Report: Newtown Gunman Had Asperger's Syndrome, Shot Sleeping Mother Four Times

Nobody has claimed the bodies of Adam and Nancy Lanza from the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, CNN reports.


CNN reported Tuesday afternoon ago that the Farmington, CT-based Office of the Chief Medical Examiner says Adam Lanza on Dec. 14 shot his mother four times while she slept, and that she died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

The cable network also reports that the medical examiner has confirmed Lanza had been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. According to the National Institutes of Health, Asperger's is a developmental disorder "characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior."

When reached by Patch Tuesday morning, the medical examiner's office said it cannot confirm whether a body in the morgue has been claimed, but CNN reported that the bodies of gunman Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy Lanza have not been claimed.

Updated 5:19 p.m., Dec. 16

When asked about the reported threat that caused St. Rose of Lima Church to be evacuated Sunday afternoon, Lt. Vance told reporters that he did not have additional details of the threat made, but all threats of its nature would be taken "extremely seriously."

He added that he did not the content of the threat, but if the perpetrator were to be identified "he would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Updated, 4:16 p.m.

Lt. Vance told reporters at the press conference that the weapon used "most of the time" by the shooter was a Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon with high capacity magazines. A Glock 10 millimeter and a Sig Sauer 9 millimeter, all of which had "multiple magazines and additional ammunition," was also in the shooter's possession.

Vance said that a rifle was also recovered from Lanza's vehicle, which was parked outside of the school.

Original Story

Police identified the shooter Sunday in the gruesome shootings of 26 individuals at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday, 20 of whom were children between the ages of 6 and 7, as 20-year-old Adam Lanza of Newtown.

Police also released the name of another victim, Lanza’s mother Nancy, who was discovered at the Yogananda Street home where the two lived.

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance told reporters at a Sunday afternoon press conference that Nancy Lanza died of multple gunshot wounds and her death is being ruled as a homicide. Adam Lanza died of a gunshot wound and his death is being ruled as a suicide, Vance said.

As details of the tragic incident slowly emerge, Newtown residents and people around the world are wondering what kind of person could have carried out such a horrendous act and how a seemingly intelligent, quiet young man could commit such evil.

Lanza is said to have shot and killed his mother before entering 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 the mother.

Former Yogananda Street neighbor Ryan Kraft, 25, who currently lives in California, said he went to school with Ryan Lanza and babysat Adam a few times when the latter was around 10 years old. Kraft said that Ryan Lanza was usually home during this, allowing for “two sets of eyes on Adam at all times,” he explained.

Kraft said that Adam had a developmental disability of some kind, though he was not sure of the exact nature, and that he would throw temper tantrums at times, which Nancy Lanza instructed Kraft to just let pass. Despite these incidents, Kraft said he the mother “never once informed me of any violent tendencies,” and he never witnessed any violence himself.

Both brothers were quiet and reserved, Kraft said.

“He was the quiet kid at the bus stop,” he said. “I’d say, ‘Hi,’ and he’d say, ‘Hey,’ back and that was the extent of it.”

As the news of what occurred became clearer, Kraft said he became physically ill and had to leave work. Though neither he nor his family still call Newtown home, Kraft has organized a fund drive for the victims and survivors that has already raised over $47,000 from almost 1,000 donors and climbing. [Read more about that here.]

As a student as Western Connecticut State University in 2008 and 2009, Lanza received As, Bs and Cs in courses ranging from computer programming to macroeconomics to German speaking.

"Adam Lanza was a student for a while at WCSU,” said Paul Steinmetz, interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Sunday. “His overall GPA for the six classes that he completed was 3.26.”

According to Steinmetz, Lanza started classes in the summer of 2008 when he was 16 and took website production (A-) and Visual BASIC (A). In fall of 2008 he took data modeling — a computer science class in which he took a withdraw — and Philosophy 101, introduction to ethical theory (C). In spring of 2009 he took American History Since 1877 (A-) and introduction to German speaking, which he dropped early in the semester so it didn't count against his GPA. In the summer of 2009 he took principles of macroeconomics (B).

Steinmetz said any potential disciplinary records were not immediately available, however there was “no indication that he was ever in trouble here.”

Steinmetz also stated that he does “not believe [Lanza] ever lived in our dorms."

A 'Very Positive Mom'

Former neighbor Ryan Kraft remembered Nancy as a “very positive mom,” who was “focused on getting them [her sons] what they needed and what they wanted.”

Kraft recalled one anecdote from just a day or two after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“A day or two after [Nancy] went to Home Depot, to Lowes — to all the hardware stores in the area — and spent probably $3,000 on gloves and mittens and coats and drove them down to New York,” he said. “She was that kind of person: would do something and act immediately if she could help.”

Kraft confirmed that, to his knowledge, Nancy never worked at Sandy Hook Elementary, though she regularly volunteered in the community and likely at the school at some point.

“She volunteered a lot,” he said. “She was a stay-at-home mom… and she tried to do things locally in her free time.”

Family Left in Shock, Grief

Adam’s older brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, was at his job in Manhattan on Friday when news outlets began to report that he was in fact the shooter.

The reports said Lanza, a Quinnipiac University graduate, had murdered someone in his Hoboken apartment and then drove to Newtown, where he killed 27 people before turning the gun on himself.

Ryan’s thoughts quickly went to his developmentally disabled younger brother, Adam, who he feared may have been responsible for the violence at Sandy Hook elementary school, friends of the elder Lanza said.

As media reports continued to name Ryan Lanza as the shooter and plastered his face across the world, he took to Facebook and told friends he was not the man responsible for the brutal slaying.

Ryan Lanza and his roommate were being questioned Friday night at Hoboken Police headquarters. Neither have been charged with any crime, Hoboken Police Captain Jim Fitzsimmons said.

No bodies were found inside the building, Fitzsimmons said.

"Ryan is in shock," a close friend, Brett Wilshe, told Patch.

Lanza was planning to head to Connecticut after hearing about the shooting, friends told Patch.

Those who know the Hobokenite described him as "nice" and committed to his friends.

Peter Lanza, Adam’s father, released the following statement on Saturday, according to the Huffington Post:

Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all those who were injured. Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.

Marsha Lanza, Adam’s aunt and Nancy’s sister-in-law, lives in Crystal Lake, IL and told the Associated Press Friday that she was close with her sister-in-law. She described Nancy Lanza as "a good mother and kind-hearted" and said she sent her a Facebook message Friday morning, but never heard back.

She told the Northwest Herald late Friday they were in total shock and "shaken to the core."

New Hampshire-based family members of the Lanzas’ expressed their "heartfelt sorrow" in a statement read Saturday evening at a press conference in Kingston, NH. The video of the press conference can be found on WMUR's website.

James Champion, uncle of suspected shooter Adam Lanza and brother to mother Nancy, is a police officer in Kingston.

In the statement read by Rockingham County Sheriff Mike Downing, the Champion family said they "share the grief of a community and nation as we struggle to comprehend the tremendous loss that we all share."

The family said they wished to "reach out to the community of Newtown and express our heartfelt sorrow for the incomprehensible and profound loss of innocence that has affected so many."

They also asked for privacy during their "time of anguish and loss."

Kingston Police Chief Donald Briggs said he knew Nancy Lanza as a "very, very kind, considerate, loving young lady" who lived in Kingston for a good part of her life. Briggs said Lanza's mother spent many years as a school nurse in Kingston.

Patch reporters Mark Langlois, Claire Moses, James Kleimann, Jake O'Donnell, Amie Schaenzer and Chandra Johnson Greene contributed to this article.

Rishda December 19, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Please correct the grammatical errors to make this article easier to read.
phat sam December 19, 2012 at 04:14 AM
you have to be f'ing kidding me. letting the woman who introduced guns and permissively allowed this mentally ill young man to spend inordinate amounts of time in her basement playing violent first person shooter video games off the hook for her culpability in not only her own deserved demise, but that of 20+ other INNOCENTS including little children? the obvious intended targets? shame on you for such irresponsible journalism!
snarla2 December 19, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Apparently Nancy Lanza was so "kind-hearted" that she left automatic weapons around the house and taught her emotionally ill son how to shoot them.
Broon December 19, 2012 at 04:16 AM
This is a disgusting piece of non-journalism and you should be ashamed of yourselves for creating an anti-hero from this tragedy.
Asadwoman December 19, 2012 at 04:25 AM
There is something off with the mother allowing him to use guns for target practice
Jon T December 19, 2012 at 04:30 AM
None of the weapons used by Lanza were automatic, they were semiautomatic, just like virtually every handgun and half the rifles out there. Also I don't see anything that says the mother taught Lanza to shoot. Guns are not rocket science, pretty much anybody can figure out how to work one.
uniony December 19, 2012 at 04:32 AM
A very positive mom? She was a gun nut survivalist hoarding food for the collapse of the US economy, let alone teaching her mentally ill son to shoot firearms. Positive indeed.
Jon T December 19, 2012 at 04:33 AM
What's wrong with supervising a kid while he's shooting targets? Millions of children handle firearms safely with their parents, it's by no means an uncommon thing. Her fault was leaving the guns unsecured, not bringing him along to shoot cans.
John Wayne December 19, 2012 at 04:39 AM
@ Rishda,, the punctuation is so bad, grammar is the least of the problem.
Qoo Guy December 19, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Since the assault weapons ban lapsed, this type of armament has flooded across into Mexico, facilitating slaughter on an ever greater scale. Americans bought record numbers when Obama was elected, and again after this event has led to calls for renewing the ban. Let's focus on this one point. Assault weapons are in a different class on armament. In CA, having one in your residence requires a secured gun cabinet. I appreciate the desire to own one. I even agree with people believing it is a right to own one. Ownership is responsibility. Nancy Lanza is described above as a kind, responsible person and a loving mother. How is it that it was not explained to her that owning the weapons she legally purchased included the responsibility to make sure that her son, with his long history of needing to be "watched," could access them without her consent and shoot her in her sleep? I wonder if she was a member of the NRA? If so, would that not be the FIRST responsibility of that organization to make sure that guns are duly respected by their owners. We are at this point as a Nation going to renew the assault weapons ban or just admit that we tolerate children being gunned down because we love our guns more.
Jon Jonz December 19, 2012 at 04:51 AM
"amounts of time in her basement playing violent first person shooter video games off the hook for her culpabilit" -Where did you get that info? Yes lets pretend like video games are the cause of these incidents. Even though horrible things like this have been happening well before the introduction of said video games into peoples lives. Strange that a large portion of the world subject themselves to such things, yet they don't commit such acts. Or the fact that the murder rate in America has been declining since the 90s. Or the simple fact that the market caters to what people in a society want. But lets ignore history and statistical data and burn the 'evil' game industry. Couple decades back it most likely would of been blamed on heavy metal or rap. Guess it is easier to chose to be silly and find pointless escape goats that studies have all ready disproved, than to address the real issues.
Azald December 19, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Peter Lanza has a significant story to tell that will lend some clarity to the whole situation. Whether he tells it, is another question.
sauce December 19, 2012 at 04:55 AM
nothing wrong with being a gun nut survivalist (who keeps their gun at the range.) Nothing wrong with having a mentally ill kid (if you take many, redundant precautions.) It's putting said kid--who allegedly couldn't feel physical pain (so, empathic issues) in close proximity to a ****ing arsenal, and not keeping your ****ing arsenal at the range. Allow for some repetition: at. the. [figuratively] Mother. F'ing. range.
kelly December 19, 2012 at 04:55 AM
I blame this mother... Like any mother we love our child/children with all of our hearts. This mother was in denial. This boy could not function in society for some time, she, however chose to say to herself he will improve, he will find a job. he is my little boy. This boy was an animal that could have been controlled if she would have let the medical professionals do so. I imagine she lied when they asked her about outbursts, emotional fallouts, so on and so on. This boy wigged out before and I guarantee Nancy witnessed it. GUARANTEED...because of her love, her devotion to this boy 20-TWENTY babies are dead. I believe she could have stopped this, if she simply said my son should be commited. An old saying goes: Nobody knows you like your Mother. This mother did... Im sorry, but I blame her. Complete denial of how crazy he actually was...
Qoo Guy December 19, 2012 at 05:00 AM
I am not from CT and have tried hard not to follow to closely for personal mental balance. But if its correct that she bought and allowed Adam to play violent first person shooter (FPS) games, than that would be the greater cause for what transpired (Adam being most responsible clearly). I am a Jungian trained psychologist, it is clear to me that FPS force the playing into being the violent aggressor, rewarding the player in a deep psychic bio-chemical level for being remorselessly cold and brutal, completely short circuiting the empathic networks that allow people to function in society. And the way the brains reward system work, constant stimulation via neural chemical flood becomes addictive to the point that person will stop eating (recall the Korean 20 something who died after 3 days non-stop gaming). Before that happens, the stimulation via simulation (playing the game) will not be enough. In "perfect storm" situations (the assault rifle is easily accessible being a key item), the "player" will play out what he (almost always so far) has already done so many thousands of times before in virtual reality (or what the subconscious self perceives through the mental buffer that keeps us from acting out our dreams in bed: REALITY). I am a voice in the wilderness, but what we need as a culture even move than a ban of assault weapons is a move away from first person games that force the player to do cruel violence (commonly with an assault rifle) to "win." Allah'u'abha
sauce December 19, 2012 at 05:00 AM
2ndly: unfortunately, this picture of the killer makes him look like someone candidate Romney would've (in his youth) held down, and given a bully haircut.
Hugh Jass December 19, 2012 at 05:03 AM
One scenario of gun access against a possible scenario of thousands...theft, burglary, gunshow purchase, attack, coercion. The only viable answer is to have armed guards or train staff and give access to weapons to counter an attack...a la airline pilots.
G. Epley December 19, 2012 at 05:11 AM
This is really disgusting, like mother like son...... both are wacko! The pictures of Adam are really creepy.... almost looks like death!
Xizang December 19, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Yes, POSITIVE. Are you aware there was recently a hurricane on the east coast that left hundreds of thousands of people suddenly without electric power, food, water and in some cases even shelter? Those few who had stocked up on non-perishable food, water and medicine suddenly became very popular people to their neighbors. Only a moron would criticize that.
latinalava December 19, 2012 at 05:39 AM
You're a Disgraced to journalism and fact's that is a fact it-self-you are writing as this killer is some hero and blaming the video game industry are you that ignorant? First of all the fact is that you can't write and I hope you don't make any more articles that are dis-alarming and unemotional and very unfounded to many condrictions is like something fox news would write. In the future, look at you're facts and stick with such and don't start making up things that make no sense. Is sad and despressing what happenend but the media is just making a quick buck and is has to stop because is very sick way to make a living of someone's tombstone that is a child . How dare you sleep at night and defend some killer and making some excuse is due to video games and his mother is who is to blame to leave this weapons laying around without protection.
Adevarul December 19, 2012 at 05:45 AM
"If so, would that not be the FIRST responsibility of that organization to make sure that guns are duly respected by their owners." Good luck with that ignorant comment. The NRA provides a lot of information to those who have interest in guns; including an enormous library on gun safety. But respect for and safe use of guns is the responsibility of the PERSON who has one in their hand(s). Ever see a pistol with a trigger lock that was securely stored JUMP out of the gun cabinet, release the trigger lock it had, aim and fire multiple times? NO! A PERSON is behind that trigger.The NRA is no more responsible for how a person uses a gun than Triple A (the auto association) is responsible for how people drive their cars. And yes, there are drunks, dopers and people with road rage that kill whole families who are innocently at the wrong place at the wrong time. This disaster is tragic. To prevent it is going to require focusing on the responsible gun ownership by those who own them and addressing the part nobody wants to talk about - mental illness. Look at this terrible events and the common thread in must of them is mental instability / violent tenancies and even outright warning signs that were ignored by more than one person - because it wasn't convenient to disclose them. TRUTH
Azald December 19, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Unfortunately, your statement about both being wacko may well be correct. These conditions usually do not come out of the blue. They are frequently based on inherited defects. People have different proteins circulating in their body fluids. Some people's bad proteins cause them to lose control in tense situations. These people are said to have an anxiety syndrome. They act out in fits of anger at issues that seem small to the world. They have difficulty in making almost any decision for themselves. There are thousands of varieties because there are thousands of genes that may go awry. Behaviorally, without medication, some learn to control themselves in anxious times or arrange their lives to limit anxious times. In some varieties, life’s daily situations induce enough anxiety to make them generally non-functional. However, noone with a real anxiety syndrome can control his/her own behavior, or deal with the intense feelings at all times. Fixing the imbalances is what anti-anxiety medications do. Unfortunately, specific knowledge of the genes is incomplete. Thus today’s meds are imperfect and do not work for everyone. Sadly, not all people believe in them anyway. However, for many of this generation, they have been a godsend. It is no stretch to believe that either the mom or the dad had a variety of this type of syndrome that was not expressed to this extent, but was passed onto Adam. With no behavioral or medical treatment, a bad end can occur.
Loretta Gaham December 19, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Maybe some of you readers need to use your brains or maybe you need some. Blaming video games is like the Twinkie eating killer in CA. There are many sick people in this world. They can be living next door to you and you wouldn't know it. Our hearts go out to the city of Newtown. We should all pray for them. Also, we should not put blame on the killers family unless we know that they knew their son would do such a horrific crime. You can't believe everything you hear or read in the paper or on line. Like the previous reader said the media is out there for he almighty buck not the truth.
Loretta Graham December 19, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Maybe some of you readers need to use your brains or maybe you need some. Blaming video games is like the Twinkie eating killer in CA. There are many sick people in this world. They can be living next door to you and you wouldn't know it. Our hearts go out to the city of Newtown. We should all pray for them. Also, we should not put blame on the killers family unless we know that they knew their son would do such a horrific crime. You can't believe everything you hear or read in the paper or on line. Like the previous reader said the media is out there for he almighty buck not the truth.
Jennifer December 22, 2012 at 08:43 PM


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something