Report: Adam Lanza Acted Alone, But Had No Apparent Motive

The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Stephen Sedensky
Stephen Sedensky

State officials have released a long-awaited report on last December's Newtown Elementary School shooting, which concludes that the 20-year-old Adam Lanza acted alone when he fatally shot his mother at their home in Newtown and then went to the elementary school where he fatally shot 20 first-grade pupils and six adults and wounded two other adults.

"The purpose of the investigation was to determine what crimes had been committed and whether anyone will be prosecuted as a result of those crimes. Based on a painstaking investigation it is determined that there will be no arrests or prosecutions. The Connecticut State Police are to be commended for their tireless work on this investigation and their consideration of the families and victims involved," said the report's author, Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III.

But Sedensky said despite the depth of the investigation, there is one question that might never be answered.

"The obvious question that remains is: 'Why did the shooter murder twenty-seven people, including twenty children?'" Sedensky's report stated. "Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively, despite the collection of extensive background information on the shooter through a multitude of interviews and other sources. 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.

The report, however, did reveal evidence of Lanza's mental health problems. "What we do know is that the shooter had significant mental health issues that, while not affecting the criminality of the shooter's mental state for the crimes or his criminal responsibility for them, did affect his ability to live a normal life and interact with others," Sedensky said.

Investigators recovered violent video games, violent videos of shooting events and photos of Lanza holding a gun to his head, but they acknowledged that a sizeable amount of information would not be revealed because Lanza had destroyed his computer.

Based on interviews with people who knew Lanza, the report said, "those who knew the shooter describe him in contradictory ways. He was undoubtedly afflicted with mental health problems; yet despite a facination with mass shootings and firearms, he displayed no aggressive or threating tendencies."

The report indicates that nearly six minutes passed between the arrival of the first Newtown police officer and the time local officers entered the school. A timeline released with the report says the first officer arrived behind the school at 9:39 a.m. after the shooting was reported. Two other Newtown officers then arrived at the school, and gunshots were heard in the background.

The last gunshot officers heard, which is believed to be the suicide shot by Adam Lanza, was heard at three seconds past 9:40.

The report says Newtown officers entered the school at 47 seconds past 9:44.

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