Newtown Shooter ‘Wicked Smart’ And On Medication

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Suspect Adam Lanza was obscure in life, now is infamous in death (Washington Post, Dec 15, 2012):

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 medication. He was a son of an accountant and a schoolteacher. A family member told investigators that he had a form of autism, a law enforcement official said.

And 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 killers who targeted students: Seung Hui Cho at Virginia Tech (32 dead); Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine High in Colorado (13 dead), Charles C. Roberts IV at a little Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania (five dead). The litany of massacres goes on.

As scores of investigators worked Friday 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 to Ryan Kraft, 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 [had].” 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. Police questioned him Friday, but law enforcement officials said he was cooperating and is not suspected of having anything to do with the shootings.

For several hours Friday, 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 [is] 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 couple’s 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 in any way.

“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 in a telephone interview Friday night. “Just kind of a weird kid, maybe. I can’t tell you any specific incidents why [I thought so],” she said.

At a vigil in Newtown, a man of about Adam Lanza’s age was visibly distraught. “I knew Adam in high school,” he said, declining to give his name. “He always seemed like a quiet type. He was never really sociable. When you try to communicate with him, he would just kind of like have one- or two-word responses.

“He was a wicked smart kid, he excelled in everything,” the man said. “He graduated high school three years early.”

The man defended Adam’s mother and objected to some reports about her. “I know her. My family knew her. She was a respectable collector [of guns]. She used them responsibly. It’s not her fault that any of this happened.”

At the vigil, Catherine Urso said her son went to high school with Adam Lanza, who “was very remote, reclusive.” Lanza and his friends, she said, “always gathered alone in a corner in the school.”

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 semiautomatic 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, is remarried and lives in Stamford, Conn., according to the Stamford Advocate. When he arrived home Friday and was approached by a reporter, the paper reported, he appeared “surprised and horrified” and declined to comment on the massacre.

A woman who is a close friend of Peter Lanza’s became highly emotional in a brief telephone interview Friday. “His son was doing wonderfully,” she said of Adam Lanza. “This is inconceivable. Peter adores his children. His son was doing so well.”

Lynch reported from Newtown, Conn. Sari Horwitz and Alice Crites contributed to this report.

8 thoughts on “Newtown Shooter ‘Wicked Smart’ And On Medication”

  1. When are you naïve people going to realize this is what happens when you raise kids and give them mind altering drugs . All through history people have been depressed and had mental disorders. But they got over it own their own or didn’t,but they didn’t shoot up a school! Guns have always been readily available for hundreds of years so why have people been doing this only since the early 60s when the first idiot went into that tower in texas and shot all those people? If you have been paying attention to all these shooters they all have several things in common,every last one from the texas tower shooter through columbine and the schools and movie theaters and malls since ! Every last shooter was 1) currently seeing or had stopped seeing a mental health professional and 2) every one of them have been on prescription mind altering drugs! who thinks this is a coincidence? Psychiatrist and all these drugs came from ww2 and started in full earnest in the 50s, these crazy people are the fruit of that bullshit science! We live in a country where naïve idiots even have there dogs on Prozac, We give kids time out instead of a good ass whooping that worked since the beginning of time! Now everyone gets a trophy, everyone gets to participate, there should be no bullies, oh the poor kids! Combine that with realistic movies and shooter games! music promoting killing and dying and parents afraid to disclipine their own kids cause some young dumb naïve teacher says she cant control them..Well the bible says, “spare the rod spoil the child” and “you reap what you sow” THIS IS WHAT psychology HAS sown!!!!

  2. As a parent and grandparent, I totally agree with Kipdiddy’s assessmant of the situation wherein children and young adults are prescribed “depression medication” – mind altering drugs – for mental disorders. A close relative of my wife committed suicide while on depression mediaction and he was a highly educated patent engineer. And yet, liberals are all too quick to blame guns as the root cause of these tragedies. Blaming firearms manufacturers for this type of tragedy is similar to blaming automobile manufacturers for accidents caused by drunk drivers. Both arguments are wrong. Our attention should be focused upon the pharmaceutical area dispensed by phychiatrists. Any drug whose side effects include suicidal tendencies ahould be banned. The side effects are wores than the symptoms they are trying to cure and a danger to society as this incident clearly shows. Our culture is conditioned to rely on prescriptions to cure all of our ills and this may not be the only answer. The modifications to our second amendment is not the answer.

  3. Second, The shooters mother had a modified M-16 type rifle and a Glock-9 semi-automatic pistol. It begs the question as to why anyone needs an assault rifle or ploice grade handgun in the first place. Certainly these are not for target shooting or hunting and should not be sold to the public.
    This woman reportedly had a modified ammunition magazine enabling her to load additional rounds of ammo into her weapon – why?
    While I am all for your right to own a firearm, I question the logic of anyone owning a semi-automatic handgun or rifle and certainly do not see the need for 30, or larger, ammunition clips..
    The shooter also had a bullet proof vest which is not needed by the civilian population.
    Ever since Dr. Spock revised the way children are to be brought up, combined with the rise of violent video games accessible to children, we have seen a rise in children so screwed up that parents feel they need to rely on medication to control their troubled youth – horsepucky.No drug whose side effects are worse than the symptoms you are trying to cure are worth the risk.

  4. thank you kipdiddy i totally agree with your point of view. the focus on guns takes the attention off to of the real cause – mind altering drugs is very disturbing to me. how to get this message out i have known of a specific woman that was prescribed prozac and committed suicide as a result

  5. kipdiddy is right! and furthermore, kids on meds are missing life coping skills to function as responsible adults. Immediate Self gratification, problem solving skills and excuses for immoral behavior do not come from the pills. In effect adults who do the same-teach their children this reliance on meds. NEXT, It is also the pharma companies, and the doctors as their marketing targets for drugs unapproved for kids. The FDA is not effective at working for the public as it should. Since the head guy, who has been there for over 20 yrs retired, will something change?


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