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. Joe

    The mother was not a responsible gun owner. If she was her son would not have access to the weapons. But he could probably have found another way to cause harm if thats what he wanted. He wanted to be like his hero the mass killer in Norway.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Found another way. But wouldn't be as deadly as this one

      True, sooner or later he could have found another way to kill. But to kill 26 in 300 seconds with the help of the type of weapon and ammunition is the issue here. yes, he could have found another way to kill but no in the same way he massacred this.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • The parents fault.

      No excuses. The mother knew thsi child and allowed him to have complete access to a gun..its wrong. All the parents i know that work withkids lock the guns up so they can not get them..PERIOD.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LeeMT

    well said! Too many times, the parent's responsibility in these crimes is ignored. Teenagers with their bedroom closets stocked with firearms. The parents of many of these killers should be thrown in prison for their lack of responsibility. As for this guy, I am so tired of seeing his moronic photo. I wish CNN would stop posting it.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • tjt

      I agree. His parents get off easy and we all have to live with this. His mother was killed, – and she gets off easy. Imagine allowing your child access to guns when you know he has autism?

      Look at what the mother permitted to go on ion that houise. Who does this?

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

      white moms: the prison is also filled with white men who murdered with guns

      March 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. X

      Dont give autism a bad name ..I wish I could beat you now

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

      Maybe that's why the father divorced her??

      April 18, 2013 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Mr. Lanza was not a teenager

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

      I would think those parents would love to see their childrens faces, LeeMT

      March 28, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • The parents fault.

      yea, honestly, I dont like guns much – but right now is the worst time to create a gun law of any kind.

      The issue with this kid was the parents – not the gun. And that is pretty obvious. Most of the time, it is a parents lack of or bad decision making that creates the perfect storm in these situaions. Look at the guy in colorado massacer, his parents knew he had mental issue but paid his way to college out of state..why would you do that as a parent if your kid has deep mental issues?????

      March 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    When seconds count, cops are 20+ minutes away.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Vox Populi

    So it took 5 whole minutes to kill 26 unarmed people gathered in rooms? You could easily do that with a handgun.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • tbone

      you could do that with a hammer or a knife too.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. bill

    This is all fake.....n not true. Do the research on the internet, youtube and it was all fake.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      You have a serious problem... get help.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike the research....on YouTube....such a legit source.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Tell that to the parents of the dead children, bill. Why do I bet you have a supply of firearms hidden somewhere in your home?

      March 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      If you morons would do your own research before believing everything the media tells you to, maybe this would make sense to you. Asking the "victims" of these dead children would be pointless considering that no bodies were ever discovered and no medical personel ever made it to the school other than one ambulance that could not have possibly carried 26 bodies alone. Also this article is false because according to numerous police reports, the assault rifle that was believed to be used in the shooting was found during the aftermath in the trunk of the car of the alleged shooter. There are so many other facts in this and many other cases that would lead any person with common sense and personal beliefes that hasnt been brain washed by mainstream meadia that should raise quetions in any normal persons mind and values. You're all idiots to believe this article.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Too bad th ereal killers will never be found, just like the 9/11 killers.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. jackblack101

    Stop making a tragedy a political message.. Only spineless cowards would use dead children as a means to pass a law or a set of laws that would not and WILL NOT have any effect in preventing this from happening again...

    If you want a clear cut example of how gun control laws fail... look at Chicago and its "Strictest Gun Laws in the Country"... Those laws have NO effect on curbing Chicago's gun violence....

    Feel good measures DO NOT WORK

    March 28, 2013 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • tbone

      Wonder how that Assault weapons ban worked out in Connecticut.
      Oh, thats right.... it didnt stop diddly squat.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shamed

    Is it obvious to anybody that this is a political ploy??? Weeks after the AWB was removed from the bill all of a sudden new details are released, some of which still dont add up. Magically on the same day the new commercials start running as well and now Obama is having a call to push fro stricter laws again. WAKE UP SHEEPLE. Not making light of this situation in any way shape or form but it is so incredibly obvious the agenda and how they are using details and the media to influence your decision. That should really upset you.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. 18 E

    "We know he used a 30-round magazines, and that allowed him to maximize damage"
    Ok how many Mags did he uses, and how many mages were expended?
    How many rounds were fired by the AR 15 in 300 seconds? One round per trigger pull and reload. So did Lanza have 10 or 2 mags?

    Why does the investigators make a conclusion for the public while not disclosing all info?

    So what the police and investigators are saying is that if he use a 10 round magazines, instead of it taking 300 seconds, and he had three 10 rounds mages it could taken, what an additional 3 to 6 seconds?
    And in that in that six-seconds, and while armed with other guns, that the police would have arrived, and the outcome of max damage would have been less?

    March 28, 2013 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Agreed

      Not to mention many of these "high capacity magazines" (30 on an AR frame is standard, btw) were found to only be half expended. The guy was reloading before he had to, which defeats the point of using a high capacity magazine in the first place. It is a moot argument to make.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. thinking1

    1 shot every 2 seconds is a reason to ban high capacity magazines? You can easily fire that many times with a bolt rifle.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. Raine

    School use to be one of the safest places on the planet to send our kids for education, fun & companionship. Now with the way things have gone we are being forced to turn them into what seems like kiddie prison with metal detectors, armed guards & what's next...kiddie bullet proof best & headgears as well as ventual pat downs to keep our kids safe?
    What a sick world....everyone wants their "Amendment Rights"....sadly the 26 killed didn't get their Amendent Rights to live a life they should have....someone else's Amendment Rights took THEIR Amendment Rights away from them by murdering these innnocent babies & adults.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • tbone

      yeah, the 2nd amendment killed them.
      Not some crazy with his head filled with violence that we are shown 24/7 on television.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • AMull

      But thats a red herring. Schools are no less safe than they have been.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. communist47

    Only killed 26 in that much time? no wonder the military rejected him. What a failure. The point here is gun-free zone is a meat grinding murder zone. If someone had a gun in that school that day, Lanza would not have been able to fire that many rounds; he would have been eliminated way before 26 innocent kids killed.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    i have made at least 3 comments and none were posted. hmmmm.............

    March 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Boo

    This kid's mother is responsible for all of this. What kind of parent allows a kid who has psychological problems access to guns?

    March 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DCKeene

    Time to repeal the 2nd amendment

    March 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • sammy zoso


      March 28, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnnoyedByPolitics

      good luck with that

      March 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robb

      Time to repeal the right to vote as people abuse that and vote 1 ideology, vote several times for 1 person, or vote because of race, gender, religion...etc! See how dumb that sounds? Now just imagine how dumb your statement sounds! Repeal the 1 legal way people can defend themselves so ONLY the criminals have the weapons! Good call

      March 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • hopefulspam

      You're joking right!?!? If not, leave!!!

      March 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • dennis

      it's a right that you do not have the authority to take. Adam was the problem in all this not the guns. So grow up and stop giving your infantile responses.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay in Florida

      You'll have to kill me first

      March 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • pragmatist68

      How long would it have taken him to blow up the same number on a crowded playground with materials from under his sink and a copy of the anarchist's cookbok readily available on the internet?

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

      If repealed properly, I'd have a lot less issue than using laws to go around it.

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

      Well its a good thing you can't. Firearm ownership is a right, and rights are not granted, they simply exist

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