Story Summary

Connecticut School Massacre

A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The gunman was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Twenty-eight people, including 20 children, are said to be dead. There is also another crime scene, connected to the shooting, where the gunman’s mother was found dead.

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Sandy Hook school shooting memorial

A makeshift memorial lies along the main road to leading to Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. (Courtesy: CNN)

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (CNN)-

A final report released Friday on the investigation of the mass shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School offered snippets of information into the life of the reclusive and tormented young man who carried out the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

More than anything, the voluminous report — thousands of pages long — from the Connecticut State Police closes a final chapter on a massacre that triggered a national debate over gun violence, school safety and mental health.

In a heavily redacted page in the report, an unidentified witness told investigators 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza hated his mother, Nancy, and Sandy Hook Elementary School. She volunteered at the school from 1998 to 2012, including years when he attended it.

“Lanza apparently felt that his mother loved the students more than him,” the report said.

However, a prosecutor’s report released last month concluded that Lanza acted alone and took the motive for the bloodbath to his grave.

Mostly, Friday’s report offers slight glimpses into the Lanza household.

Nancy Lanza discussed her son’s “disabilities” with a friend the day before her son shot and killed 20 first-graders and six staff members at the Newtown school.

Lanza, 20, killed the children and staff with a semi-automatic on December 14, 2012. Earlier, he killed his mother inside their home. He committed suicide with a handgun as police arrived at the school.

One of the responding officers at the school found a group of students and a teacher hidden in a small bathroom blocked behind a bookshelf, Friday’s report said. The teacher did not initially believe police had arrived. An officer slid his badge under the door.

One of Lanza’s former teachers told investigators that during what were supposed to be brief creative-writing assignments, the young man produced long, disturbing passages.

“Adam would write ten pages, obsessing over battles, destruction and war,” the teacher said, according to the report. His work was “so graphic that it could not be shared.”

After the shooting, the items investigators removed from the Lanza home included a military-style uniform that was found in Adam Lanza’s room. There were books with titles such as “Look me in the eye: My life with Aspergers,” “Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Mind of an Autistic Savant,” and the “NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting.”

In text messages in Nancy Lanza’s phone records, the mother expressed concern for her son while texting with friends.

“I REALLY wish I could but I have so much to do and want to spend a little extra time with Adam before I go,” she wrote in one. “Also, lots of cooking to do because I like to leave him with all his favorites.”

In another, she writes, “I was off to a rough start. Poor Adam bumped his head (really badly) and we were dealing with blood at 5:30 in the morning : ) He is ok… It looked worse than it actually is.”

Earlier this month, a prosecutor’s report on the case said Lanza “had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others.”

“What contribution this made to the shootings, if any, is unknown as those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior,” the prosecutor’s report added.

In Friday’s report, police quoted an unidentified man who said he had dated Nancy Lanza in 2011 and remained friends with her. The man said she told him “she did not want to be in Connecticut the week of the shooting and was considering taking a trip to be sure she was out of town. This was thought to be some sort of foreshadowing of the incident,” the report said.

The London trip was canceled, he said, because of “a couple of last minute problems on the home front,” the report said. The unidentified man said he did not know what the problems were.

The man said “he knew Lanza to own weapons and that she invited him to go shooting because it was a good stress release.”

He told investigators that he visited her house only once and never met Adam. He said Nancy Lanza had retired from work because of her son’s Asperger’s syndrome. She wanted to be with her son, the man said.

Lanza had a strange relationship with his mother: They lived in the same house but communicated by e-mail, according to the prosecutor’s report last month. He refused to touch doorknobs and changed clothes several times a day. He loathed holidays and birthdays.

Lanza and his mother frequently went target shooting together. Friday’s report said “a stand alone metal gun safe was located in the closet” in the Lanza home. “The door of the safe was found open. The door and the lock did not appear damaged.”

Adam Lanza’s relationship with his father was equally strange. Peter Lanza told investigators that he would reach out to Adam via e-mail six to eight times a year, even though Adam stopped responding altogether sometime in 2010, the report said.

“Peter stated that when Adam was approximately 8-9 years old he told him that ‘he loved being a kid,'” said the report. “Peter also stated that Adam enjoyed his time at the Sandy Hook Elementary School when he was a student there.”

Peter Lanza said that when his son was 11 or 12 years old, his demeanor changed, and he became more stressed and frustrated. And the father said he did not have a lot of interaction with his son during the year preceding the shooting, with Peter Lanza feeling “his ex-wife Nancy was a contributing factor to Adam distancing himself from him.”

An unnamed man who said he spoke to Nancy Lanza in the days before the massacre told investigators that she was planning to sell her house and move to Washington state or North Carolina. In Washington, the report said, Adam was to attend a special school he wanted to go to. If they went to North Carolina, Adam was to work for a friend of Nancy Lanza who owned a computer technology business.

The report is available at: http://cspsandyhookreport.ct.gov/

(CNN) — The people of Newtown, Connecticut, on Saturday are remembering a tragedy that convulsed the nation one year ago.

A socially awkward young man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a rifle on December 14, 2012. Adam Lanza gunned down 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults at the school. Then he killed himself.

The people in this community of 28,000 in the southwest part of the state hope to grieve in private. Town leaders have asked the news media to stay away.

“There’s an emotional and economic toll that we pay when the media descends on us, so we ask for your forbearance after today and respectfully request that you allow us a time of peace and quiet,” said Pat Llodra, the town’s first selectman, a role similar to that of mayor.

In Washington, President Obama and the first lady observed a moment of silence and lit candles in honor of those lost in the massacre. Obama devoted his weekly address on Saturday to the one-year anniversary of the shooting.

“As parents, as Americans, the news filled us with grief,” Obama said in his address. “Newtown is a town like so many of our hometowns. The victims were educators and kids that could have been any of our own. And our hearts were broken for the families that lost a piece of their heart; for the communities changed forever; for the survivors, so young, whose innocence was torn away far too soon.”

Obama honored the “impossibly brave” Newtown parents “who stepped forward in the hopes that they might spare others their heartbreak. And they were joined by millions of Americans — mothers and fathers; sisters and brothers — who refused to accept these acts of violence as somehow inevitable.”

“Over the past year, their voices have sustained us. And their example has inspired us — to be better parents and better neighbors; to give our children everything they need to face the world without fear; to meet our responsibilities not just to our own families, but to our communities. More than the tragedy itself, that’s how Newtown will be remembered,” Obama said.

Many news organizations said they’ll honor that request by not reporting in the city of Newtown itself, but that was before Friday’s shooting at Arapahoe High in Colorado. The news value of Newtown has gone up. CNN will air a documentary about Newtown at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Nobody knows why Lanza, 20, killed the children and adults at the school, his mother at the home they shared, and himself. He had attended the school briefly, but that was years ago.

Last month, Connecticut’s state attorney’s office released its official report that tried to piece together what happened. The investigation provided some insights into the life and actions of the gunman, but his motive remains a mystery.

The report suggested that improving the delivery of mental health care to those with chronic mental illness may be an important element in reducing certain acts of violence, and that mass shooters are not “enthralled” with violent video games.

The unanswered questions deepen the tragedy of Newtown, the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, following the April 2007 slaying of 32 people at Virginia Tech.

The shootings also caused a renewal of the debate over gun control. Obama addressed that issue in his Saturday remarks.

“We haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer. We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for,” he said.

“As a nation, we can’t stop every act of violence. We can’t heal every troubled mind. But if we want to live in a country where we can go to work, send our kids to school, and walk our streets free from fear, we have to keep trying. We have to keep caring. We have to treat every child like they’re our child. Like those in Sandy Hook, we must choose love. And together, we must make a change.”

 

–by Ralph Ellis. The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Sandy Hook school shooting memorial

A makeshift memorial lies along the main road to leading to Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. (Courtesy: CNN)

(CNN) — The audio recordings of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will be released Wednesday afternoon, after a state attorney dropped his attempt to block the disclosure.

State Attorney Stephen Sedensky, whose office conducted an investigation into the shocking mass shooting, said Monday he was withdrawing an appeal of a decision by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission to release the calls.

Sedensky said he discussed his decision with attorneys for the Connecticut town and lawyers from the office of the chief state’s attorney.

The release of the recordings will be administered by the attorneys for the Town of Newtown, Sedensky said through a written statement.

Last week, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott upheld the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission’s ruling to release calls related to the December 2012 shooting.

The Associated Press had challenged authorities’ refusal to release the 911 tapes.

The calls are scheduled to be made public at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Sedensky’s office issued a 44-page report last week that concluded the shooter was a mentally ill recluse who never gave any indication that he was planning to kill people.

The massacre at Sandy Hook left 26 people dead, including 20 children, making it the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, shot himself at the end of his 11-minute rampage.

The killings in Newtown, about 60 miles outside New York, happened less than five months after a similar bloodbath at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, outside Denver.

Those mass slayings triggered a nationwide debate over gun violence, school safety and mental health, a debate that produced some new restrictions on firearms in several states.

A backlash against those laws by gun-rights advocates followed, and there was only limited action on a federal level after a Republican filibuster blocked expanded background checks for gun buyers.

 
– CNN’s Yon Pomrenze and Matt Smith contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Newtown Memorials

Photo Credit: Kelly Marshall Smoot/CNN

HARTFORD, Connecticut (CNN)-

Connecticut authorities closed the book on last December’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Monday without answering what drove the 20-year-old behind the rampage.

A 44-page summary of the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history outlines how gunman Adam Lanza killed his mother, then stormed the elementary school and killed himself as police arrived. But investigators haven’t determined a motive for the assault, which left 20 first-graders and six adults at the grade school dead in less than 11 minutes.

“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,” Monday’s report states.

Lanza “had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others,” the report states. But it adds, “What contribution this made to the shootings, if any, is unknown as those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.”

“With the issuance of this report, the investigation is closed,” it concludes.

Lanza had “an obsession” with mass murder and “a strong interest in firearms,” the report states. On his computer, investigators found a spreadsheet detailing mass murders over the years; two videos depicting gunshot suicides; two pictures of Lanza pointing guns at his own head; and movies and a video game depicting school shootings.

Another hard drive found in his home appeared to have been intentionally damaged, and investigators were unable to recover anything from the device. There were five guns in the home, four of which were found with Lanza and the fifth was used to kill his mother, Nancy Lanza.

The report is separate from a much longer evidence file that Connecticut State Police will release at an unspecified date. The family of Victoria Soto, a teacher who shielded her students before being shot to death, said the release is “yet another blow that our family has been dealt.”

A statement from the family said, “While others search for the answer as to why this happened, we search for the how. How can we live without Vicki? How do we celebrate Christmas without Vicki? How do we go on every day missing a piece of our family? Those are the questions we seek the answers for. There is nothing in the report that will answer those for us.”

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said the report’s release “will no doubt be difficult” for the relatives of those killed at Sandy Hook.

“But if there is one thing that I believe we must do, it’s that we must honor the lives that were lost by taking steps to protect ourselves from another horror like this,” Malloy said. “I hope that the information in this summary and in the supporting documents that will be released by the State Police takes us closer to that goal.”

Victims’ family members were informed of the report, said Mark Dupuis, a spokesman for Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky, whose office conducted the investigation.

Dupuis declined to provide details about when, where, and how the families were given the details of the report.

“We are sensitive to the needs of the families, and those needs are being addressed,” Dupuis said.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Newtown students start first new school year after shooting

Courtesy: CNN

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (CNN)-

The return to school after the summer break is an annual milestone in every child’s life. But as the school buses pulled up to take more than 5,000 children back to class in Newtown, Connecticut, Tuesday, it was far from an ordinary day.

The returning students were greeted not only by their teachers but also the presence of more armed guards — and with them a solemn reminder of the tragedy that struck their town last year.

Mark and Jackie Barden are among those for whom the back-to-school ritual will be hardest.

While their children Natalie, 11, and James, 13, are returning to class as they have each year, their youngest child, 7-year-old Daniel, is not.

He was one of 20 young children killed during the horrific shooting spree inside Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School last December. Six teachers were also killed by Adam Lanza, 20, who then took his own life.

“This will be our first time back to school without Daniel,” said his father, Mark.

The family’s pain is still raw — and it’s hard not to imagine how it would have been to see their boy going off to second grade. “It’s still day to day, and we have better days than others,” his mother said.

Sandy Hook Elementary is being torn down and its students will head Tuesday to Chalk Hill Elementary instead, the site to which they moved when classes resumed in January.

The heightened security they will find there will be replicated in schools across the district.

Armed security

The school board is doing everything it can to put families at ease in the wake of last year’s shooting and the recent gun scare in Georgia.

Steps taken include better locks on doors, real-time monitoring systems and more armed guards at every school.

“It’s not a normal back-to-school but we’re trying to put the resources in place to make it as normal as possible,” said Debbie Leidlein, who chairs the education board.

“Parents will definitely see armed security at each school and there will be additional guards at multiple schools.”

The number of guards present will depend on the size of the school and number of students, she added.

More safety measures are expected to be put in place in Newtown schools over the course of the school year, but officials did not go into detail.

It’s not just Newtown where the security of children and their educators is at the forefront of people’s minds.

School districts across the country are adding more security guards, particularly to their elementary schools.

At least three states have also passed laws recently allowing teachers to be able to carry handguns on campus.

For the Bardens, the daily struggle to carry on family life without Daniel continues.

What they’d like to see are positive changes in the way people act, such as showing more kindness to others, to try to prevent others suffering a similar loss.

“We have to try to do the good work that he was supposed to do here,” said Mark. “We’re gonna try our best to do it for him.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Local News
01/06/13

Local Pastor Travels to Newtown

CITRUS HEIGHTS–


Just seeing the words Sandy Hook Elementary and all the names of the victims brings an instant sadness to all of our hearts.

A pastor captured video from his trip. In it, you see victims names being erected on a fence. In Newtown, Connecticut the 26 victims are being remembered never to be forgotten.

“We found the community in shock, the people were hurting,” says Senior Pastor Rhodes Pringle of Antelope Road Christian Fellowship.

The Citrus Heights pastor took up an offering and donations traveling to Newtown to give the people there hope, faith, and love.

“I didn’t go there as a pastor, I didn’t tell one person I was a pastor.”

Pastor Pringle says he will never forget where he was the day he learned there was a mass shooting inside an elementary school.

“I couldn’t believe it. How could this happen?”

The church congregation says they were in shock too and a sense of fear overwhelmed them.

“My first instinct was to make sure my kids were safe and protected,” says Leslie Smith.

Gunfire erupted inside a school; a place considered safe, innocent, and sacred. Pastor Pringle says he believes the healing process will begin and he learned the most important lesson during his visit to Newtown.

“I remember a sign that was being passed around in all the stores. It read, we are Sandy Hook and we choose love. I was affected by that … and yet beyond that we serve a loving a God.”

Newtown Memorials

Photo Credit: Kelly Marshall Smoot/CNN

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CNN)-

For the first time since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Christine Wilford plans do something remarkable on Thursday that once was routine: drop her child off at school.

The last time her 7-year-old son, Richie, was in class was on December 14, when a gunman smashed his way into his school in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 children and six adults.

As shots rang out, Richie’s teacher locked the door and huddled her students into the corner as the shooter roamed the hallways, wielding an AR-15 assault rifle and firing.

When it appeared safe, the children were then hurried away to a nearby fire station, where teary parents either reunited with their sons and daughters or learned that they had been killed.

Nearly a month later, Wilford said her son still has trouble sleeping and is often scared by loud noises.

But on Thursday, he will join hundreds of other Newtown students returning to class for the first time since the tragedy.

“We think it’s good he’s going back,” Wilford said. “If I leave my child anywhere, I’m leaving a piece of my heart, so it’s difficult to leave him.”

But Richie apparently isn’t afraid and says he’s looking forward to seeing his friends, she said.

They won’t be attending Sandy Hook Elementary, which police say remains part of an ongoing investigation into Adam Lanza, the gunman who also killed his mother before opening fire at the school.

Instead, Richie and his classmates are expected to travel to Chalk Hill Middle School in the nearby town of Monroe, where a green-and-white banner greeting the children hangs on a fence.

Newtown Public Schools Superintendent Janet Robinson said that part of the building had been transformed to resemble an elementary school.

“(We want) to have as much (of) a normal routine as possible,” she said. “Tomorrow is a regular schedule, and we will do the kinds of things that we know are good for kids.”

The school has also been outfitted with rugs and furniture similar to those at Sandy Hook to help ease the transition for students. Even the school’s pet turtle was relocated, Robinson said.

Security measures have also been increased, with a new system incorporating more cameras and locks, according to Jim Agostine, superintendent of Monroe Public Schools.

“I think right now it has to be the safest school in America,” added Monroe Police Lieutenant Keith White.

By Olivia Smith and David Ariosto

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-WIRE(9473)
™ & ©2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Donations for Newtown

Courtesy: Hartford Courant / LA Times

NEW YORK (LA Times) -

Authorities say a New York woman has been arrested for allegedly claiming to be related to a shooting victim at Sandy Hook Elementary School and soliciting donations for the child’s funeral.

Nouel Alba, 37, was charged in federal court on Thursday with lying to FBI agents investigating fraudulent fundraising tied to the Newtown, Conn., massacre in which Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the school before shooting himself in the head.

Read more at latimes.com

Crosses

Michelle and her son have set up a memorial for the shooting victims in Connecticut instead of Christmas lights

SACRAMENTO-

As darkness falls and the lights turn on, you can tell this is not your ordinary Christmas display.

“I couldn’t really get in the mood for putting up Christmas lights,” said Michelle Beltran.

Instead, Beltran and her 6-year-old son, Jessie, set up 26 crosses to remember the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

“To let them know that we are thinking about them. This is not the happiest holiday season,” said Beltran.

Her son Jessie added, “We wanted to do something to show that we missed them.”

Michelle is using the memorial as a way to teach her son about the tragedy.

“I told him, you know every one of them (the crosses) is a person,” said Beltran

And why in the shape of a heart? “A heart because, it’s to tell the other people who see that, that God loves them,” said Jessie.

“It made me feel happy and sad (to put up the crosses) because we did something. The sad part is because they are dead,” said Jessie.

The string of lights comes off the crosses and leads up a tree, representing one thing, the victims are now in a better place.

Jessie may be too young to fully understand what happened in Connecticut. But he does know one thing.

“I hope we get a plan to get away from these bad people.”

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