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. shane

    He looks like 1 of the beetles. And he owns an allen wrench.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DC Observer

    Mr President – stop fibbing to America. Your party, the democratic party, has a majority in the Senate, and the democrats did not pass a ban on assault guns -Harry Reid would not even put it in the Senate bill Instead of always blaming "folks on the other side" for once stand up to your own party and Ask Harry Reid to reconsider the vote and ban assault weapons - Your words of criticism against the GOP ring hollow when you will not call out your own party

    March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      Both sides of the aisle are equally duplicitous in this tragedy because they are too busy pointing their fingers at the other side with one hand while grabbing as much NRA money as possible with the other.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike hunt

      yes, force these Ritilan induced kids to use larg calibre hand guns to commit mass murder. The ammo is cheaper.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. callen

    that's funny....even fox has this on their headlines

    March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Richard

    They make it up as they go along....

    she was a responsible gun owner huh? Smell that?

    March 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike hunt

      they were in a safe.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    The Pesident keeps talking about people forgetting as the days go on, but nobody has forgotten that tragic day less than 100 days ago!!! Absolutely people getting guns should have background checks!!! But all of this nonsense about these laws they want to put into effect like magazine amounts and types of guns that a law abiding citizen should be able to get is hinder on America's 2nd Amendment Right!!! And it doesn't matter what laws they put into effect, the criminal is going to get possession of guns illegally by any means necessary anyway!!! So once again the only people these laws will hurt are the ones that actually abide by the laws!!!

    March 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Phil

    C 183 ????? is that like a BS 3/28 ?? I have no doubts that this creature committed this horror. To use this tragedy to further ones agenda is also horrible.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John snow

    every single mass shooter in the recent passed has been mentally ill and taking Ritalin or some other form of it.

    Dont believe me? look it up.
    Still dont? read the side-effects on a bottle of Ritalin.
    still dont? you can take the horse to the lake, but you cant force it to drink

    March 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stew22

      The one fact that no one wants to talk about. The other is that he left his assault weapons in the trunk of his car. Killed those kids with 2 handguns.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Antronman

    Is anybody else sick of hearing about this shooting? It was a tragedy, and nobody enjoys talking about this. I don't care how many guns or bullets he had. This sucker deserves something terrible, and that's that. But don't make us remember about this. Not right when we forget.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Freeman in the Republic of Texas

    96 Murdered Babies EVERY 300 Seconds

    Their brains vacuumed out;
    their arms and legs pulled off;
    their tiny hearts shredded;
    their little skulls crushed.
    Delicate fingers and toes
    just "medical waste"

    Murdered for simply being inconvenient.

    The premeditated, cold blooded murder,
    of innocent and defenseless pre-born babies
    with unique DNA takes place over 3,600 times
    every day in America.

    8 hour day x 60 minutes = 480 minutes

    480 minutes x 60 seconds = 28800 seconds

    28800 divided by 300 seconds = 96
    DEAD BABIES per EVERY 300 seconds

    EVERY WORK DAY IN AMERICA

    FORWARD >>> >>> >>> >>>
    WE care... For the children !!!

    March 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Will

    Why don't you guys have a story from newer than 5 months ago. I know you want to rally support for gun control and you are having a slow news day, but damn. We already know this story.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ar45

    NRA will be disappointed. Only 26 dead in less then 300 sec. They will argue for a larger clip. Long live NRA.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rogue351

    This proves that we as a nation should have better control over who is able to buy weapons. It proves that "avid gun owners" are just as much of the problem than criminals. More so because, so called "responsible gun owners" are the ones that have let ALL of the guns flood our streets and arm the criminals of America. Had, the "Responsible Gun Owner" actually been responsible they would not have let their weapons be stolen. They would not have sold weapons they purchased to people that should not have weapons. The so called "Responsible Gun Owner" is the problem. We know that criminals are going to try and get guns. However the so called "Responsible Gun Owners" backed by the NRA tell people that guns are safe with their member. If that was actually the truth we would not have as many illegal guns on the streets because the "Responsible Gun Owner" would have done more to protect their weapons. It is the "Responsible Gun Owner" that has ultimately put our second amendment right in jeopardy by not being as Responsible as they claim to be. And now they, along with the NRA want a do over. What makes ANYONE think the "Responsible Gun Owner" is actually going to be more responsible this time around ? The GOP / Tea party is always telling the Liberals to take responsibility for their actions and there life. Well, when are "Responsible gun owners" actually going to become responsible ? Answer, they are not. They believe that they can buy as many guns as they want, sell them to whomever they want, have them stolen and not be responsible because it is the criminals fault. It is the Gun Owners Responsibility to protect the weapons they purchase. Along with freedom come responsibility and the people buying and selling these guns have not been responsible.

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

    Notice the variations of ammo in the make believe bag? And he didn't have the weapons on him to use them. If he planned this...why have ammo for guns he didn't bring?

    March 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • RC Roeder

      Make believe bag? I gather you consider this make believe bags was used for this make believe shooting that is a government conspiracy to take guns away from people.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    Stop putting this kids face on the front page. I am sick of looking at him.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      he's cute!

      March 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. scott

    Slow news day? It doesn't matter if someone has 40000 rounds or 26 individual bullets. A cold killer is a cold killer.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • speltomqt

      A cold killer with a knife is less deadly than a cold killer with a semi-automatic and hundreds of rounds of ammo.

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