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. Dongfu

    The kid was a wack job. his mom knew it and said nothing. Same with the guy that attacked gabby Gifford. His parents knew he was unbalanced but didn't get him any help. Laws mean nothing when society sits around unwilling to say anything or do anything until after the fact. We don't need new gun laws. We need to enforce the ones that are already on the books. "See something, say something" was the motto after 911. Same motto stands for people who want to break the law and cause harm to others. Gun, stick, knife – we can't blame the weapon. Instead the blame is on the criminals and those who are silent about their crimes

    March 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ltcolbob

    Thanks NRA! He couldn't have done it without you!

    March 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Really? The NRA is at fault for Adam Lanza murdering his mother and then murdering 25 other innocents? Perhaps the you should first review the facts that the young man needed psychiatric care and that the mother should have removed the firearms from the house if she considered her son to be a danger to others. Unfortunately, she paid the ultimate price for the idea that she could best care for her son.
      The NRA is not to blame for this tragedy. Instead, we need to look at proper medical care for people who have mental illnesses.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jewlry

    IS Gibby Gaffords there?

    March 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Scott

    While I'm interested to learn more about the shootings, it's irresponsible to put "Breaking News: 26 Dead..." at the top of your website, in reference to an attack that happened months ago.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Just because it's not breaking news to you, doesn't mean it's not breaking news. For me, the significance is understated to say the least. Only in a society armed to the teeth can a loser kill this fast.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. alan

    I am against gun control and Osama obama

    March 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ltcolbob

      Sounds like you're also against anything beyond a 3rd grade education.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lord Toronaga

    Yawn. No amount of talk from gassy liberals will make me want to ban assault rifles and hi-caps. Not Happening. That Giffords astronut can take a hike also. HA HA on being denied on his weapons purchase.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • TW

      All the anti-gun rhetoric from liberals has done is to have the opposite effect.... gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      Yeah, it is OK for the gun shop owner to deny Mark Kelly's second amendment rights, not to mention his first amendment rights, because he does not agree with him? Hypocrite much?

      March 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. WAKEUP48

    The media’s obsession with blaming the Sandy Hook tragedy on gun rights has meant questions surrounding what medication Lanza was on and whether it contributed to his rampage have remained unanswered. Almost every mass shooter in recent history was taking or had just come off one form of psychotropic medication, a connection that is routinely downplayed by the establishment and the media, who in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy instead blamed the massacre on the second amendment.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ltcolbob

    Thanks NRA. He couldn't have done it without you!

    March 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    Our Governor Malloy has missed the point. This kid was meticulously planning this crime for years. He was a ticking time bomb that clearly demonstrated he was resourceful and driven to kill. He would have used anything to achieve his objective. The guns and magazines could have been easily replaced by a home made bomb (thanks to CNN, we all know an ANFO device can easily be fashioned with a trip to the hardware store). The fact that he was mentally ill with Asperger's Syndrome and had access to firearms was a horrible lapse in judgement by his mother. The killer clearly was not managed properly and his obsession with mass murder came to fruition only after his irresponsible mother provided him with the means to accomplish his most horrific goal. The focus should be on the cause of the tragedy instead of the low hanging fruit of the tools that he used. An assault rifle ban/magazine ban wouldn't have stopped him from achieving his goal. Better mental health care stood a way better chance of identifying this kid's repressed anger and may have intervened to stop him from doing harm. Now, because of the act of one madman, the Governor feels it proper to exact revenge against all law abiding gun owners and drive a $1.7 billion tax dollar manufacturing business out of state. Now the media is furiously stirring the pot creating more emotiion. Emotion doesn't help you think clearer, it is more likely to fuel a rage based decision. That's what emotion does to your judgement, it clouds it.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • callen

      now....apply that emotion thing to the people screaming about the second amendment and "how obama's taking our guns" O_o

      March 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KMCPHX

    1st, this is a tragedy, always will be and it breaks the heart.

    2nd, stop talking about this guy as there is probably another nutjob planning something that will overshadow this.

    3rd, a question on the the "300 seconds or 5 minutes," if you read the timeline link, it states that "Police and other first responders arrived on scene about 20 minutes after the first calls" and then continues to say "The gunman took his own life, police said. He took out a handgun and shot himself in a classroom as law enforcement officers approached, officials said" Sorry, I must be an ignorant and not very smart, but to me, the math does NOT add up.

    With all the comments about the mother, RIP, shares some responsibility, I fully agree. I own firearms and they are in my name which makes me responsible as long as I own them. I take that responsibility very seriously and I am the ONLY one who knows how to operate our safe.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Terry

    The C183 is a camera, made by Kodak. It is not a firearm.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Captain

    This was no Single Killer. It was a group, if in fact it actually happened. Early police calls mentions another pair of men in the woods. Evidence points that this was a staged Wag The Dog event to get gun control. See Veterans Today for reports. Something stinks about these "facts" and conclusions.

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

      Is that tinfoil or did you just highlight your hair?

      March 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Captain's a perfect example of someone not seeking help and/or taking their meds.

      I just hope he's not my neighbor.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • ar45

      Nuts.

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

      Listen "Captain" medication for psychiatric issues MUST be taken, and taken at the proper dose and at the prescribed times. PLEASE read your bottles and follow the instructions.

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

      Captain must have laced his Kool-aid with more than water. Try reading the FACTS instead of putting out garbage that has nothing to do with the truth. I agree, you should seek professional help.

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

      Whether this person is right or wrong about Newtown doesn't give people right to 1)discredit his opinion, 2) Call him nuts, 3) tell him to seek help. Simply read his comment and move on. There is information out there regarding the conspiracy which asks a lot of questions. You don't have to believe it, but everyone has the right to their own opinion and shouldn't be made fun of for it.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ADam

      The X-Files aren't real bud.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Need a tissue Ben?

      Awww, someone called him out for the nutcase that he is. I hope he's your neighbor and has lots of guns.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. James Poster

    Based on finding that Lanza was allowed to have his own gun safe and weapons, we can now see that Adam did at least kill one deserving person; his mother. Her negligence and stupidity led directly to the deaths of so many innocent people. I hope at least other parents with troubled children can learn something from this tragedy.

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

      100% agree. But a lot of people will remain ignorant to this fact.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Damian

      Wow that's harsh! But was the mother thinking letting a kid with mental problems have access to the weapon?

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

      Really his mothers stupidity? To say something like that about a woman that was shot by her own son shows that you have no emotional soul or feeling what so ever.

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

      Yea, heven forbit a kid have a .22

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

      You're letting anger and some self-sense of justice get in the way of your better common sense. If the mom made mistakes, that's one thing, but deserving of murder? By all accounts she was working all her life to get this boy the help he needed – parents fail with the best of intentions.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Remix

      Sorry Madison - but the truth hurts. James' post is spot on.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      The gun safe belonged to his mother. It was in the house. Be responsible when reporting.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Remix

      Point is that Adam was trained by his mother and had full access, Craig - not responsible gun ownership there

      March 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Don't matter who's safe it was. The mother knew the kid was shooting and had access to the safe.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pepou27

    That's right. Guns open fire by themselves, we all know that.

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

      Two dead in CA just in the last few months. Shot themselves just trying to take their rifles outta their pick-up trucks.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • USDude

      They open fire by themselves and they also multiply by themselves – I can prove it – I started out only owing a Glock 19 and now (I'm not sure how it happened) I have a baby Glock 26. 😉

      March 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dennis

    This is uncalled for at the expense of the Newton kids. First identify tht the shooter had to kill his own mother first before he got to the school! Second the issue is to require doctors to report on a database the mentally ill so that proper actions can take place. The criminals will always find a way to execute their plan. The wrong answer is the ban on assault weapons and high capacity mags. That is not the solution, first improve background checks. Second require laws on the mentally ill. These are the steps to ensure gun saftey!

    March 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Damian

      I hear what you are saying but why does anyone need a high capaicty mag? And don't you agree you can take out a lot more people in a shorter time with a 30 round mag than just a pistol or rifle? I mean come on it is pretty obvious.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Damian

      Also .........I do agree with the controls you mention. Those should be the steps we should all be able to agree on.

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

      Damian, it takes 2 seconds to swap out a mag. If he was limited to 10 round mags, your talking adding an extra 4 seconds to his spree. Its already reported that he would chang mags before entering a room despite still having rounds left in the existing mags (something he apparently learned from video games). So its quite possible he only shot 10 rounds per 30 round mag anyway.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Great idea – "require laws for the mentally ill".

      Dude.. if they're ill, they don't care about laws. You CANT TREAT them all. Treatment is not the only solution for this.

      Access to guns is. Rounds per second is.

      Nobody needs a gun that fires that fast. If the government wants to take your stuff, they'll come with tanks and planes and RPGs and your little AR15 isnt' going to make a difference. It's a stupid argument.

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

      Sorry Fred, I wasnt aware you were given the athority to decide what anyone "needs".

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