SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 26, 2013

Prosecutor: Conn. gunman's motive still a mystery

HARTFORD, Conn. — Why Adam Lanza went on his murderous shooting rampage at a Newtown elementary school is a mystery and may never be known, prosecutors said yesterday in a report that closed out their yearlong investigation.

Lanza, 20, was obsessed with mass murders and the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in particular, but investigators found no evidence he ever told others of his intentions to carry out such an attack, according to the summary report by the lead investigator, State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III.

Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14. He also shot his mother to death inside their home before driving to the school and committed suicide with a handgun as police arrived.

The shooting plunged the small New England community into mourning, elevated gun safety to the top of the agenda for President Barack Obama and led states across the country to re-evaluate laws on guns and security.

“The obvious question that remains is: ‘Why did the shooter murder twenty-seven people, including twenty children?’ Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively,” the report said.

Sedensky also said there was no clear indication why Lanza chose Sandy Hook Elementary for his rampage other than that it was close to his home.

The report said Lanza had “significant mental health issues” — in 2005, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder — but “what contribution this made to the shootings, if any, is unknown.”

Asperger’s is an autism-like disorder that is not associated with violence.

In a footnote, Sedensky said a computer drive recovered from Lanza’s home might include important evidence but is unreadable, and it is highly unlikely any data will ever be extracted from it.

A timeline released with the report indicates that nearly six minutes passed between the arrival of the first Newtown police officer and the time officers entered the school.

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