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There is something that I can assure you of that will always be true: it does not matter if you live for the next one year, five years, ten years, fifteen years, twenty years, thirty years, fifty years or even 100 years; the day before you die you will regret ever worrying about your life instead of thinking of what you want to do. Every new year that you do live, you will regret not having started anything that you wanted to do the year prior, only regretting the past more.
Lanza

Adam Peter Lanza was an American spree killer, mass murderer, and school shooter who killed 27 people and injured two others before committing suicide during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012.

Background

Adam Lanza in school

A young Lanza

Adam Lanza was born on April 22, 1992, to Peter and Nancy Lanza. The Lanza family was of Italian descent. His mother would often take him and his brother shooting, having never suspected Adam of being dangerous. Adam attended the school he would later end up shooting, but suffered extreme anxiety problems starting in middle school (something which is believed to have been a possible motive). One time his anxiety got so bad he had to be taken to the ER of the Danbury hospital. He was moved to St Rose of Lima in 2005, but only stayed there for eight weeks.

He later attended Newton High School by the time he was in his early teens. He was described there as "intelligent, but nervous and fidgety", and earned a place in the honor roll in 2007. The anxiety only grew worse and worse until he only went to school sometimes, and was ultimately home-schooled by his mother. Despite this, he managed to earn a GED and even attended some classes at the Western Connecticut State University. He was later diagnosed with Sensory-Integration Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Shooting

"Well, you're here.[1]"

Sandy-Hook-school

Sandy Hook Elementary School

At an unknown time before 9:30, Adam Lanza shot his mother Nancy Lanza four times in the head with a .22-caliber Savage Mark II rifle. He then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, armed with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle and a 10mm Glock 20SF handgun in a "drop down" holster. In addition, two ten-round magazines were left inside of the car.

Arriving there, he shot his way through a glass panel next to a locked front entrance door and entered the school. When three faculty members entered the hall to investigate the noise, Lanza opened fire, killing principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach and wounding teachers Mary Hammond and Deborah Pisani. He entered the main office, but didn't discover the staff hiding there.

Lanza continued down the main hallway, shooting at the bodies of Hochsprung and Sherlach. While there are conflicting reports about the order of events, Lanza is known to have entered the first-grade classroom of teacher Victoria Soto, where he fatally shot her along with five other students and special education teacher Anne Murphy, though several students were able to escape. He also entered another first-grade classroom where teacher Lauren Rousseau and behavioral therapist Rachel D'Avino were hiding the class in a small bathroom. Rousseau, D'Avino, and fourteen students were killed in the room, with a fifteenth child who was injured dying in a hospital. A six-year-old girl found by police following the shooting was the sole survivor in the classroom.

Lanza moved between rooms, firing out of windows and attempting to enter other barricaded classrooms. During the shooting, he bypassed the classroom that contained Kaitlin Roig's first-grade class, possibly because he assumed it was empty, as the door was closed and the window was covered by a piece of black construction paper left over from a lockdown drill conducted weeks earlier.

When responding police arrived, Lanza reentered Soto's classroom, and shot himself in the head with his Glock, ending the ten-minute massacre.

Aftermath

After police arrived the school was locked down and survivors were evacuated. Police began looking into a possible motive for the shooting, but none was ever fully established. It is highly believed that Lanza's extreme anxiety and various mental disorders may have led to a psychotic break, which led to his massacre and ultimate suicide. The school was closed down as a crime scene and was demolished in 2016.

It was later discovered that Lanza may have been a pedophile because of emails that he sent to a friend that talked about how pedophilia isn't wrong.

Modus Operandi

2445475 02 bushmaster xm15 e2s 640

A Bushmaster rifle, similar to the one Lanza used.

Lanza shot all his victims with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S and a Glock 20SF he stole from his mother. He reloaded frequently even before the clip was empty. He usually shot his victims over five times and one victim, Noah Pozner, was shot eleven times. During the shooting he wore black clothing, yellow earplugs, sunglasses, an olive green utility vest, and was carrying magazines for the rifle.

Lanza was also found to have been in possession of a 9mm SIG Sauer P226 and an Izhmash Saiga-12 shotgun, but apparently never used either in the massacre.

Known Victims

All of the following were attacked during the December 14, 2012 shooting

Sandy Hook Memorial

A memorial to the 27 victims of the massacre.

  • December 14, 2012, circa 9:30 am: Nancy Lanza, 52 (his mother; shot four times in the head)
  • The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting:
    • Dawn Hochsprung, 47 (principal)
    • Mary Sherlach, 56 (school psychologist)
    • Natalie Hammond, 40 (lead teacher; injured)
    • Deborah Pisani (substitute teacher; injured in foot by ricocheted bullet)
    • Two teachers and five students killed in Classroom 10. They are:
      • Victoria Leigh Soto, 27 (teacher)
      • Jesse Lewis, 6 (shot once in head)
      • Anne Marie Murphy, 52 (teacher's aide)
      • Dylan Hockley, 6
      • Avielle Richman, 6
      • Allison Wyatt, 6
      • Olivia Engel, 6 (later died of her injuries)
      • At least six unidentified students (attempted; successfully escaped classroom)
    • Two teachers and fifteen students killed in Classroom 8. They are:
      • Rachel D'Avino, 29 (teacher's aide)
      • Lauren Rousseau, 30 (teacher)
      • Charlotte Bacon, 6
      • Daniel Barden, 7
      • Josephine Gay, 7
      • Madeleine Hsu, 6
      • Catherine Hubbard, 6
      • Chase Kowalski, 7
      • Ana Márquez-Greene, 6
      • James Mattioli, 6
      • Grace McDonnell, 7
      • Emilie Parker, 6
      • Jack Pinto, 6
      • Noah Pozner, 6
      • Caroline Previdi, 6
      • Jessica Rekos, 6
      • Benjamin Wheeler, 6 (later died of his injuries)
      • Unidentified six-year-old girl (attempted; was sole survivor from Classroom 8)

On Criminal Minds

  • Season Thirteen
    • "False Flag" - It is revealed that before joining the BAU, Tara Lewis (who is a forensic psychologist) was at Sandy Hook in the aftermath of the attack and provided counseling to the victims' families. This experience makes her particularly angry about conspiracy theorists who believe that the shootings were staged by the U.S. government to increase gun control, such as Melissa Miller from the same episode.

References

  1. In response to one of his victims, a child who said "Help me! I don't want to be here!"
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