Report Released On Sandy Hook Shooting Investigation
HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Investigators have released a long-awaited report on the Newtown school shooting, nearly a year after the massacre of 20 children and six women inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The 44-page report offers a detailed look at the shooting rampage that rocked the Connecticut town.
The Dec. 14, 2012, shooting plunged Newtown into mourning, elevated gun safety to the top of the agenda for President Barack Obama and led states across the country to re-evaluate laws on issues such as school safety.
WARNING: CONTENTS OF REPORT MAY BE VERY DISTURBING
LINK: Click Here For Full Report (pdf)
The prosecutor who led the investigation into the Newtown school shooting said it did not determine a motive for the attack.
State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III also said there is also no clear indication why gunman Adam Lanza chose Sandy Hook as the target for his rampage other than the fact that it was close to his home.
“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,” Sedensky said in a statement accompanying the report’s release. “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. With the release of this report today the investigation is closed, and no additional release of information or documents by this office is anticipated.”
The report concludes that Lanza acted alone.
Sedensky said Lanza had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and interact with others but did not affect his mental state for the crimes. Lanza had an “obsession with mass murder, in particular the Columbine shootings” in 1999, according to the report. He also was fascinated with violent video games, including one called “School Shooting.”
“There were contradictory views of him by people who knew him,” Gene O’Donnell, a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan. “But nobody thought he was going to walk into a school and shoot under these circumstances.
“It’s not very clear what the indicators are, what triggers this, what sets the person off and whether anybody could intervene,” O’Donnell added.
Lanza was carrying more than 30 pounds of guns and ammunition with him at the school and had the ability and intention to kill more than the 26 victims, the report concluded.
A timeline released with the report indicates that nearly six minutes passed between the arrival of the first Newtown police office and the time officers entered the school. The report said officers were operating under the belief there may have been more than one shooter.
Whether the delay made any difference was unclear. The report said Lanza killed himself about a minute after the first officer arrived.
Upon the release of the report, Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a statement: “My thoughts today are with the people who lost a loved one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as they have been nearly every day since the tragedy. The release of this report will no doubt be difficult on them. But if there is one thing that I believe we must do, it’s that we must honor the lives that were lost by taking steps to protect ourselves from another horror like this. I hope that the information in this summary and in the supporting documents that will be released by the State Police takes us closer to that goal.”
Conn. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who has supported efforts to enact gun-control legislation, also issued a statement, saying the report is a “gripping, graphic reminder” of the tragedy and “a testament to the bravery” of first responders.
“The lessons of this report are simple: We must improve school security, increase mental health services, and require background checks for all gun purchases so we can keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people,” Blumenthal said. “We should not wait for another gun violence tragedy to institute these reforms and other common sense measures. The cost of inaction is too great. My hope is that this report adds momentum to the push to prevent gun violence, and that it provides the families with some closure in the wake of their tremendous loss.”
The report does not name the 20 children killed in the attack, nor does it reveal the 911 calls made from inside the school on that day.
The summary report provides some of the first official answers to questions about the history of the gunman and the police response to one of the worst school shootings in American history.
The report does not include the full evidence file of Connecticut State Police, which is believed to total thousands of pages.
The decision to continue withholding the bulk of the evidence is stirring new criticism of the secrecy surrounding the investigation.
Dan Klau, a Hartford attorney who specializes in First Amendment law, said the decision to release a summary report before the full evidence file is a reversal of standard practice and one of the most unusual elements of the investigation.
“What I found troubling about the approach of the state’s attorney is that, from my perspective, he seems to have forgotten his job is to represent the state of Connecticut,” Klau said. “His conduct in many instances has seemed more akin to an attorney in private practice representing Sandy Hook families.”
Sedensky said he could not comment on Klau’s remarks.
Lanza, 20, killed his mother inside their Newtown home before driving to his former elementary school, where he fired 154 shots with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle within five minutes.
He killed himself with a handgun as police arrived.
Their relationship between Lanza and his mother was strained. The report noted “he hadn’t gone anywhere in three months, and would only communicate with her by email, even though they were living in the same house.”
The report adds that Lanza “did not have an emotional connection with his mother” and would not feel bad if anything happened to her.
Lanza’s mother, however, “took care of all his needs,” the report said. She would do his laundry and put his food in a certain way on his plate. But she wasn’t allowed to enter his room.
And despite his issues and already owning many guns, the mother wanted to buy Lanza a new pistol for Christmas and “had prepared a check for that purpose to give to the shooter,” the report said.
Nancy Lanza went to New Hampshire for three days the week of the shooting. She arrived home at 10 p.m. and was shot by her son just hours later.
Lanza suffered from Asperger’s syndrome but refused to take medication. Investigators say it’s unclear what role Asperger’s contributed to the shooting. It is an autism-like disorder not generally associated with violence.
Lanza might have hinted at his intentions online in the days before the massacre, the report indicated.
A Texas woman contacted Hartford police the day of the Dec. 14 attack to say her son had interacted with someone while playing a videogame 20 hours earlier who said there would be a school shooting, according to the report. It wasn’t clear from the report whether she contacted authorities before or after the massacre.
Also, two days before the shooting, an anonymous user posted comments online about planning to commit suicide Dec. 14 and saying it would make national news. The poster claimed to live in Connecticut.
But Sedensky said the hard drive taken from Lanza’s home was so damaged that data will probably never be extracted from it.
Warrants released in March detailed an arsenal of weapons found inside the Lanza home. But authorities have not provided details on the police response to the shooting, any mental health records for Lanza and whether investigators found any clues to a possible motive for the rampage.
“I would love to know why,” said Nicole Hockley, mother of Sandy Hook victim Dylan Hockley. “I don’t expect that to be in the police report. We’ll never know what went on in that shooter’s mind.”
Donna Soto, the mother of slain teacher Victoria Soto, said in a statement that nothing could make sense of the shooting.
“Yes, we have read the report, no, we cannot make sense of why it happened. We don’t know if anyone ever will,” Soto wrote. “We don’t know if we will ever be whole again, we don’t know if we will go a day without pain, we don’t know if anything will ever make sense again.”
Meanwhile, a Connecticut judge said he will listen to the 911 recordings from the shooting before ruling on whether they can be publicly released. New Britain Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said he plans to listen to the tapes Monday and issue his decision soon.
Prescott ruled that the recordings should continue to remain sealed while he reviews them.
The state’s Freedom of Information Commission ruled in September that the recordings should be provided to The Associated Press, but a prosecutor asked for a stay while he appeals that order.
The AP has sought the recordings in part to examine the police response to the massacre.
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