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Aunt: Newtown School Gunman Would Have Gotten Mental Help If He Needed It

Shooting At Elementary School In Newtown, Connecticut

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NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Relatives of Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre gunman Adam Lanza said on Saturday described the gunman as a fan of computer and dice games who would have received help for mental health issues if he had needed it.

Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother Friday morning, then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he opened fire and killed 20 children and six adults. He then turned the gun on himself.

The New York Times reported Saturday morning that Adam Lanza, 20, was socially awkward and was known in high school as “intelligent, but nervous and fidgety, spitting his words out, as if having to speak up were painful.”

The newspaper also reported many sources said he had Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.

But Lanza’s aunt said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.

Marsha Lanza, of the far northwest Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, said she was close with Adam Lanza’s mother and sent her a Facebook message Friday morning asking how she was doing. Nancy Lanza never responded.

Marsha Lanza described Nancy Lanza as a good mother and kind-hearted.

If her son had needed counseling, “Nancy wasn’t one to deny reality,” she told The Associated Press late Friday.

Marsha Lanza said her husband saw Adam as recently as June and recalled nothing out of the ordinary about him.

Catherine Urso, who was attending a vigil Friday evening in Newtown, Conn., said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style.

“He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths,” she said.

Adam Lanza belonged to a technology club at Newtown High School that held “LAN parties” — short for local area network — in which students would gather at a member’s home, hook up their computers into a small network and play games.

Gloria Milas, whose son Joshua was in the club with Lanza, hosted one of the parties once.

She recalled a school meeting in 2008 organized by the gunman’s mother to try to save the job of the club’s adviser. At the meeting, Milas said, Adam Lanza’s brother Ryan said a few words in support of the adviser, who he said had taken his brother under his wing.

“My brother has always been a nerd,” Ryan Lanza said then, according to Milas. “He still wears a pocket protector.”

Joshua Milas, who graduated from Newtown High School in 2009, said Adam Lanza was generally a happy person but that he hadn’t seen him in a few years.

“We would hang out, and he was a good kid. He was smart,” Joshua Milas said. “He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius.”

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)