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. Not Reckless Association

    And arming teachers would have prevented this? The NRA needs to step back or is it forward instead into the modern era. Why don't the pick up a bible of which they are so proud to have direct contact w/ god and put down their guns and ammo. Or r they too small to be brave?

    March 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clingy Republican.

      An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.
      -Jeff Cooper-

      those who abide by the law would not have had a firearm in the school that day, further legislation on the inocent will do nothing to stop the actions of a madman.
      Wake up

      March 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jim

    The emotion has died down and people are once again returning to logic, and now Obama is trying to stir up the emotion again to get useless laws passed? I've generally been a supporter of Obama, but I really wish he'd drop the anti-gun crusade and focus on more important things that might actually accomplish something.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      I voted for Obama. I'm not a republican. I'm voting 100% republican and in line with NRA ratings as long as this issue is on the table.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Schmitty

    @ It is a terrible Headline

    Your reasoning has no basis when the likes of Timothy McVeigh killed way more people in the Oklahoma bombing using everyday household items to make a bomb.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      By those same products in those same amounts and see where it gets you. Trust me you see your life change just because you made that purchase. These things are tracked now.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bill

    Talk about going to great lengths to keep a liberal agenda on life support....

    March 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BobJackson

    The trend the gun opponents are seeing isn't about people losing interest or forgetting what happened. It's about people returning to a place where they can think logically and rationally, instead of emotionally. Laws based on emotional knee jerk decision making tend to be ineffective at best, and destructive at worst, and don't tend to have any staying power once emotions have calmed down.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Wayne Flower

      Agreed. And now that the bill is not going to the floor CNN has timed it perfectly to bring the debate up again. Let's freshen this story again.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      I feel the same about guns as I did before the shooting and 10 years ago. They need to be regulated at the very least. We can't just let anyone go into a gun show and buy whatever they want without background checks. To many criminals are getting them with the greatest of ease. I am a hunter and a gun owner. I don't see why you need a gun that can shoot 30 rounds in a second but if you do want it I want to be damn sure you aren't some nut that will take this into the movie theater and shoot it up. If I had my way I would ban them but I will compromise and say at least do extensive background checks on the people buying them and they need to re-up on these checks on a yearly or semi-yearly basis. We regulate driving more than we do fire arms and the gun violence in this country is disgusting. To do nothing about this problem to is just to allow it again. Newton isn't an isolated incident, it is becoming far too common in our society.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AD

    Have we clarified if a C183 is a camera or a firearm??

    March 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean T

      haha, that's exactly what I was thinking....I love how the media this morning was claiming it was a "C183 firearm" when they apparently don't have any idea what they are talking about.

      to my knowledge there is no such thing as a C183 firearm, but there is however a Kodak C183 camera.

      the media is reckless and spreading lies.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. manomundo

    Deep down, the public likes murderers. That's why they love Amanda Knox so much.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. StephenK

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Guns are only an issue when somebody wants to mow down 26 kids in 5 minutes time; rocks and knives won't enable that kind of murder.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Yes, "people" kill "people". That is why we should be doing background checks on "people" before giving them killing machines.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James

    Based on the FBI report, we know he left magazines with rounds still in them on the floor. This means he changed magazines at will. So 7rd, 10rd, 30rd, whatever, he had plenty of time to do what he wanted and felt no need to empty magazines firing every round in them. So the whole Media and political naming of standard capacity magazines as "High Capacity" and trying to ban them is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

    1,400 rounds of ammunition. Not sure what the point is. I have taken more than that with me when I headed to the range to spend some time shooting. Since ammo is sold in 20, 25, 50, 100 or 500 round boxes... 1,400 rounds is like having a little gas in the car. Interesting that the report lists boxes of ammo in .303 British when no gun in that caliber which is larger and more powerful that the .223 of the AR15, was found.

    I find it interesting that he choose to take the AR and let the shotgun. The shotgun would likely have left a much wider path of death and destruction behind him. The AR fires 1 .2 inch bullet each time you pull the trigger, the 12ga with buckshot would have fired 9 .3 inch balls with each pull of the trigger..

    March 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean T

      James it's because you're looking for logic to why the left and the media are clamoring for gun control when there is none. There is not understanding of firearms, the actual term assault weapon and what it really means and the fact that as you point out, the shotgun would have dealt great damage. Imagine what one could do with a semi auto 12 guage like an Benelli M4. Scary to imagine.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Stefan Hennessey

    Doesn't matter if it's an "old" story. You have to remember incidents like this or people like you forget about them and forget why there needs to be more regulation against guns in this country, ignorance is bliss for you I guess, as for most others.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dhondi

    This type of hyperbole is their bread and butter.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dhondi

    Stefan, regulation hasn't is just a gesture.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dana

    I don't care if Lanzas were members of NRA. NRA supports lack of any gun control which indirectly leads to such tragedies. Do NRA leaders' children go to public schools or private? Maybe for a change they'd go to public ones.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. davisn4

    A C183 is not a firearm....great research work by the crack CNN team once again.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • StephenK

      Hey, smart guy, that is a direct quote from the police search warrant dated December 16. You want a journalist to start editing direct quotes from law enforcement now?

      March 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. StephenK

    1,400 rounds isn't that much? Compared to whom, a National Guard armory?

    March 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
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