Newtown probe: Shooting took under 5 minutes
Authorities say Adam Lanza killed himself after killing 20 students and six women at a Connecticut elementary school.
March 28th, 2013
01:51 PM ET

Newtown probe: Shooting took under 5 minutes

  • Prosecutors release new documents related to December's shootings at school in Newtown, Connecticut
  • Documents: Investigators found a gun safe in shooter Adam Lanza's room
  • Documents: 1,600 rounds of ammunition found in Lanza's home
  • Police say Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother, then 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut before killing himself
  • People who knew Lanza described him as quiet, smart, socially awkward. Connecticut's medical examiner has said he was told that Lanza had Asperger's syndrome.
  • Live updates below. Also, read the full story; and see the documents

[Updated at 1:51 p.m. ET] This live blog is wrapping up, but please check out our full story for the latest about today's document release.

[Updated at 1:48 p.m. ET] One of the warrants released Thursday cites an interview with a person who said that Lanza rarely left his home, that he was a shut-in, "and an avid gamer who plays Call of Duty, amongst other games." "Call of Duty" is a military-style war game.

In the house, according to the documents, were several books - one titled "NRA guide to the basics of pistol shooting," another about Asperger syndrome and one on autism. Both are developmental disorders that are not typically associated with violence.

Police also found a 2008 New York Times article about a shooting at Northern Illinois University. Police took from the house an NRA certificate for Nancy Lanza, a receipt for a shooting range in Oklahoma, a book titled "Train your brain to get happy," and three photographs "of what appears to be a deceased human covered with plastic and what appears to be blood."

As noted below, the NRA issued a statement today saying neither Lanza nor his mother were members.

[Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET] The main details of the shooting have long been known: The carnage began on the morning of December 14, when Lanza fatally shot his 52-year-old mother, Nancy Lanza, with a .22 caliber rifle.

But some of the details are new. "There was no indication of a struggle," according to a statement from Stephen J. Sedensky III, state's attorney for the judicial district of Danbury. The statement came with Thursday's release of five search warrants and related documents.

Lanza shot his mother in the forehead, one of the search warrants says.

Laden with weapons and ammunition, Lanza then went to the elementary school, shooting his way into the building where he killed the 26 victims with a Bushmaster .223 caliber model XM15 rifle, according to Sedensky.

The rampage ended when Lanza, using a Glock 10 mm handgun, shot himself.

Attached to the rifle police found a 30-round capacity magazine that still had 14 bullets Sedensky said, and a search of Lanza's body found that he was carrying more ammunition for the handguns as well as three more 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster, each fully loaded.

"Located in the area of the shootings were six additional 30-round magazines," Sedensky said in his statement, three of them empty and the others holding 10, 11, and 13 rounds. Police found 154 spent .223 caliber casings at the school.

All of the guns appear to have been bought by Lanza's mother, the state's attorney said.

[Updated at 12:59 p.m. ET] We've gotten all the documents together in one place. Here are the documents that Connecticut prosecutors released today in the Newtown investigation.

[Updated at 12:35 p.m. ET] Back to today's Newtown document release. The National Rifle Association has issued a statement, apparently reacting to what the papers say about investigators finding NRA certificates for Lanza and his mother, Nancy.

"There is no record of a member relationship between Newtown killer Adam Lanza, nor between Nancy Lanza, A. Lanza or N. Lanza with the National Rifle Association," the NRA statement said. "Reporting to the contrary is reckless, false and defamatory."

This page from one of the search warrants released in the Newtown case Thursday mentions investigators found an "Adam Lanza National Rifle Association certificate."

[Updated at 12:17 p.m. ET] President Obama's pro-gun-control event at the White House has just finished - and he referred to Newtown many times as he tried to fight against waning public support for Senate Democrats' post-Newtown gun-control proposals.

He essentially was arguing that some people are suffering from short attention spans - that people who were persuaded to support ammunition magazine limits and universal background checks immediately after the Newtown shootings might be letting their support slip because Newtown is no longer in the news every day.

"We need everybody to remember how they felt 100 days ago (after the Newtown shooting) and make sure (what we said then) wasn’t just a bunch of platitudes," Obama said.

"Now's the time to turn that heartbreak into something real."

Obama also said that "some powerful voices on the other side" want to delay action on gun legislation. "Their assumption is that people will just forget about it," the president said.

Earlier this month, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said background checks of firearms purchases won't stop gun violence, but would serve agendas of people "bent on destroying the Second Amendment." In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, he said expanded background checks would be a first step toward a liberal desire to create a national gun registry.

"In the end, there are only two reasons for government to create that federal registry of gun owners - to tax them or to take them," LaPierre said on March 15. Supporters of expanded checks deny the legislation would create such a registry.

[Updated at 12:07 p.m. ET] President Obama, at his pro-gun-control event at the White House, says the anguish is still fresh in Newtown, and that thousands of Americans' lives have been "stolen by bullets" in recent months. (WATCH LIVE)

Some background on the legislation that Obama is backing: Proposed by Senate Democrats, the package includes expanded background checks, tougher laws against gun trafficking and straw purchases, and efforts to improve school security.

He said moments ago: "This is our best chance in more than a decade" to pass what Obama believes is "common-sense gun control legislation."

Obama recalls that when he visited Newtown after the shooting, he told people there that if there's a step that Washington can take to save just one child, Washington should do it.

"None of these ideas should be controversial," Obama says.

Recent polls show support for new gun legislation on the wane, and Obama appears to be reacting to that.

"Shame on us if we've forgotten" the horrors of Newtown, Obama said. "I haven't forgotten those kids."

[Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET] President Obama's pro-gun-control event at the White House has begun. We're listening to see if he mentions Newtown. (WATCH LIVE)

Introducing Obama is Katerina Rodgaard, a Maryland dance instructor who knew one of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings. Rodgaard, representing Moms Demand Action: For Gun Sense in America, says her heart breaks for the relatives of the Newtown victims.

[Updated at 11:47 a.m. ET] An update to one of the entries below: The documents released today say that investigators found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition - not 1,400 - in the home of Nancy Lanza and her son, Adam.

[Updated at 11:43 a.m. ET] Speaking of gun control and Newtown: Pro-gun-control television ads featuring relatives of the Newtown massacre victims were released today. They're the first such ads featuring Newtown relatives.

In the spots - one is 60 seconds, the other is 90 seconds - family members talk about their loved ones and call on political leaders to embrace tougher gun laws.

[Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET] President Barack Obama in a few minutes is scheduled to make another push for stricter gun controls at an event at the White House. We'll see if he mentions any of today's Newtown developments.

The White House event comes on what advocates of tougher gun laws call a national day of action, with rallies and other gatherings planned in cities across the country.

[Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy just released this statement:

"I want to thank the Office of the Chief State's Attorney for providing this information today. In some cases, the facts really do speak for themselves, and in this case they only add starker detail to what we already knew.

“We knew that a disturbed individual entered a school and fired 154 rounds in less than 5 minutes, killing 20 innocent children and 6 dedicated educators. We knew that he had ready access to weapons that he should not have had access to. We knew that these weapons were legally purchased under our current laws. We knew he used 30-round magazines to do it, and that they allowed him to do maximum damage in a very short period of time. And we now know that he left the lower capacity magazines at home.

"This is exactly why we need to ban high capacity magazines and why we need to tighten our assault weapons ban. I don't know what more we can need to know before we take decisive action to prevent gun violence. The time to act is now."

[Updated at 11:11 a.m. ET] We just got this information about the shooting timeline - investigators estimate that it all took less than 300 seconds, a Connecticut state attorney said Thursday.

In a statement released with the documents that came out today, state attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III says that from the time that shooter Adam Lanza forced his way into the building to the moment he took his own life, less than five minutes elapsed.

[Updated at 11 a.m. ET] For a review of what we already knew about the December 14 shooting, see this timeline.

[Updated at 10:43 a.m. ET] A little bit on what we already knew about Lanza: Connecticut's medical examiner said he was told that Lanza, 20, had Asperger's syndrome. Research has not shown a link between that condition and violence.

A profile of Lanza and his mother by CNN's Ashley Fantz describes him as a quiet, smart, socially awkward young man. Nancy Lanza kept a lot of weapons, from assault rifles to handguns, at her home - people described her as a responsible gun owner who had the weapons for self-defense. The two had frequented several gun ranges over the past several years.

[Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET] Authorities found in Lanza's home a holiday card with a check made out to him "for the purchase of a C183 (firearm), authored by (his mother) Nancy Lanza," documents released today show.

[Updated at 10:03 a.m. ET] Another detail from today's document release: A search warrant of the home of Lanza's mother, Nancy, shows that investigators found more than 1,400 rounds of ammunition at the house.

[Posted at 10:01 a.m. ET] Police released new documents related to December's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, but a motive for the attack remained elusive.

Included in the new information is the report that a gun safe was found in the bedroom of 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who took guns belonging to his mother, Nancy, and shot her in her forehead in her bed. Then he went to the school in Newtown, where he gunned down 20 children and six staff members before killing himself.

Relatives of the victims were briefed Wednesday about the documents, which were released Thursday morning.

Some of the documents, released by state prosecutors, have been redacted at the prosecutors' request, said Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police.

The documents may contain new information but perhaps no big surprises, Vance said before the documents' release.

State police are continuing their investigation, which is not expected to be completed until June, he said.

Read more the full story about the documents here.

soundoff (688 Responses)
  1. deadmanwalking22

    card carrying NRA member...

    March 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. communist47

    Time to have armed guards in schools. By now, we all know gun control is not the solution. Need to encourage everyone to carry firearm concealed and take the training.
    We must accept the element of evil and criminal elements are always present. You and I have no control over any of those. The only control you and I have is to be able to protect yourself and your family.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Disillusoned

      Thats right. NRA armed the criminals, and now the NRA wants more people to have guns to protect themselves from the guns that the NRA put in the criminals hands. Perfect logic.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • KLARGAR

      You are an imecile, there are so many things wrong with your thinking I do not know where to start. So I will leave you with this. How do you like the DHS or TSA. So you want to turn this country into another Somalia how about this if you like living in an armed police state you can move to Mogadishu,I would prefer to ramp it down a few notches and just get rid of idiots like you.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobJackson

      Klargar, who are you talking to? You do a lot of name calling, but not a lot of actual debating. Do you have a point? So you don't like guns, or are afraid of guns. We get it. Unfortunately, your distaste for firearms does nothing to disarm the criminals who already have them. Like it or not, agree with how it happened or not, the guns are out there, and there's nothing that can bring them back. Buybacks? Criminals aren't going to get rid of their guns. Confiscations? Criminals aren't going to tell the authorities where they're hidden. Laws? Criminals aren't going to follow any new gun laws. Face it – the only way to reduce gun crime is to plant the seed of doubt (doubt that he's going to escape without harm to himself) in the criminal's mind that maybe someone might shoot back at him. Does he care if innocents are in the crossfire? Of course not. He's just concerned that HE himself might get hurt, and therein lies the deterrence you get when the law abiding population is armed as well as or better than the criminals.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Truth seekers will be silenced....

    March 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. charles

    Obviously these guns are to blame. If Lanza didn't have an assault rifle, he wouldn't have killed anyone and this would have never happened. Its the AR-15's fault. /sarcasm ... CHO KILLED MORE PEOPLE AT VIRGINIA TECH WITH SMALL CALIBER HANDGUNS

    March 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vox Populi

      Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

      March 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Funny that no AR-15 was found at the scene.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Yeah, the assault rifle was in the trunk of his car!

      March 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ding

      Mike...are you going off the one news station which reported that the day of and has since changed its stance as updated news was available...

      March 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      The gun found in the truck was a shot gun The Connecticut State Police posted a report in mid January detailing what guns were found where. It is on their website, go read it. The news media got a lot of information wrong the day of the shooting, including the name of the shooter, that Nancy Lanza worked at the school, that the Dad had been killed, etc.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Zachary

    First, a C183 is a camera. Unless we've started classifying cameras as firearms now. In which case, everybody with a cell phone, tablet etc is armed to the teeth!

    Second, there is no such thing as a "clip".
    Third, 30 rounds is a standard capacity magazine, not high capacity (High-cap).
    Finally, while this is a horrific crime, committed by a disturbed person, drunk drivers kill more people each year than someone like this. The drunk driving laws on the books actually punish drunk drivers, while the gun control laws on the books just punish law abiding citizens.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ding

      I agree for the most part, but why when you google C183 gun, it brings up a ton of gun pictures, but no written articles/descriptions about guns

      March 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Johnny 5

    How many times is the media going to add and subtract details from this story?

    Abbot and Costello news reporting at it's best. Who's on 3rd CNN?

    March 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. michael poland

    gun and ammo makers are tired of seeing the people blamed for what some of these people poisoned by BIG PHARMA, do with guns. and its not only guns, people are freaking out all over but cnn tries hard to push this failed agenda. someone elses mental problem is not everyones problem, just as the banker debt is not the peoples debt! gun and ammo makers are refusing to sell to the govt and NY if the people dont have the right to the same things. keep right on trying to stuff this dead kid drama dancing horse crap down peoples thoats , youve already failed at it and only serve to alienate your audience more.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    why dont all my posts appear? "Comments are not pre-sreened"? right......

    March 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Big_D

    I think it is sad that right wing folks base their entire argument on their distrust of our elected representatives. That argument is just sad to begin with. I can see how a wild hog hunter needs a larger magazine, that one story supported the need for some people's access more than all the distrust and fear combined. Can we lift the level of our discourse on this or has money and partisanship completely destroyed civil discourse? I'm sad this is such a contentious debate.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hopefulspam

    You ain't gonna stop violence brother and sisters. It is here to stay! The important thing is to not give in to fear, as the Obama administration is doing. Thanks for fanning the flames CNN. So flippin bias it is disgusting lately. Get Piers Morgan out of here!!! I used to be CNN's #1 fan!

    March 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • rICH

      Hey TEA BAG, maybe you can explain how you'd kill 26 people in five minutes with a knife?

      March 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • rICH

      Hey TEA BAG, maybe you can explain how you'd kill 26 people in five minutes with a knife? d

      March 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    engineered event....

    March 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Damian

      If you think that you need your head examined.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Me

    Wow, what a surprise. A guy who owned guns also owned ammunition and Allen wrenches. What a revelation.

    Is this supposed to prove something?

    March 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pepou27

      Only proves that assault weapons kill. And quickly. Surprise ?

      March 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jackblack101

    Stop making a tragedy a political message.. Only spineless cowards would use dead children as a means to pass a law or a set of laws that would not and WILL NOT have any effect in preventing this from happening again...

    If you want a clear cut example of how gun control laws fail... look at Chicago and its "Strictest Gun Laws in the Country"... Those laws have NO effect on curbing Chicago's gun violence....

    Feel good measures DO NOT WORK

    March 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Only a spineless coward would walk into an elementary school, heavily armed, and open fire on 6 year old children. At this point, it is political. People are dying because morons feel like they have to have semi-automatic rifles with high capacity clips to, what, go hunting? You want a hand gun, fine. You want your hunting rifle? Go for it. Why do you need a military issue (i.e. for WAR) assault rifle? If these guns were not allowed on the open market at all, maybe none of these kids would be dead. I don't want my freedoms violated, but I also don't want my 10 year old scared to go to school or a movie because some wacko got hold of an assault rifle and a ton of ammo. If you can think of a better way, I'd love to hear it. Seems nobody is interested in speaking up when they see someone who is severely mentally impaired.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackblack101

      Weapons don't kill unless someone uses that weapon, however, since you think these weapons are so bad, then you should also ask for bans on baseballs bats, knives, shoes, hands, feet, pencils, pens, wiring, bricks, dirt, bleach, other household chemicals... Get the point? Anything can be used to cause a tragedy, you can't lawyer personal and parental responsibility that's the communities job, not the government.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Damian

      You wou;dn't be saying that if it was your kid that got killed. No one needs 30 round mags.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick in Wisconsin

      They why are you trying to politicize this event? It seems only the pro-gun nuts are freaking out over this because you all seem to bight on slippery slope fallacies these days. Look in the mirror dude. if you need an assault weapon to feel safe, YOU are the spineless coward who doesn't know how to deal with problems like normal adults.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackblack101

      On the contrary I don't need a weapon to prove anything to anyone and I'm more than capable of taking care of things with just my bare hands. Personal responsibility and knowing when and when not to use those hands in a manner to hurt or kill another is something that can't be written down in some law... A gun needs a human hand to pull the trigger...

      March 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Really??

    A pistol won't do the job?? U need an ar15????

    I consider myself to be a libertarian but c'mon... Why limit it to an ar15 when we should all have rocket launchers(. Seriously I don't want to miss if I'm being attacked).

    March 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      Read up on the ar-15. It's a great design, easy to maintain, and can be customized easily. That's why I own one. It's no more powerful than any other rifle.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dewey

      You know, rocket launchers are actually fairly hard to shoot. Try hitting a person with one, I bet ten dollars you'd miss the person.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    to get public support for more gun control. Wake up sheep!

    March 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
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