Newtown shooter’s writings may provide insight to mass killers

HARTFORD, Conn. — The disclosure of Adam Lanza’s writings and other documents offer little toward understanding why he carried out the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, but researchers say the detail on the gunman’s mental decline could offer insights into the mind of a mass killer.

Some relatives of the 20 children and six educators gunned down at the school on Dec. 14, 2012, said they welcomed the release of the long-withheld records, although they wish it had not come the week of the tragedy’s sixth anniversary.

“I understand why it needs to be released. But I think the timing of it sucks,” said Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was among the children who died. “I’m not going to even look at it. The shooter doesn’t get any space in my head.”

Under a court order, Connecticut State Police released to The Hartford Courant hundreds of pages of documents that shed light on gunman Adam Lanza’s anger and fascination with mass shootings. The criminal investigation concluded a year after the shooting without determining a motive and the new documents flesh out the portrait from earlier reports of Lanza as a young man who was increasingly disturbed and socially isolated in the years leading up to the shooting.

State police refused to release the documents for years until the state Supreme Court ruled in October that Lanza’s personal belongings and writings including journals were not exempt from open record laws. The ruling came in a lawsuit by The Hartford Courant and state Freedom of Information Commission. State police officials declined to release the records to the public Monday, saying private information of people other than Lanza needs to be redacted.

There is a split within the criminologist community about the benefits of publicly releasing such details of mass shootings, with some saying it glorifies the killers and could spur copycats and other saying it could help prevent future massacres.

Dr. Harold Schwartz, a psychiatrist and member of the Connecticut commission, made public safety and mental health recommendations in the wake of the shooting and reviewed some of the newly released documents, which were provided to him by the newspaper.

“There’s no single, startling new revelation in these papers, but there’s more building of the general impression of the kind of disturbed life he (Lanza) was living that I think is mostly helpful to psychiatrists, psychologists … certainly researchers,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said writings near the end of Lanza’s life suggest he didn’t decide to commit the shooting until shortly before the massacre, when he may have been suffering from the effects of anorexia including possible brain damage. Schwartz and other experts note millions of people cope with the same mental illnesses Lanza had and aren’t violent.

The records are important for mental health experts because they offer more detail about Lanza’s isolation, social awkwardness and odd behaviors, according to Peter Langman, a psychologist in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who has written books about school shooters.

“That oddness doesn’t explain mass murder,” he said. “We can speculate. I think he was someone who felt extremely disempowered, very much a misfit in society and maybe that resulted in a great deal of rage toward society. … This may have been his way of lashing out against the culture he felt was imposed upon him.”

Lanza, 20, fatally shot his mother inside their Newtown home before going to the school, where he killed himself as police arrived.

Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was killed at the school, said it was for the best to get a full accounting on the record.

“Timing isn’t great but I appreciate the media and think there should be full disclosure,” she said.

Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose daughter Ana Grace died at the Sandy Hook school, said on Twitter Monday that while details of the shooting and other crimes “can help inform response and possibly even help to prevent tragedy in the future — the timing of this makes it nothing but click bait. Remember the families.”


Associated Press writer Michael Melia contributed to this report.

Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like