Investigators' final report on last year's school massacre in
Newtown provided new insights into Nancy Lanza's home life with her
troubled adult son and renewed the debate over whether she bears any
responsibility for the bloodbath that began with her shooting death.
"I think that we will always be bewildered by someone who did
express her concern for her son, why she sought to have him engage
with firearms," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday. "Not even those
folks who oppose reasonable gun safety legislation would argue that
it was a good idea to have someone who was evidencing this kind of
disturbance have possession of the kinds of weapons that he had
Adam Lanza's fascination with violence was apparent to teachers and
other acquaintances, investigators said in their report. He
collected materials on mass killings and kept a spreadsheet ranking
of mass murders.
But his mother wasn't allowed to enter his bedroom, according to the
report, and it was unclear how much she knew about his obsession.
While the details released Monday led some observers to direct their
anger at her, suggesting she was more enabler than victim, others
were more sympathetic.
A friend of hers, Marvin LaFontaine, said Tuesday that she did her
best raising her son even though he was difficult and resisted help
from others or talking about issues such as other children picking
"That really frustrated her," LaFontaine said. "It just wore her
down to the bone."
James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in
Boston, said Nancy Lanza didn't ignore her son's psychological
problems and can't be blamed for his actions.
"She was a victim, not an accessory," he said. "We can easily
second-guess parents, and there's a lot there we can question, but
the fact of the matter is many people commit horrible crimes despite
the best efforts of parents, siblings and others."
Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother in the head four times Dec. 14, then
drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 20
first-graders and six women with a semi-automatic rifle. He
committed suicide as police arrived.
The report detailed some of the family's efforts to address the
needs of a young man described as withdrawn, lacking an appreciation
of others' feelings, and beset with "significant mental health
He had evaluations of many types over the years, he was
home-schooled for a period because he did not like the noise at
Newtown High School, and he refused medications and behavior
therapies that were suggested for him.
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Some parents of other troubled young adults said they can understand
what Nancy Lanza was going through.
Peggy Sinclair-Morris, a special education teacher in Midlothian,
Va., said it was like the "wild, wild West" as she tried to find the
right treatment for her 18-year-old daughter, who has an anxiety
disorder and has attempted suicide several times. If your child does
not have certain symptoms, she said, you can get passed around by
"I feel empathy for his mom just because, like I said, you try to
find the services, and when they're not available, you try to do
what you have to do to help your kids," Sinclair-Morris said. "Just
because your son committed that horrible act doesn't mean she was a
Nancy Lanza, who was divorced from Adam's father, indicated that she
did not work because of her son's condition. In their spacious
Newtown home, she catered to his requests, cooking to his
specifications and getting rid of a cat because he did not want it
in the house.
In the weeks before the massacre, she said her son hadn't gone
anywhere in three months and that they would communicate only by
email, even though they lived under the same roof.
She often took her son shooting at a gun range. She legally
purchased all the weapons her son carried the day of the massacre,
and she had written a check to buy him a pistol for Christmas.
The report said that she was concerned about her son, but that she
never expressed fear that she or anyone else was in danger from him.
He was never violent or threatening toward others before the attack,
according to the report.
A spokesman for Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, didn't respond to a
request for comment.
Press; MICHAEL MELIA]
Associated Press writers
Susan Haigh and John Christoffersen in New Haven contributed to this
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