Connecticut shooter hit hard by parents' divorce, called withdrawn but not 'threatening'
Adam Lanza was his name.
Adam P. Lanza, 20, obscure in life, infamous in death.
A really rambunctious kid, as one former neighbor in Newtown, Conn., recalled him, adding that he was on medications. He was a son of an accountant and a teacher.
He will long be remembered.
On Friday morning, police say, he shot and killed his mother in their home. And then, carrying firearms and an abundance of ammunition, he drove to Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School and started shooting. By the time he turned one of the guns on himself, police say, he had killed 20 children, many of them kindergartners, and six more adults.
Adam Peter Lanza — a new addition to a dreadful list, the roster of mass murderers who targeted students: Seung Hui Cho at Virginia Tech (32 dead), Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine High in Colorado (13 dead), Charles Robert IV at a little Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania (five dead). The litany of massacres goes on.
As scores of investigators worked to piece together what happened at the school and why, the barest details of Lanza's life began to emerge.
His parents, Nancy and Peter Lanza, separated about a decade ago, and his mother, a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook, remained in the family's home with her sons, Adam and Ryan Lanza, according Ryan Kraft, now 25, who was a neighbor.
The separation hit the children hard, Kraft recalled.
When Nancy Lanza would go out to dinner with friends, she sometimes relied on Kraft to watch Adam Lanza, who was too boisterous for Ryan Lanza to manage.
“He would have tantrums,” Kraft said. “They were much more than the average kid.”
Yet he was not prone to violence, Kraft said.
“The kids seemed really depressed” by the breakup, Kraft said of the Lanza brothers.
Ryan Lanza, 24, now lives in Hoboken, N.J. He was questioned by police, but law enforcement officials said he is not suspected of having anything to do with the shootings.
For several hours, authorities and the news media misidentified the shooter as Ryan Lanza, who, like his father, is an accountant, a law enforcement official said.
The Wall Street Journal quoted a friend of Ryan Lanza's as saying that Lanza works for Ernst & Young. “He ⅛is⅜ a little shy, but very nice and sweet,” the friend, Katie Colaneri, 24, of Hoboken, told the Journal.
Nancy Lanza put the best face possible on her domestic troubles, the former neighbor said.
“Nancy was really pleasant,” Kraft said. “She would come by the house and have a glass of wine with my mom.”
The divorce was finalized in 2009, according to court records.
Beth Israel, who lived for a time on the same street as the Lanzas, recalled Adam Lanza as withdrawn but not threatening.
“Overall, I would just call him a socially awkward kid, I don't know, shy and quiet. Didn't really look you in the eye,” Israel said on Friday. “Just kind of a weird kid, maybe. I can't tell you any specific incidents why ⅛I thought so.”
A law enforcement official —who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is far from finished — said Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother in her home, then drove in her car to the school where she worked.
He had two semi-automatic pistols and a .223-caliber rifle, law enforcement officials said. He apparently used only the handguns, which were later found in the school. The rifle was found in the vehicle.
Peter Lanza, a vice president and tax specialist at GE Energy Financial Services, has remarried and lives in Stamford, Conn., according to The Stamford Advocate. When he arrived home on Friday, the newspaper reported, he appeared “surprised and horrified” and declined to comment on the mass shooting.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- HealthCare.gov website’s security flaws put users’ personal info at risk
- Entire Calif. town lost to wildfire as dozen other blazes rage
- Search for missing U. of Va. student shifted
- Ohio bus driver dies removing girl from harm’s way
- Improved economy drives first decline in the national poverty rate in 7 years
- White House committed to ethanol, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack says
- Astronauts to hitch U.S. ride to space station
- Black lung disease on rise in Appalachia
- Wallenda’s next challenge: Chicago
- Obama plans broader counterterror mission against Islamic State
- Legislation would put Amtrak on route to privacy