December 28, 2013

Police file on Newtown shooting released

The state police report totals several thousand pages and includes text, photos and 911 calls that detail a tragedy but also reveal heroism and moments of grace on the part of educators first responders.

By John Christoffersen
The Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Connecticut police released thousands of pages Friday from their investigation into the Newtown massacre, providing the most detailed and disturbing picture yet of the rampage and Adam Lanza’s fascination with murder, while also depicting school employees’ brave and clear-headed attempts to protect the children.

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This Dec. 16, 2012 photo released by the Connecticut State Police shows what the evidence report describes as "books seized from second floor bedroom" in the house where Adam Lanza lived with his mother in Newtown, Conn. The photo was released as part of the evidence gathered by police during their investigation after Adam Lanza gunned down 20 first-graders and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police)

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This photo released by Connecticut State Police on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 shows an aerial view of the home where Adam Lanza lived with his mother in Newtown, Conn. Lanza gunned down 20 first-graders and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, after killing his mother inside their home. Lanza committed suicide with a handgun as police arrived at the school. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police)

Additional Photos Below

Included in the file were photographs of the home the 20-year-old Lanza shared with his mother. They show numerous rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot-up paper targets, gun cases, shooting earplugs and a gun safe with a rifle in it.

A former teacher of Lanza’s was quoted as telling investigators that Lanza exhibited anti-social behavior, rarely interacted with other students and obsessed in writings “about battles, destruction and war.”

“In all my years of experience, I have known (redacted) grade boys to talk about things like this, but Adam’s level of violence was disturbing,” the teacher told investigators. The teacher added: “Adam’s creative writing was so graphic that it could not be shared.”

The documents’ release marks the end of the investigation into the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.

Lanza went to the school after killing his mother, Nancy, inside their home. He committed suicide with a handgun as police arrived at the school.

The documents also fill in more details about how the shooting unfolded and how staff members looked out for the youngsters.

Teachers heard janitor Rick Thorne try to get Lanza to leave the school. One teacher, who was hiding in a closet in the math lab, heard Thorne yell, “Put the gun down!” An aide said she heard gunfire and Thorne told her to close her door. Thorne survived.

Teacher Kaitlin Roig told police she heard “rapid-fire shooting” outside of the school, near her classroom. She rushed her students into the classroom’s bathroom, pulled a rolling storage unit in front of the bathroom door as a barricade and then closed and locked the door.

She heard a voice say, “Oh, please, no. Please, no.” Eventually, police officers slid their badges under the bathroom door. Roig refused to come out and told them that if they were truly police, they should be able to get the key to the door – which they did.

Others weren’t so lucky.

Police Lt. Christopher Vanghele said he and another officer found what appeared to be about 15 bodies, mostly children, packed in another bathroom “like sardines.” So many people had tried to cram inside the bathroom that the door couldn’t be closed, and the shooter gunned them all down, Vanghele surmised.

The paperwork, photos and videos were heavily blacked out to protect the names of children and to withhold some of the more grisly details of the crime.

In a letter accompanying the files, Reuben F. Bradford, commissioner of the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, wrote that much of the report was disturbing but that it also showed teachers trying to protect their children, law enforcement officials putting themselves in harm’s way, and dispatchers working calmly and efficiently.

“In the midst of the darkness of that day, we also saw remarkable heroism and glimpses of grace,” he wrote.

In the documents, a friend told police that Nancy Lanza reported that her son had hit his head several days before the shootings. And an ex-boyfriend told police that she canceled a trip to London on the week of the shooting because of “a couple last-minute problems on the home front.”

Peter Lanza, who was estranged from his son, told police that Adam had Asperger’s syndrome – a type of autism that is not associated with violence – and exhibited symptoms of being “slightly OCD,” meaning obsessive compulsive disorder.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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FILE - This undated identification file photo provided Wednesday, April 3, 2013, by Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn., shows former student Adam Lanza, who authorities said opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, killing 26 students and educators. State police said their report from the investigation into last year's Newtown school massacre will be released at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Western Connecticut State University, File)

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FOUND IN LANZA HOME: n Books seized from a second-floor bedroom, right n A live .22-caliber bullet on the floor of the computer room, below n A “Volunteer Thank You Card” for Mrs. Lanza with a pamphlet for a 5th grade “Stepping Up Ceremony” dated June 10, 1999, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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This Dec. 16, 2012 photo released by the Connecticut State Police shows what the evidence report describes as a "Volunteer Thank You Card" for Mrs. Lanza with a pamphlet for a 5th grade "Stepping Up Ceremony" dated June 10, 1999 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, found in the house where Adam Lanza lived with his mother in Newtown, Conn. The photo was released as part of the evidence gathered by police during their investigation after Adam Lanza gunned down 20 first-graders and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police)

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This photo released by the Connecticut State Police on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, from a document titled "Sec 8 - Autopsy," shows evidence pertaining to the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Adam Lanza gunned down 20 first-graders and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle at the school after killing his mother inside their home. Lanza committed suicide with a handgun as police arrived at the school. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police)

  


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