SEARCH

Entries in Adam Lanza (8)

Monday
Dec312012

Newtown School Shooter Adam Lanza's Body Claimed

ABC News(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- The body of Adam Lanza, who carried out the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, has been claimed but the whereabouts of the corpse remains unknown.

The body was claimed by Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, according to a family spokesperson.

Adam Lanza, 20, killed himself after he shot his mother and then slaughtered 20 first graders and six school staffers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 in one of the worst school shootings in American history.

The funeral home wants to remain anonymous and geneticists at the University of Connecticut have agreed to a request from the state medical examiner to study his DNA.  But like many of the mass murderers before Adam Lanza, what happens to his body will likely be unknown.

James Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University and a mass shooting expert said in these types of cases "the grave is not marked because the family is afraid the grave will be defaced."

"When there is a funeral for the perpetrator it is private," Fox said.  "Press is not kept apprised of when it is or where it is for the same reason."

Fox said it's often also because the "families don't want the attention."

"Families are often blamed," Fox said.  "If they didn't have a role in creating the dysfunction, people feel they should have seen something and intervened.  It's not fair to blame them.  They are not to blame, but it's the truth."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec272012

Newtown Shooter's DNA to Be Studied by Geneticists

Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Geneticists have been asked to study the DNA of Adam Lanza, the Connecticut man whose shooting rampage killed 27 people, including an entire first grade class.

The study, which experts believe may be the first of its kind, is expected to be looking for abnormalities or mutations in Lanza's DNA.

Connecticut Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver has reached out to University of Connecticut's geneticists to conduct the study.

University of Connecticut spokesperson Tom Green says Carver "has asked for help from our department of genetics" and they are "willing to give any assistance they can."

Green said he could not provide details on the project, but said it has not begun and they are "standing by waiting to assist in any way we can."

Lanza, 20, carried out the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., just days before Christmas.  His motives for the slaughter remain a mystery.

Geneticists not directly involved in the study said they are likely looking at Lanza's DNA to detect a mutation or abnormality that could increase the risk of aggressive or violent behavior.  They could analyze Lanza's entire genome in great detail and try to find unexpected mutations.

This seems to be the first time a study of this nature has been conducted, but it raises concerns in some geneticists and others in the field that there could be a stigma attached to people with these genetic characteristics if they are able to be narrowed down.

Arthur Beaudet, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, said the University of Connecticut geneticists are most likely trying to "detect clear abnormalities of what we would call a mutation in a gene…or gene abnormalities and there are some abnormalities that are related to aggressive behavior."

"They might look for mutations that might be associated with mental illnesses and ones that might also increase the risk for violence," said Beaudet, who is also the chairman of Baylor College of Medicine's department of molecular and human genetics.

He believes geneticists should be doing this type of research because there are "some mutations that are known to be associated with at least aggressive behavior if not violent behavior."

"I don't think any one of these mutations would explain all of [the mass shooters], but some of them would have mutations that might be causing both schizophrenia and related schizophrenia violent behavior," he said.  "I think we could learn more about it and we should learn more about it."

Beaudet noted that studying the genes of murderers is controversial because there is a risk that those with similar genetic characteristics could possibly be discriminated against or stigmatized, but he still thinks the research would be helpful even if only a "fraction" may have the abnormality or mutation.

"Not all of these people will have identifiable genetic abnormalities," he said, adding that even if a genetic abnormality is found it may not be related to a "specific risk."

"By studying genetic abnormalities we can learn more about conditions better and who is at risk and what might be dramatic treatments," Beaudet said, adding that if the gene abnormality is defined, the "treatment to stop" other mass shootings or "decrease the risk is much approved."

Others in the field aren't so sure.

Dr. Harold Bursztajn, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is a leader in his field on this issue, writing extensively on genetic discrimination.  He questions what the University of Connecticut researchers could "even be looking for at this point."

"Given how wide the net would have to be cast and given the problem of false positives in testing it is much more likely we would go ahead and find some misleading genetic markers, which would later be proven false while unnecessarily stigmatizing a very large group of people," Bursztajn said.

Bursztajn also cautions there are other risks to this kind of study: that other warning signs could be ignored.

"It's too risky from the stand point of unduly stigmatizing people, but also from distracting us from real red flags to prevent violence from occurring," Bursztajn said.  "The last thing we need when people are in the midst of grief is offering people quick fixes which may help our anxiety, but can be counterproductive to our long-term safety and ethics."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec172012

Connecticut School Shooting: The Gunman Who Knew No Pain

Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The young man who killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school last Friday suffered from a condition where he could literally feel no pain, according to a faculty member at his old high school.

Richard Novia, the advisor for the tech club at Newton High, said that if Adam Lanza cut or hurt himself, "he would not know it or feel it."

Novia's words are the latest from a series of former acquaintances of Lanza's to paint him as bright but obviously troubled.

"Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were five years old," wrote neighbor and former classmate Timothy Dalton on Twitter.  "As horrible as this was, I can't say I am surprised."

"[Adam] was not connected with the other kids," said family friend Barbara Frey.  A relative told ABC News that Lanza was "obviously not well."

Mark Tambascio, another family friend, said he believed Lanza's mother, Nancy, had become increasingly concerned in the last few months about Lanza's emotional and behavioral issues.  Lanza's parents divorced three years ago and his mother was left to deal with Lanza alone.

"It was getting a little harder for her as time went on," he said.

Kyle Kromberg, another former classmate, said that Lanza could not keep eye contact with anyone.

"He hated looking at your eyes for more than a couple seconds," Kromberg said.  "He'd always look down at his papers or whatever he was doing."

On Friday morning, Lanza shot Nancy in the face at the home they shared in Newtown, Conn., and then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Dressed in black combat gear, the 20-year-old broke a window at the school, which had recently had a new security system installed, and within minutes had shot and killed six adults and 20 schoolchildren between the ages of 6 and 7.

Police said Lanza used a Bushmaster semiautomatic assault-style rifle to kill the children before using a handgun to take his own life.  Officials said the guns were legally purchased by Nancy.

Officials told ABC News that computers removed from Lanza's family home over the weekend provide important clues into Lanza's thinking.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec172012

Connecticut School Shooter and Mother Visited Gun Ranges

Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who killed 20 children and six adults in a rampage at a Connecticut elementary school, and his mother both spent time at an area gun range, ABC News has learned.

A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesperson told ABC News investigators have determined Lanza did visit a gun range, but they have not determined whether he shot there.

Investigators have also learned his mother, Nancy Lanza, visited a gun range on multiple occasions, but they have not determined whether her son was with her during those visits, the spokesperson said.

ATF agents have been canvassing area gun ranges and gun dealers to learn whether Adam Lanza had been a customer or a visitor.

Law enforcement sources tell ABC News that reports that the shooter recently attempted to purchase a gun at a local sporting goods store have not been substantiated at this time.

Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday.

Two handguns were also found at the scene, but law enforcement officials described the Bushmaster as the primary weapon.  A fourth weapon was found nearby.  The weapons discovered at the school apparently belonged to a family member, possibly his mother, according to authorities.

Adam forced his way into Sandy Hook on Friday morning and killed 20 children and six adults before committing suicide.  He drove to the school after shooting his mother in the face at their home.

The weapons that police recovered from the scene included a Glock 9-mm handgun, a Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun and a Bushmaster rifle.  Police also found .223 shell casings.  Adam was wearing a bulletproof vest.

The shooter's mother, Nancy, 52, had five weapons registered to her, including a Glock, a Sig Sauer and a Bushmaster rifle.

Police said the Glock, the Sig Sauer and the Bushmaster at the school appeared to be registered to a family member.  Authorities are currently completing their checks to see which weapons were used in the slayings, to whom they were registered and how they were obtained.

Adam, who was described by neighbors and former classmates as being very bright, took six classes at Western Connecticut State University in 2008 and 2009, beginning when he was just 16, and had a grade-point average of 3.26.

According to Paul Steinmetz, director of University of Relations at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Adam started at the school in the summer of 2008, took a couple of classes that fall and then in the spring and summer of 2009.

A 16-year-old attending classes is rare, but not unique, Steinmetz said.  He said that some high school students sign up for classes at the college if they are particularly good in some subject.  He said the school has probably a few 16-year-olds every semester.

Adam took courses in computer science, such as website design, the computer language called BASIC, and data modeling, as well as in philosophy, American history and economics.

Steinmetz said he had not heard from anybody on the staff who has any knowledge of Adam at all, but it would be unusual for a professor to remember a student in a class from four years ago.  He said that in the classes Adam took there would likely be 20 to 25 students.

Long before Adam's spree, residents of Newtown had noticed that the tall, pale boy was different, and believed he had some kind of unspecified personality disorder.

"Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were five years old," wrote a neighbor and former classmate Timothy Dalton on Twitter.  "As horrible as this was, I can't say I am surprised."

In school, Adam carried a black briefcase and spoke little.  Every day, he wore a sort of uniform: khakis and a shirt buttoned up to the neck, with pens lined up in his shirt pocket.

A former classmate in his 10th-grade honors English class, Olivia DeVivo, says he "was always very nervous and socially awkward."

She told ABC News that "he didn't really want to be spoken to" and that when teachers would call on him "it appeared physically difficult for him to speak."

Adam avoided public attention and had few, if any, friends, though he was a member of the high school tech club.  He liked to sit near the door of the classroom to make a quick exit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec162012

Americans Tried to Buy 2 Million Guns in November Alone

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The awful shooting in a small Connecticut town has raised disturbing questions, but has also placed a spotlight on America's thriving gun business.

Taking a look at Black Friday just last month, U.S. shoppers weren't just buying toys and electronics, they were also buying a record number of guns.

On that single day, Nov. 23, the FBI did computerized background checks on more than 154,000 purchases of firearms. If you examine the month of November as a whole, Americans tried to buy 2 million guns.

There are more gun dealers and gun stores than there are major supermarkets.

Even though the majority of gun users are law abiding citizens, authorities say the large number of guns in circulation guarantees that disturbed people will be able to obtain them.

Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday.

Two handguns were also found at the scene, but state officials described the Bushmaster as the killer's primary weapon. A fourth weapon was found nearby. The weapons discovered at the school apparently belonged to a family member, possibly his mother, according to authorities.

Lanza, 20, forced his way into Sandy Hook on Friday morning and killed 20 children and six adults before committing suicide. He drove to the school after shooting his mother in the face at their home.

The weapons that police recovered from the scene included a Glock 9-mm handgun, a Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun and a Bushmaster rifle. Police also found .223 shell casings. Lanza was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

The shooter's mother, 52-year-old Nancy Lanza, had five weapons registered to her, including a Glock, a Sig Sauer, and a Bushmaster rifle.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on-scene commander in Newtown, Gene Marquez, told ABC News that in the four-county area around the small Connecticut town, 400 gun dealers are open for business. Within 10 miles of Sandy Hook Elementary, Marquez said there are 36 gun dealers.

According to ABC sources, the Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza had bought two hand guns and an assault rifle legally.

Former FBI Agent Brad Garrett says it's fairly easy to purchase a firearm in the United States.

"Unless you have a felony conviction or you're adjudicated by a court to be deemed mentally incompetent ... you have ready access to firearms," said Garrett.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec162012

Connecticut Shooting: Town Mourns as Police Seek Clues to Gunman's Rampage

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty ImagesUPDATE: ABC News has confirmed that Adam Lanza shot his mother in the head multiple times and later committed suicide with one gunshot wound to his head.

(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- As the shattered community of Newtown, Conn., struggles to come to grips with the loss of 20 children and six adults massacred by Adam Lanza, police are working to understand what set the 20-year-old off on his rampage.

ABC News has learned that investigators have seized computers belonging to Lanza from the home he shared with his mother Nancy, the same place he killed her before going to the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he slaughtered students in two first-grade classes and teachers and staff.

Authorities are forensically investigating those computers and are also examining devices owned by Ryan Lanza, the gunman's older brother, to see if they can learn anything more about Adam and what caused him to snap.

Members of the community gathered Sunday at churches across the small town, seeking comfort, clarity or just a cry.

With intermittent freezing rain falling, the bells tolled at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church as parishioners came for the morning service.

Little more than a week before Christmas when congregants celebrate the birth of their savior, they instead were mourning the deaths of people they knew.

Many of the victims attended the church and the clergy is preparing for the funerals of eight of the children.

As parishioners arrived at the church, many stopped at a makeshift memorial with flowers, teddy bears and candles. On large white boards, people wrote notes that express condolences, hope, and even forgiveness.

One says "Rest in Peace Sweet Angels."

After a man and woman knelt down at the memorial -- the woman overcome by grief crying into her husband's arms -- two police officers opened their cars with a delivery: bouquets of flowers and teddy bears stacked in the back of their vehicles. They delicately placed each one down and then both knelt down at the vigil.

The female officer began crying and her male partner put his arm around her to comfort her. She quickly got up, walking to her car while wiping away tears, and then they pulled away.

A mother and two young daughters came next. She gripped one while she also wiped away tears. A father and his young daughter also came up, the father kneeling and talking to the girl before they slowly walked into the church.

A state police trooper was also among those dropping flowers at the memorial comprised of candles, stuffed toys and a sign that says "Sleep in heavenly peace."

Police Tracing Guns Used in Shooting

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said there are many pieces missing in the investigation and investigators continue to work inside Sandy Hook Elementary School to collect evidence.

Key to the investigation will also be the four firearms found at or near the crime scene, he said.

"We are tracing them historically, all the way back to when they were on the workbench being assembled," Vance said.

Authorities are wrapping up their processing of the exterior crime scene, which included vehicles parked in the school's lot at the time of the shooting, Vance said, and have begun to release the cars back to their owners.

Vance declined to say what evidence has or has not been collected.

"We can't take segments of an investigation and discuss that publicly because something taken out of context could be misinterpreted," he said, adding that in the end, the "goal is to answer every single question.

With the world watching Newtown, and many searching for answers, Vance warned of misinformation being spread on social media by people posing as law enforcement or the shooter.

"It is important to know, we have discussed with federal authorities these issues are crimes. They will be investigated. ... Prosecution will take place," Vance said at a press conference, adding that all information has been and will continue to come through him.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec152012

Adam Lanza's Mom Pulled Him Out of School: Relative

Courtesy Family of Nancy Lanza(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- The aunt of Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza said the shooter's mother pulled him out of Newtown's public school system because she was unhappy with the school district's plans for her son.

Adam Lanza's mother Nancy, 54, was the first victim of his Friday shooting spree. Lanza shot Nancy in the face and then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 20 students and six adults before taking his own life.

Marsha Lanza, who is Adam's aunt and Nancy's ex-sister-in-law, told Evelyn Thomas of ABC-owned-and-operated station WLS in Chicago that Nancy had once been a classroom aide at the Sandy Hook school.

Marsha, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, said that Nancy had home-schooled Adam after pulling him out of the Newtown public school system. She did not know when Adam had left school. According to former classmates, Adam had attended the local high school at least through part of 10th grade.

Nancy Lanza divorced her husband Peter in 2009, when Adam was 17. Marsha said the divorce left her well off.

Marsha also said, however, that Nancy had purchased guns because she was living alone in a big house. Nancy was originally from New Hampshire, said Marsha, and comfortable with weapons.

According to police, a Glock handgun, a Sig Sauer handgun and a Bushmaster rifle were recovered after the shooting at Sandy Hook. Authorities say that Nancy Lanza had five weapons registered to her, including a Sig Sauer, a Glock and a Bushmaster. Police have not confirmed that hers were the weapons used in the slayings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec152012

Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: Quiet, Bright, Troubled

ABC News(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who killed 20 kids and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school Friday, was very bright, say neighbors and former classmates, but he was also socially awkward and deeply troubled.

"[Adam] was not connected with the other kids," said family friend Barbara Frey. A relative told ABC News that Adam was "obviously not well."

On Friday morning, Lanza shot his mother Nancy in the face at the home they shared in Newtown, and then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Dressed in black combat gear, he broke a window at the school, which had recently had a new security system installed, and within minutes had shot and killed six adults and 20 schoolchildren between the ages of five and 10.

The shooting stopped when Lanza put a bullet in his own head. Multiple weapons were found at the scene, including two semiautomatic handguns registered to his mother. A Bushmaster rifle registered to Nancy was discovered outside in the car.

Long before Lanza's spree, however, residents of Newtown had noticed that tall, pale boy was different, and believed he had some kind of unspecified personality disorder.

"Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were five years old," wrote a neighbor and former classmate Timothy Dalton on Twitter. "As horrible as this was, I can't say I am surprised."

In school, Lanza carried a black briefcase and spoke little. Every day, he wore a sort of uniform: khakis and a shirt buttoned up to the neck, with pens lined up in his shirt pocket.

He hated being called on by teachers, and it seemed to require a physical effort for him to respond. He avoided public attention and had few, if any, friends. He liked to sit near the door of the classroom to make a quick exit.

He even managed to avoid having his picture in his high school yearbook. Instead of his portrait, the space reserved for Adam Lanza says "Camera Shy." And unlike most in his age group, he seems to have left little imprint on the Internet – no Facebook page, no Twitter account.

 

Lanza's parents Peter and Nancy Lanza married in New Hampshire in 1981, and had two sons, Adam and his older brother Ryan, who is now 24 and lives in New Jersey.

The Lanzas divorced in 2009 after 28 years of marriage due to "irreconcilable differences." When they first filed for divorce in 2008, a judge ordered that they participate in a "parenting education program."

Adam was 17 at the time of the divorce. He continued to live in Newtown with his mother. His father now lives in Stamford, Connecticut with his second wife.

Peter Lanza, who drove to northern New Jersey to talk to police and the FBI, is a vice president at GE Capital and had been a partner at global accounting giant Ernst & Young.

Adam's older brother Ryan Lanza, 24, has worked at Ernst & Young for four years, apparently following in his father's footsteps and carving out a solid niche in the tax practice. He too was interviewed by the FBI. Neither he nor his father is under any suspicion.

"[Ryan] is a tax guy and he is clean as a whistle," a source familiar with his work said.

Police had initially identified Ryan as the killer. Ryan sent out a series of Facebook posts saying it wasn't him and that he was at work all day. Video records as well as card swipes at Ernst & Young verified his statement that he had been at the office.

Two federal sources told ABC News that identification belonging to Ryan Lanza was found at the scene of the mass shooting. They say that identification may have led to the confusion by authorities during the first hours after the shooting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio