unclear who leaked the report on the internet. Two sources connected with the case told Thomas the documents appear to be copies of those in the GBI case file given to prosecutors and the defense team.
Investigators are still searching for Grinstead's remains.
All lanes on Interstate 85 in Newnan, Georgia, are back open after deputies with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office took two shooting suspects into custody.
A Coweta County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson confirmed to WSB that a suspect fired shots at officers following a high-speed chase.
The Newnan Times-Herald reported that, according to Capt. John Kennedy with the Sheriff’s Office, police saw a car thought to be a part of car burglaries on I-85 in the city limits of Newnan, Georgia. A chase ensued when officers attempted to pull the car over.
A viewer sent WSB cellphone video of deputies taking one of the suspects into custody. Deputies could be seen in the video searching for the other suspect, who was suspected of having a rifle when he fled on foot, Kennedy said. The suspect jumped a barrier and shot at deputies before running into the woods.
Sheriff Mike Yeager told The Newnan Times-Herald that the suspect was later found in a shed in a community airstrip along the interstate.
“It was a good track and we were able to locate him and the weapon he used,” Sheriff Mike Yeager told the newspaper. “No one was hurt and everyone is in custody. It was a great example of working together with other agencies like Newnan Police, Fairburn Police along with Georgia State Patrol.”
Update 5:36 p.m. EDT Dec. 10: A prison van that a Mississippi inmate used to escape was found Monday, but Todd C. Moudy remains at large, WAPT reported.
Heath Hall, the public information officer with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, released that the van had been found, but did not say where it was located, WLBT reported.
Original report: A Mississippi inmate stole a prison van while handcuffed and shackled Friday morning, pausing to honk at his startled fiancee as he drove by, WAPT reported.
Todd C. Moudy, 46, commandeered the white Madison County Sheriff’s Office van, which is used to transport prisoners, about 11:05 a.m. Friday, the television station reported.
Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said Moudy was being transferred back to jail after a felony bond hearing, WLBT reported. His bond was revoked, and Moudy said he did not want to go back to jail, Tucker said.
“The officer had multiple inmates in his custody at that time. One of the inmates was able to commandeer the van as the other inmates were taken into the jail. The inmate was shackled, handcuffed and had belly chains, what have you,” Tucker told WAPT. "The van door was open. He was able to jump into the driver's seat of the van, which was running."
According to Tucker, the van did have a weapon inside a lock box, but officials said they were not sure if Moudy had gained access to it, WLBT reported.
While authorities continue to search for Moudy, Tucker said he believed the escaped prisoner was still in the area.
"He's a hometown boy. He's from here. He doesn't really have anywhere else to go," Tucker told WAPT. "Not to say he can't wind up anywhere in the country, but we feel like he's going to stay close to home."
A New Jersey sheriff’s officer is accused of conspiring with a Home Depot employee to steal more than $5,000 in home remodeling materials from the store, the Bridgewater Courier News reported.
Jose Beltran, 30 of Elizabeth, and Polly Linton, 23, of Linden, are each charged with third-degree theft and third-degree conspiracy to commit theft, NJ.com reported, citing a statement from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.
Investigators found that on at least three occasions in August and September, Beltran went to the Home Depot in Linden when he was off-duty from his job as a Union County sheriff’s officer and brought approximately $5,156 in merchandise to Linton, who was a cashier at the store, the Courier News reported.
Investigators said the two then used “various fraud tactics” to allow Beltranto leave the store without paying for the goods, NJ.com reported.
Beltran is suspended without pay from his $59,398 a year job, a Union County spokesman told NJ.com.
A 13-year-old boy with autism who school officials allege became violent died last week after he was restrained by a teacher.
The El Dorado Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Nov. 28 incident at Guiding Hands School, an inclusive private K-12 school in El Dorado Hills. A news release from the Sheriff’s Office said the boy, who was 6 feet tall and weighed about 280 pounds, was being restrained for the safety of staff members and other students when he became unresponsive.
“A teacher began CPR until medical aid arrived,” the news release said. “The student was transported to Mercy Folsom in critical condition and later to UC Davis (Medical Center).”
He died two days later.
“At this time, there appears to be no evidence of foul play or criminal intent,” investigators said in the release.
Detectives are conducting a full investigation of what happened, officials said.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the California Department of Education has suspended the school’s certification while it conducts its own investigation. The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is also looking into what happened.
The Bee reported that a source familiar with the incident said a teacher placed the boy in what is called a “prone restraint,” a restraint move that immobilizes a person in a face-down position. The boy was held in that position for about an hour before he became unresponsive, the newspaper said.
A lawyer with Disability Rights California told the Bee that the restraint position is legal in California, under some circumstances, but risky.
“(Restraints) can cause trauma and death and, more importantly, there are better ways to respond to behavior, particularly disability behavior,” attorney Candis Bowles told the newspaper. “It’s not inconsistent that they used an approved restraint technique and this happened, but it might not have been implemented correctly and, obviously it wasn’t, because he died.”
A 2002 study on prone restraint by the advocacy group found that the prone restraint was potentially lethal because, even when done correctly, it puts a person at risk of asphyxiation. A 2007 report on restraint in California schools had similar findings.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Principe told the Bee the agency’s investigation into the teacher’s actions is not considered a criminal matter.
The suspension of the school’s certification means it cannot accept new students until the matter is resolved, a Department of Education spokesman said.
“In the meantime, the department is continuing its investigation to see if further action is necessary,” Bill Ainsworth told the Bee.
The school issued a written statement through public relations firm Runyon Saltzman.
“It is with heavy hearts that we share the very difficult news that a beloved member of our school community has passed away,” the statement read. “Out of respect for the family, and the ongoing investigation, we are unable to share full details at this time.”
“Our small class size and 1:5 staff to student ratio mean our students will always be our primary focus,” the website reads.
The Bee reported that the school was previously sued by the mother of another teenage student who was restrained multiple times during the 2002-2003 school year. In 2004, Deborah Lamerson sued the school, which at the time had a contract to handle services for special needs students in the Sacramento school district.
The lawsuit stated that in one incident, school staff members restrained Lamerson’s daughter, Tracee, after the girl, who has developmental delays caused by Williams syndrome, became agitated because she was not allowed to call her mother after a fall on the bus to school that morning. Tracee Lamerson’s arm was broken in the fall.
The girl, then about 13 years old, was placed in a four-point restraint move and, while being held down, vomited. The Bee reported that the lawsuit claims she was forced to clean up the mess.
“I was so afraid to go back,” Tracee Lamerson, now 29, told the newspaper Thursday. “I don’t like that they are still open and that they can restrain anyone.”
It was not immediately clear if the Lamersons’ lawsuit has been resolved. The Bee reported that Guiding Hands is no longer affiliated with Sacramento’s schools.
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