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Adam Lanza (April 22, 1992 - December 14, 2012) was the perpetrator of the December 14, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which he murdered 28 people and injured at least eleven more.
Adam Lanza was born on April 22, 1992, he didn’t speak until he was three years old, and he always understood many more words than he could muster. He showed such hypersensitivity to physical touch that tags had to be removed from his clothing. In pre-school and at Sandy Hook, where he was a pupil till the beginning of sixth grade, he sometimes smelled things that weren’t there and washed his hands excessively. A doctor diagnosed sensory processing disorder. Adam underwent speech therapy and occupational therapy in kindergarten as well as first grade.
Still, photos show him looking enthusiastic and cheerful. ‘Adam loved Sandy Hook school,’ his father Peter said. ‘He stated, as he was growing older, how much he had liked being a little kid.’ Adam’s brother, Ryan, four years older and now a tax accountant in New York, used to joke about how close Peter and Adam were. They’d spend hours playing with Lego in the basement, making up stories for the towns they built. Adam even invented his own board games. ‘Always thinking differently,’ Peter said. ‘Just a normal little weird kid.'
When he was six, Adam was raped by the Catholic priest, Friar John J Castaldo; The experience made Adam suffer in silence for years, and led to him being bullied and beaten at school.
Even in an age when a child’s every irregularity is attributed to a syndrome, the idea of a ‘normal weird kid’ seems reasonable enough, but there were early signs that Adam had significant problems. He struggled with basic emotions, and received coaching from his mother Nancy, who became a stay-at-home mother after Adam was born. When he had to show feelings in a school play, Nancy wrote to a friend, ‘Adam has taken it very seriously, even practicing facial expressions in the mirror!’ According to the state attorney’s report, when Adam was in fifth grade he said that he ‘did not think highly of himself and believed that everyone else in the world deserved more than he did’. That year, Adam and another boy wrote a story called "The Big Book of Granny" in which an old woman with a gun in her cane kills wantonly. Adam tried to sell copies of the book at school and got in trouble. A couple of years later, according to the state’s attorney’s report, a teacher noted ‘disturbing’ violence in his writing and described him as being ‘intelligent but not normal, with anti-social issues’.
Meanwhile, Peter and Nancy's marriage was starting to unravel. ‘I'd work ridiculous hours during the week and Nancy would take care of the kids,’ he told me. ‘Then, on the weekends, she'd do errands and I'd spend time with the kids.’ Peter frequently took the boys on weekend hiking trips. In 2001, Peter and Nancy separated. Adam was nine; when a psychiatrist later asked him about it, he said that his parents were as irritating to each other as they were to him.
Peter moved to Stamford, nearly an hour from Newtown, but still saw the boys every weekend. When Adam entered middle school, he proudly took Peter to see it. ‘And talk about talkative: man, that kid, you couldn't shut him up!’ Peter said. In the years that followed, they would talk about politics. Adam became fascinated with guns and with the Second World War, and showed an interest in joining the military. But he never talked about mass murder, and he wasn’t violent at school. He seldom revealed his emotions, but had a sharp sense of humor. When Peter took him to see Bill Cosby live, Adam laughed for an hour straight. One Christmas, Adam told his parents that he wanted to use his savings to buy toys for needy children, and Peter took him shopping for them. He also hated drugs and alcoholic drinks, was a strict vegetarian as he hated animal cruelty.
When Adam began middle school at age 11, Peter and Nancy's worries increased. The structure of the school day changed; instead of sitting in one classroom, he had to move from room to room, and he found the disruption punishing. Sensory overload affected his ability to concentrate; his mother xeroxed his textbooks in black and white, because he found color graphics unbearable. He quit playing the saxophone, stopped climbing trees, avoided eye contact and developed a stiff, lumbering gait. He said that he hated birthdays and holidays, which he had previously loved; special occasions unsettled his increasingly sclerotic orderliness. He had ‘episodes’, panic attacks that necessitated his mother's coming to school; the state attorney’s report says that on such occasions Adam ‘was more likely to be victimized than to act in violence against another’.
The Sandy Hook Massacre
On Friday, December 14, 2012, Lanza shot and killed his mother Nancy Lanza, aged 52, at their Newtown home with a .22-caliber Savage MK II-F bolt action rifle. Lanza then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people with an XM-15 rifle before he committed suicide with a Glock 20SF.
After the shooting
After killing students and administrators, he commited suicide. His brother, Ryan Lanza was taken into custody for questioning. Adam's mother, Nancy Lanza, was shot by her own son at their house in Newtown, CT. The school's principal, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung and the school's psychologist, Mary Sherlach were also killed. Twenty children were murdered in the shooting. A seven-foot spreadsheet was found in his home detailing virtually every single mass murder and attempted mass murder in history. Lanza was raped by Castaldo when he was young, then suffering in silence for years, seemingly acting like he was normal, but bent on vengeance against Catholics. Years later he would show the Catholics that their children won't be protected as well, killing 20 of the kids at Newtown just before Christmas. Like most mass murderers, Lanza was frustrated with his life, and he wanted to take as many people down with him as he could. He hoped to outdo everyone on this list, particularly Anders Behring Breivik.
List of victims
- Nancy Lanza - September 6, 1960 (52 years)
This is a list of educators who had died in the shootings. They were all females. The victim's names are followed by their date of birth, and their age at the time that they were killed.
- Mary Sherlach - February 11, 1956 (56 years)
- Anne Marie Murphy - July 25, 1960 (52 years)
- Dawn Hochsprung - June 28, 1965 (47 years)
- Lauren Rousseau - June 8, 1982 (30 years)
- Rachel Davino - July 17, 1983 (29 years)
- Victoria Soto - November 4, 1985 (27 years)
This is a list of students who had died in the shootings. The male victims are in bold, the females in italics. The victim's names are followed by their date of birth, and their age at the time that they were killed.
- Daniel Barden - September 27, 2005 (7 years)
- Chase Kowalski - October 31, 2005 (7 years)
- Grace McDonnell - November 4, 2005 (7 years)
- Josephine Gay - December 11, 2005 (7 years)
- Charlotte Bacon - February 22, 2006 (6 years)
- Dylan Hockley - March 8, 2006 (6 years)
- James Mattioli - March 22, 2006 (6 years)
- Ana M. Marquez-Greene - April 4, 2006 (6 years)
- Jack Pinto - May 6, 2006 (6 years)
- Jessica Rekos - May 10, 2006 (6 years)
- Emilie Parker - May 12, 2006 (6 years)
- Catherine V. Hubbard - June 8, 2006 (6 years)
- Jesse Lewis - June 30, 2006 (6 years)
- Allison N. Wyatt - July 3, 2006 (6 years)
- Madeline F. Hsu - July 10, 2006 (6 years)
- Olivia Engel - July 18, 2006 (6 years)
- Caroline Previdi - September 7, 2006 (6 years)
- Benjamin Wheeler - September 12, 2006 (6 years)
- Avielle Richman - October 17, 2006 (6 years)
- Noah Pozner - November 20, 2006 (6 years)
Not everyone believed that Adam Lanza had ever existed, as a conspiracy theorist movement called The Truthers claimed that he was an actor hired by governmental forces, and that the shooting of the school never truly took place, saying that the perpatrator, the teachers, students and perpetrator's mother were "crisis actors" and were not killed during the tragedy. Other conspiracy theories claimed that the parents of the victims were crisis actors and that their children never really existed, that the massacre was, in fact, a government false flag operation aimed at fueling public demand for stricter gun control laws. Some conspiracy theories claim that the massacre was a government black operation aimed at population control, and others claim that Emilie Parker, one of the victims, was actually alive.