A week after US school massacre, details emerge



Officials including Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy observe a moment of silence on the steps of Edmond Town Hall while bells ring 26 times in Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. The chiming of bells reverberated throughout Newtown, commemorating one week since the crackle of gunfire in a schoolhouse killed 20 children and six adults in a massacre that has shaken the community and the nation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEWTOWN, Connecticut— As Americans paused for the one-week anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, new details emerged Friday about the gunman, Adam Lanza, who acquaintances said was able to take apart and reassemble a computer in a matter of minutes but rarely spoke to anyone.

In high school, Lanza used to slither through the hallways, awkwardly pressing himself against the wall while wearing the same green shirt and khaki pants every day. He hardly ever talked to classmates and once gave a presentation entirely by computer, never uttering a single word.

“As long as I knew him, he never really spoke,” said Daniel Frost, who took a computer class with Lanza and remembered his skill with electronics.

Lanza seemed to spend most of his time in his own large space in the basement of the home he shared with his mother — the same basement where she kept a collection of guns, said Russell Ford, a friend of Nancy Lanza who had done chimney and pipe work on the Lanza home.

A week ago, Lanza fatally shot his mother before blasting his way into the school, killing 20 children and six teachers with a military style rifle. As police approached, he used a handgun to commit suicide.

Nancy Lanza was often seen around town and regularly chatted up friends and acquaintances at a local restaurant, but her 20-year-old son was a mysterious figure who was seldom spotted in this community of rolling hills and clapboard colonial homes, according to Ford and other townspeople.

The basement of the Lanza home was fully carpeted and had artwork, including a picture of a horse, on the walls. There was a computer, a flat-screen television, couches and an elaborate setup for video games. Nancy Lanza kept her guns in what appeared to be a secure case in another part of the basement, Ford said.

“She was from gun culture. Live free or die. That was truly her upbringing,” said Ford, who often met the New Hampshire native and other friends at a regular Tuesday evening gathering at My Place, a local restaurant.

Ford did not know if Lanza brought her son shooting.

Over the past year and a half, Ford said, Nancy Lanza had told him that she planned to move out West and enroll Adam in a “school or a center.” The plan started unfolding after Adam turned 18.

“He wouldn’t be dwelling with her,” said Ford, who remembered that Adam Lanza never spoke to him or even made eye contact.

“She knew she needed to be near him,” he added. “She was trying to do what was positive for him.”

Ford said Nancy Lanza didn’t elaborate on what type of services she wanted her son to receive. Ford hadn’t seen her in about a month and a half, and said she made fewer appearances at the restaurant in recent months.

Mark Tambascio, owner of My Place, said Nancy Lanza described the same plan to him, saying she might move to Washington state.

Back in high school, Frost recalled, Lanza once made a class presentation about how to change the folders in Microsoft Windows different colors. He did it without saying a word, just demonstrating the steps on a screen.

Someone in the class brought in the video game called “Counter-Strike,” a first-person shooting video game in which players compete against each other as either terrorists or counter-terrorists, Frost said.

Lanza “seemed pretty interested in the game,” Frost recalled, and would play it with other students. He remembers the weapons Lanza chose: an M4 military-style assault rifle and a Glock handgun.

Authorities said Lanza used a military-style assault rifle during the rampage and carried handguns.

A week after the massacre, authorities still have no clear reason why Lanza would lash out at defenseless first-graders and their caretakers. The seemingly random nature of the attack makes it all the more chilling.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said it is too soon to draw any conclusions. A final report on the investigation could be months away.

Lanza destroyed the hard drive of his computer before the attack, and investigators have been unable to retrieve any information from it, according to a person briefed on the case.

And while they haven’t given up, they aren’t confident they will be able to repair it, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

In Newtown, the community endured another mournful, overcast day filled with multiple funerals and visitations. At the hour of the attack, 9:30 a.m., a bell tolled 26 times Friday, once for each victim killed at the school.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gathered with other officials in rain and wind on the steps of the Edmond Town Hall as the bell rang. Officials didn’t make any formal remarks, and similar commemorations took place throughout the country.

Also on Friday, the National Rifle Association spoke out for the first time since the shootings, calling for armed police officers to be stationed at schools to stop the next killer “waiting in the wings.”

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the nation’s largest gun-rights lobbing group, said at a Washington news conference that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

LaPierre blamed video games, music and videos for exposing children to violence.

At the memorial services, a school psychologist who rushed toward the gunman was remembered as a caring professional, a passionate fan of the Miami Dolphins and a woman who ultimately put the lives of others ahead of her own.

Mary Sherlach’s funeral drew a standing-room-only crowd to St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Trumbull.

The church was adorned with a Christmas tree and several wreaths.

“No one has greater love than to give one’s life for his friends,” Rev. Stephen Gleason said. “And she did so in an attempt to save others.”

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  • tarikan

    You heard it from me. THIS TRAGEDY IS NOT THE LAST. America, have gun will kill.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIWYLFLU4LPKS7B2ZLLRVFKS3Y vir_a

    There are people who consider their guns as God, more important than anything else. There are even those who love their guns more than their wife or family. They like guns and their guns do wonders for them.

  • Ph3n0M47

    Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the nation’s largest gun-rights lobbing group, said at a Washington news conference that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
    —> everything that is wrong about US gun laws..totally stupid

    • batangpaslit

      i don’t mind having a gun to protect my family from the hooligans

      • Ph3n0M47

        I respect your position 100%..but I just think that increased visibility of guns will desensitize them and lessen respect for what they can do. Im not sure what the answer is, and Im not even sure it has anything to do with guns. Maybe we need to look more into treatment options for the mentally ill

  • Philcruz

    The “Senseless Violence” society. This is America today.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PZCN62UBWNKFSNDJ2D3JQBBBWQ max m

    wish the philippines had a nice kid like him, he could really end the issues that are part of the problem, just think.20 less kids in class. now the class has more free space

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002207384387 Andrei Mendoza

      I agree with you, and i hope you and your family the first one to go!

    • Mux

       I really, really hope you were being sarcastic.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/R7U3M7MSRMV7ZUV7V7YBSNR5VQ Jon Paul

       “a nice kid like him”??? he is nice to you? are you okay?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYOKKWJDJKP6HLLGJ7TVFKQVPI Rene

    If this ‘sicko’ lived in a third country where easy access to guns, computer commodities are expensive. If he had lived like a normal Filipino where family bonding is strong, he won’t have gone this far.

  • batangpaslit

    it is quite touching to read ordinary American citizens mourn for the death of their innocent school age children.

    i feel what the ordinary Americans feel about the dead victims
    i have the same feeling too about the innocent children and nursing mothers in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Iraq when American Air Force bombers and American Naval gunboats dropped bombs to these sovereigns that did nothing wrong against America.

    today, America is reeling the death of 28 dead. the lone killer is their own.
    Iraq, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam—-hundreds of thousands died from American arial bombs and biological agents sprayed to their forests and rivers.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3TWVIBNBHJIBKXLUC5IT2JYM5E Harry

      By now they should realize that the danger within their nation is much, much greater than the terrorism they are fighting outside. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/R7U3M7MSRMV7ZUV7V7YBSNR5VQ Jon Paul

      Don’t forget your country after Spaniards where defeated then another white invaders came. More than one million Filipinos died according the Mark Twain.

  • Chito Limchiu

    I think the most tragic figure in this drama is Nancy, mother of Adam Lanza, who despite having devoted, sacrificed, and supported all her life to her mentally ill son, in the end could not control him. And most unfortunately died in his hand. Now the world only knows her as the mother of the killer.

    • http://jaoromero.com/ Jao Romero

      it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the mother that drove the son crazy. i smell child abuse a mile away.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BXBYZ5EB467UVJRXK4IOM5BX4Y Todd

    The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3TWVIBNBHJIBKXLUC5IT2JYM5E Harry

      Those were the days when almost everything is settled with a gunfight?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/R7U3M7MSRMV7ZUV7V7YBSNR5VQ Jon Paul

      Inilagay nila yan sa para protektahan nila ang sarili nila noon sa mga tunay na may-ari ng kinalalagyan nila ngayon, ang tinatawag nilang katutubong “indian”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_44QGTQXFYHNVPNMX453LWBPMXM Opel

    insanity + guns is a very dangerous combinations. people with mental issues should be given professional help not gun training. For the victims of the massacre and typhoon Pablo may you all rest in peace. 

  • http://jaoromero.com/ Jao Romero

    wow. just wow. a good guy with a gun? dafuq is that? only wackos like guns. you see the people applying for jobs that involves having a gun? they are not the most “mentally balanced” people in the world. jobs that involves killing people usually attracts the kind that’s not really what you’d call “good.”

    the real good guys won’t even have anything to do with deadly weapons.

  • joboni96

    ‘NRA calling for armed police officers to be stationed at schools’

    good suggestion hehehe
    more guns against more shooters
    utak nra talaga

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