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 (672 Responses)
  1. Clingy Republican.

    John, Bad people do bad things.....I'll come out from behind my blanket when you remove your head from the sand.

    Evil exists, I choose not to be a victim when it visits me....I have been a victim, never will again. Sure wish I lived in your utopia where it didnt need to be vigilant.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bombastus

    The argument that we need to be armed to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government no longer holds water. Maybe in 1790 but not now. We would need to be as well armed as the potential tyrant which means drones, F-16 fighters, bazookas, etc….all of which we can't legally own. No amount of assault rifles is going to protect us from the sort of stuff our army has. Maybe people just feel safer with their AK47 nearby to protect them from those Obama liberals but if Uncle Sam wants to get you, there is not a whole lot you can do about it.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom

    Indisputable facts.
    Only a gun can quickly kill several people trying to run away.--– cross bow is concievable
    Only a gun can kill a victim trying to stay safe in a locked car. -- hammer or bat would be sufficient to break windows
    Only a gun can kill someone driving by or fleeing in a car.--- arrow or use another car to run fleeing car of the road
    Only a gun can kill at a distance many times arm's length.-– ever hear of an arrow?
    Ooppps ... I disputed disputable facts.... my bad
    Only the NRA and their disciples think those are good attributes for a consumer product.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    BREAKING NEWS – Shooter had bags of Potato Chips in his pantry!....Experts estimate the Shooter ate 1600 Potato chips just days before the shooting.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dash

    Boycott CNN!!!

    March 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      So the boycott includes going onto the website, logging in to leave a message? A genius you are.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    The people who show unwavering support for owning alot of guns are proof positive that social darwinism lives. They sit on the lower end of the food chain, unable to bring themselves up due to a clear lack of intelligence.

    I mean, acting like we have American Indians in the backyard looking for white man scalps, or believing that owning a hand gun or rifle is going to repel a Predator Drone or missiles from a helo, that's effed up. And thinking not based in reality.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • bfpiercelk

      Thinking that any where near a majority of gun owners think that way is far more out of whack with reality, but you'll never admit to that one...

      March 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • nuclear mike

      Arm Up America!!!

      March 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      That is very close-minded. Have you ever even left your state?

      March 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Defakto227

      Making broad generalizations about a population is evidence of a lack of intelligence. Not everyone that owns multiple firearms is ignorant or unintelligent, just the people that are the most vocal about it come off as ignorant and unintelligent.

      Any time you take a definitive, extreme stance on something, you display a lack of intelligence and critical thinking skills.

      A simple case in point. Saying, "All killing is bad." Is a horribly ignorant statement. Unless you've never swatted a mosquito, eaten meat, or eaten anything that sustained life at a cellular level.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • CBruce

      If the government is using Predator drones and missiles against it's citizens, I think we've got bigger issues than how many guns someone owns.

      March 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |


    March 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • sybaris

      Tin hats on sale at WalMart

      March 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Um, that was her sister. Do try not to listen to Alex Jones. Think about THAT.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • JackStraw63


      March 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gerard

    Hey, how many assualt weapons are there in America today? I mean, what if we were to collect them all, and send them to Syria? Just think what a difference they would make if defeating that tyrant King Hussein! We could supply all the freedom fighters there, and have some left over to send to Bahran. They could be used to defeat that evil guy who wants to destroy Israel! Yeah, that's the ticket! Le'ts get cracking!

    March 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy

      Let them buy their own guns!

      March 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • nuclear mike

      Arm Up America!!!

      March 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Devils fan

      LOL will you be the one to collect them? the cops around the country have already shown there un-willingness to help Obama and the Anti gun crowd....Obama lost the military vote at 5 to 1. Who comes to collect them? You?.....good luck

      March 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tracy

    I have at least that many rounds!

    March 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      No kidding! When I go to the range to relax, I usually fire around 150-300 rounds. Maybe more if I make a day of it at an outdoor range. It's cheaper if you buy in bulk, so I usually have around 1500 to 3000 rounds in the house at any one time. I am a responsible gun owner with all my ammunition and guns kept in a large gun safe.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. david

    this whole story is a fabrication...check into it.

    March 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Tell that to the parents of 20 dead children. And please take your foil cap off.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JC

    what happened to no rifle being found in the school? They pulled it out of the trunk? And now almost a dozen "30 round magazines"?

    March 28, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wowzers

    1600 rounds of miscellaneous calibers does not make any case for the restriction of guns or ammo. his 'stockpile' is small and disorganized. don't give him too much credit. he was just a crazy who needed help, and didn't get it.

    March 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob Jones

      Please quit trying to interject facts while the liberals that don't know anything about firearms are busily ginning up "feelings" based on their utter ignorance of the topic. It isn't fair.

      Having an assortment of firearms and 1600 rounds of ammunition describes about half the houses in our state... and we have a substantially lower crime rate than the gangland that Obama wants to base his gun laws on.

      March 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. numbnut

    I think we all know that a gun doesn't get up by itself, and starts shooting. Us humans are all capable of snapping in a single second. Just pay attention on when you are driving, and someone cuts you off. I will bet 9 out of 10 people get furious. SNAP!! And people want guns. SNAP!

    March 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tony

    1,600 rounds of ammo . headline is so misleading , it makes you think he had that many rounds for a ar when at least 600 were for .22 lr , way to get people fired up for no reason and irrelevant to the place of the shooting.

    March 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WouldYouLookAtThat

    1600 rounds?? Most of which are .22LR... that's a big deal to you, CNN? I have at least that many rounds of 9mm, .223/5.56, and .40 S&W... each. I buy in bulk everytime I happen to see it on sale, and I've done it that way for years. When my fiance and I go to the range, it's at least a 200-300 round trip. We go at least twice a month.

    March 28, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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