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. Anatoly

    It is hard to get people to understand that the goal of the media is not to inform, but to control. By controlling the information they control their audience and that is how the media maximizes their profits. The goal of the media is the same as that of all dictators – control the information and you control the minds of the people
    They bombard us with non-stop images of war, death, disease, lust, greed and hatred to sap our will to resist them; then poison our skies and food to remove us from the equation altogether.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Letstalkfacts

      Paranoia strikes deep into your life it will creep

      March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. MaryM

    So, it appears the mother is to blame for this mentally disturbed child having guns. What can be done about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill?

    March 28, 2013 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • admiralbrown

      I'm sure she meant well, but maybe archery would have been a better hobby for her son. So much for legally obtained guns don't kill people.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • beck

      how about treating the mentally ill for free

      March 28, 2013 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      The mother is NOT to blame if you are simply going off of the assumption that she wrote him a check to purchase a 'firearm' or rather C183. There is NO SUCH THING as a C183 that is a firearm. A C183 is a Kodak EasyShare Camera.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • MaryM

      George, I am not going on the assumption on the check. She purchased ALL the guns This mentally disturbed child had. What can be done to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. weepingjebus

    Not a single mention of the 7-foot long spreadsheet that police uncovered showing that Adam Lanza had spent years tabulating every significant murder in the U.S., with the clear goal of getting the "high score" that a crazed video game shooter addict like him so desperately wanted? Even a cursory Google search turns up multiple, credible articles about this. The guns were his tools, but the motivation - again, nurtured over years - was to turn real life into his preferred video game reality. That CNN goes out of its way to not figure this out shows that their own motives here are suspect as well.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andrew

    As some have already stated, in order to even be a safe and responsible gun owner, shooting a few hundred rounds per trip to a gun range, is necessary. The only thing worse than criminals running rampant with guns, are citizens who aren't properly trained in how to responsibly handle their firearms. Using the number of rounds in the headline is slant journalism and irresponsible at best.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. AdrianM

    why are they filling in the blanks c183(Firearm), there is not firearm that is a c183. im pretty sure that its a camera.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bonnie Eaton

    I am one of those that questions the official media and law enforcement reports. I no longer trust any of our sources. I now examine these reports to see how it all fits in to my monitoring of the police state that America has become.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. jerpell

    Lanza is the face of the Democrat party......Let no tragedy go to waste!....Pathetic how the Democrat party uses this tragedy to fuel its own agenda!...The Democrats will pick at the scab of this tragedy until they bleed it to death yet again!

    March 28, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • MaryM

      jerpell, your comment is nothing but hyperbole

      March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. snipesroy

    Why dont you guys find some godd, uplifting news and quit putting this guys pic up and making him famous..... Guns may have killed those kids, but the media helps create these monsters and glorifies them. The media wants you to remember the name of the monster, but NOT the name of the victims, because they could care less about the victims......that dont sell news

    March 28, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • alex

      Amen to that. Let's honor the victims. What does it matter what this guy's motive was. He was a disturbed person with a gun. That's it. The more we focus on him the more we are immortalizing a psychopath.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. George

    I don't see any verification of the idea floating around that his mother was preparing for economic disaster and the expected bands of criminals that would invade Newtown looking for food? Where did she get THOSE crazy ideas? If that is true. I'd like to see more information from her computer.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio Alvarez

      she was probably an Alex Jones fan, listening to his paranoia.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. j Howard

    Videotape stills of Adam Lanza on the school campus need to be released by the police to provide proof he was armed with an AR-15, just as stills from the Columbine killers were released. This would put to bed all speculation about whether or not Adam Lanza used an AR-15 to commit the murders.
    This evidence is still being held from the public? Why?

    March 28, 2013 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. TanjaK

    Really, 1,400 rounds of ammunition for self-defense?!? I will never understand the gun policies in this country. Get over your right to bear arms, this is completely outlived by hundreds of years of evolvement. You do realize that you are restricted in other areas of your life, e.g. seatbelts, helmets for motorcyclists, no naked people on TV, yet violence all over the place. For a European, this is a no-brainer. You can keep your hunting rifles and a gun for protection, but all that other miliatry weaponry does not belong in anybodies hands.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Yeager

      Based on the reality of your "hundreds of years of evolvement" I am more convinced than ever that free individuals not only have a right to be armed but a responsibility to be armed. Adam Lanza is a product of YOUR evolution, not mine.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • DS

      1. Ammo apparently comes in boxes of like 500 so 1,400 rounds isn't unusual
      2. The weapons used in this killing spree were not military-grade weapons – only the military has access to those
      3. Violence has been all over the place since Adam and Eve or since we climbed out of the trees (depending on your beliefs)
      4. You can never completely eliminate anything. People don't always wear helmets or seatbelts even if it means breaking the law. Kinda like how crazed killers break the law too.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    Kid looks like a young LURCH from the Adam's Family.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Free Man in the Republic of Texas


    make good law.

    Progressives do not want to hurt the "feelings"
    of WHITE males under 30 with Schizophrenia by having
    them immediately reported to the federal gun check
    system upon diagnoses.

    Too extreme ! Too judgmental ! Privacy invaded !


    Since they are NOT reported; when a gun check is run;
    they check out just fine. The law has been followed.
    Government fails again... Children die.

    My step son after several stays in state mental hospitals
    and MONTHS (not days) (not weeks) after being diagnosed
    with Paranoid Schizophrenia
    was able to purchase a shotgun with NO problem whatsoever.

    To this day it is unclear whether he intended to use it on himself;
    or on my wife and I; or other un-armed citizens.

    He was NEVER REPORTED to the gun check system.
    So when during a full blown mental melt down; (off his meds)
    something NOT uncommon in people with Schizophrenia

    he checked out just fine;
    and could purchase whatever firearms he wanted just like anyone else.

    By the way it would have been just as easy for him to purchase
    "High Powered Military Style Assault Rifle with High Capacity Magazines."

    It took several more (weeks) of intense effort on My part;
    (NOT on the governments part) to get him red flagged
    in the gun check system; so this could NOT happen again.

    If I had NOT had the foresight to demand he sign medical information
    release forms as a condition of him returning to live with us after his third
    stay in the state mental hospital I would be S O L. So would YOU!!!

    The doctors and the government both gave me grief
    attempting to get him entered into the gun check system.

    Government will fail you 100% of the time
    most likely when you are the most vulnerable.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • matthew landsittel

      What a Reality Check, thank you for your testimony

      March 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackblack101

      Here is a prime example of personal responsibility, and not waiting on the government to do everything...

      March 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tyhouston

    Oh we are praising another gunman and putting his face and life on the news?

    Quick, if anyone ever felt alone and was unknown by the world...just repeat this guys crime, you'll be instantly famous.

    How bout new and REAL news. No one cares about his mommy's knife and sword's errelivant. No one cares about his "game consoles" and call of duty games because we ruled out years ago the video game bit is only a excuse.


    March 28, 2013 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. WillATL

    In all seriousness, is there or was there anything that could be done to prevent this? Adam Lanza was mentally ill, but was still deemed fit to own a gun, it seems like more of a parenting issue.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • WillATL

      On top of that would gun restrictions really have changed his mind on doing a mass murder, it looks like he has been planning this for a while

      March 28, 2013 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio Alvarez

      how about being responsible with guns around a mentally ill individual, or better yet, have them committed.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyhouston

      Nah that takes being responcible. Better to find things fake to blame like video games or movies. Or how easy it is to buy a gun and makes laws limiting that and totally ignoring the fact he stole them

      March 28, 2013 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
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