Police Expected to Answer Questions about Motive, Gun Custody on Sunday

As details emerge about the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 27 people, including 20 children, Newtown residents continue to grapple with the question of motive.


Though officials released some harrowing details of the nightmare that six adults and 20 first-graders endured before they were killed inside a Newtown elementary school Friday—how, when, with what and where they were shot and whether the victims suffered for long—many expect that on Sunday they’ll start to get an answer one question that’s eluded investigators: Why?

Regarding the shooter’s motive, state police have said that they collected “good evidence” at Sandy Hook Elementary School as well as at the neighborhood home of suspected gunman Adam Lanza. He's the 20-year-old who is said to have shot and killed his mother before blasting his way into the school at about 9:30 a.m. Friday, fatally shooting 26 people and then himself.

Multiple media outlets have reported the three guns carried into the school by the gunman as legally registered to his own mother—another piece of this unfolding tragedy that police are expected to address Sunday.

At a media conference late Saturday where some reporters pressed the head of the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for details, a gruesome vision emerged about where the children and six adults were shot, how many times and even what the kids wore to school that tragic day.

Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, the office’s chief, said he expected to finish autopsies on the shooter and his mother early Sunday. State police have said doing so would allow them to confirm the gunman already widely identified in the media. At least as importantly, police have said they’re using evidence collected at both scenes to piece together a “puzzle” that may address the difficult question of motive.

Jack Hornak, a Newtown resident for 35 years and member of St. John's Episcopal Church, told Patch that his questions include: How come here? How come now? Why?

"You run the gamut of crying, anger," Hornak said as he welcomed fellow supporters into the church for a special prayer at noon Saturday.

Asked to describe the emotions he is feeling, Hornak said, "Numbness. I find myself just staring." 

"Right now I'm crying," he added, tearing up. "In 20 seconds I'll want to hit a wall."

Parents such as Margaret Keayes, a mother of five, are grappling with questions about what caused the tragedy. Keayes, whose children attend a different Newtown school, came to Saturday’s press conference, saying she looked into her own kindergartener’s face and thought of those that had perished.

“It's hard to understand that,” Keayes said of the shooting. “I don't think we ever will, and I don't think we have to. But we do need to help those families that are in need right now.”

Keayes described Newtown’s response to those affected by the tragedy as “incredible,” including an offer of counseling sessions to all community members.

Late Saturday, the White House reported that President Barack Obama would travel to Newtown to meet with victims’ parents and to thank first responders.

Parents in town had mixed reactions to that news.

Lorraine Chappell said that though she doesn’t think any one person really can help, “I guess it might help that he does care. He was visibly upset.”

Meanwhile, Brian Cummings, an electrician who has lived in Sandy Hook since 1977, said that a visit by Obama wouldn’t mean much to him.

Roy Low, a father, said he would have liked Obama to come to town Friday.

“I don’t think it’s going to do anything [for the community],” Low said of the president’s visit. “It’s going to be a long time before this community can get back to where it belongs. If it ever gets back.”


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