NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — The mother of Newtown, Conn., elementary school gunman Adam Lanza spent her time at home taking care of her son who could not deal with school, and kept an arsenal of guns at home, “60 Minutes” reported Sunday night.
Lanza shot and killed his mother Friday morning, then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he opened fire on two classrooms. He killed 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself.
CBS News’ Scott Pelley reported on “60 Minutes” Sunday that the gunman’s mother, Nancy Lanza, told friends that her son was brilliant, but disabled. He had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, family friends Mark and Louise Tambascio said.
Nancy Lanza was not working, and devoted her time to her son, Louise Tambascio said.
“I know he was on medication and everything, but she homeschooled him at home cause he couldn’t deal with the school classes sometimes, so she just homeschooled Adam at home. And that that was her life,” Louise Tambascio told Pelley.
Nancy Lanza, 52, was known for being friendly and gregarious, and donating time and money to charities, “60 Minutes” reported. She also made a hobby of shooting sports, and owned several guns.
Connecticut gun laws are among the strictest in the nation, but the rifle and pistols the gunman used were legal and registered to his mother, “60 Minutes” said, echoing earlier reports.
On Sunday night, questions were mounting about whether Nancy Lanza shared any of the blame.
“I know she had a gun collection and she was a real gun enthusiast. She’d go to target practice shooting with her kids on occasion,” landscaper Dan Holmes told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
Nancy Lanza lived in an upscale neighborhood of large homes, which police had sealed off more than a block from her home where had at least a dozen guns. They included two handguns and one semiautomatic rifle found in the school, and another weapon found in her son’s vehicle.
“She showed me a beautiful old rifle that she was proud of that she had purchased, and I didn’t know anything about the handguns,” said Holmes, a friend of Nancy Lanza.
The rifle was used to kill all the victims at the school. Adam Lanza then used the handgun to take his own life.
Police found Nancy Lanza lying in bed in her pajamas with a gunshot wound to the face. They also found computers in the home that had been smashed to pieces, and the FBI was trying to recover documents from the hard drives, “60 Minutes reported.”
Everyone knew Nancy Lanza at My Place, a popular restaurant she frequented. John Tambascio, the owner of the restaurant, called her a responsible gun owner.
“I can’t imagine that if Nancy did have guns they weren’t locked. She was very smart and she was brought up, I’m sure, around them,” he said.
Lanza divorced her husband, Peter Lanza, four years ago. He is a GE executive.
They have an older son, Ryan Lanza, who lives in Hoboken, N.J., and was questioned following the massacre.
Nancy Lanza benefited from her divorce settlement, according to her sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza.
“She didn’t have to work, because my brother-in-law left her very well off. (As) part of their divorce settlement, she got the house; very financially well off,” she said.
When asked why Adam Lanza targeted the school, Marsha Lanza did not know.
“I think he started at that school,” she said.
Marsha Lanza, who lives in the far northwest Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, said Adam Lanza’s suspected developmental problems were not discussed.
“I know she had issue with school. She eventually wound up homeschooling him. She battled the school district. If it was behavior, if it was learning disabilities, I really don’t know, but he was a very, very bright boy. He was smart,” Marsha Lanza told WBBM-TV, CBS 2 Chicago.
She added that Nancy Lanza kept the guns “for self-defense and no other reason, because they were not a violent family.”
Whatever the case, there was no red tape in obtaining guns for the massacre, as Adam Lanza just lifted them from his mother’s home.
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