Marvin LaFontaine, a friend of Adam Lanza’s mother, has said the Sandy Hook gunman may have launched his murder spree as an “act of revenge” after suffering years of bullying as a student at the Connecticut school.
Marvin LaFontaine said Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, one of the worst school shooting in America’s history, had been harboring resentment towards the Connecticut school for years.
The family friend also said mother Nancy Lanza was so angered by the school’s inability to protect Adam, she would sometimes sit in his class to make sure nobody touched him.
Marvin LaFontaine, who was also Adam Lanza’s Cub Scout leader when he was a young boy, told the New York Daily News: “I think Adam felt betrayed by the school and this was his act of revenge.”
He said he was told by Nancy Lanza that Adam was picked on at school.
Marvin LaFontaine said: “Adam was an easy target. He was quiet and he would never fight back.”
On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother then went on to spray 155 bullets at innocent children and educators during a five-minute bloody rampage that ended with 20 dead school children and 6 dead staff members before he shot and killed himself.
Adam Lanza launched Sandy Hook murder spree as an act of revenge after suffering years of bullying as a student at the Connecticut school
Marvin LaFontaine said Adam Lanza’s childhood experience of Sandy Hook centered on bullying.
The family friend said this angered Nancy Lanza, who would sometimes attend the school unannounced to act as her son’s “bodyguard”.
“Adam didn’t like her showing up,” Marvin LaFontaine said.
“She would sometimes sit in the back of the class and make sure no one would touch him.”
Nancy Lanza also moved Adam in and out of the school and sometimes home schooled him, according to the report.
At the same time, Adam Lanza’s mother was amassing an arsenal of weapons at the house, where investigators found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition, two rifles, a BB gun, a starter’s pistol, nine knives, a 7-foot spear, a bayonet and three samurai swords.
Documents released as part of the investigation noted that Nancy Lanza may also have been facilitating her son’s fascination with weapons.
Nancy and Adam Lanza reportedly “bonded” during several sessions spent together at a shooting range.
According to the investigation, which is ongoing and may not be complete until June or later, each of the weapons used in the attack was legally licensed to Nancy Lanza.
They also found that Adam Lanza possessed articles on other shootings and a holiday card containing a check made out to him for the purchase of a firearm, authored by Nancy Lanza
Documents indicate that authorities found Nancy Lanza’s gun safe open with shotgun shells and numerous boxes of bullets.
A family friend told the Daily News that, in the months leading up to the shooting, Adam Lanza would dress up in military camouflage and target shoot in his basement with a pellet gun.
The family friend also said Adam Lanza’s dream was to become a Marine like his uncle Jim.
However, a man with mental health issues as marked as Adam Lanza’s is all but guaranteed to be turned away from serving in the armed forces.
That may have also contributed to an emotional break in the young man that led to his killing spree.
“I think that when he found out he couldn’t be a Marine because of his condition, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” the source told the Daily News.
Police are still searching for the motive of Adam Lanza’s killing spree, but one working theory is that he was angry that his mother was planning to commit him to a psychiatric facility because he was becoming too difficult for her to handle alone.
Given his decision to kill his mother Nancy Lanza while she lay sleeping in her bed at their Connecticut home and then drive to his former elementary school to purposefully kill innocent children, there had to be a strong connection in his mind between his anger and the school.
Nancy Lanza, 52, was thought to volunteer at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and so the theory extends to the fact that Adam felt he loved those children more than she loved him, since she was planning to send him away.
Fox News quotes a neighborhood figure, whose father works as the pastor of an area church, as saying that the 20-year-old shooter found out that his mother was in the legal process of having him committed and was upset.
That news, coupled with his jealousy of the time she allegedly spent with a group of kindergarteners at Sandy Hook, is thought to have served as the basis of the killing.
A number of factors are still unconfirmed in the theory, and it appears that they may remain as such for some time.
Records of conservatorship filings, which Nancy Lanza would have needed to make in order to commit her son since he is over 18-years-old, are sealed by the courts so if any such filings were made they will not be released publicly.
Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza feared his mother was planning to have him committed to psychiatric home and targeted the children that she loved more than him
“Adam Lanza believed she cared more for the children than she did for him, and the reason he probably thought this (was the fact that) she was petitioning for conservatorship and wanted to have him committed,” Joshua Flashman told Fox News.
One of the biggest questions remaining ever since the shooting was reported on Friday was Nancy Lanza’s connection to the school which was clearly singled out as a target by Adam.
The majority of his shooting was limited to the reception, where he forced his way into the building and killed those standing in his way, and then to a single first grade classroom.
Those children are thought to be the ones that Nancy Lanza grew close with during the last academic year, when they were in kindergarten.
Initial reports immediately after the shooting claimed that Nancy Lanza was a full time or even substitute teacher at the elementary school, though as the chaos of the day slowed, school officials said that she was not on any records of having worked there in any formal capacity.
That option leaves the possibility open that she volunteered her time with the young children.
That was echoed by Lillian Bittman, a former school board member who told the Wall Street Journal: “No one has heard of her. Teachers don’t know her.”
Though the court records will never back up the claim that Nancy Lanza was trying to have her son committed, her actions do lend credence to the idea because she had spent much time over the course of this year traveling to different schools to find a suitable place to send Adam.
Former babysitters of Adam Lanza’s said that she warned that she could never turn her back on the young boy, meaning that when she went to visit prospective schools, Adam was either with her or very aware of the fact that she had gone shopping for his next home.
In a Facebook conversation between Nancy Lanza and her former sister-in-law Marsha, Nancy revealed that she had wanted to downsize from her $1.4 million home in Newtown.
“I am still in the same place but getting to the point where I may want a smaller house. I travel a lot, spend time with friends, work with a couple of charities,” she wrote in one of the messages.
Nancy Lanza, mother of Newtown school massacre gunman Adam Lanza, was a survivalist who was stockpiling food because she thought the world economy was on the verge of collapse.
Nancy Lanza, 52, began hoarding food and water because she feared that the ongoing financial crisis was going to bring about the end of civilized society.
She reportedly became “obsessed” with guns and taught Adam how to shoot, but on Friday in a grim twist he blasted her to death while she laid in her own bed.
Law enforcement sources told the Hartford Courant that Nancy Lanza had not gotten up – and could have even been asleep – when her son killed her.
The disclosure raises the prospect that Adam Lanza could have had the same apocalyptic views as his mother, and that she could have even encouraged them in him.
The Mayan Apocalypse, which the ancient Mayan people thought would mark the end of the world, will supposedly take place on December 21, although it is not clear if Adam Lanza thought that was the case.
In an interview the killer’s aunt said Nancy Lanza was “self-reliant” and indicated she was a “prepper”, or a person who prepares for Doomsday by learning essential survival skills – like how to shoot a gun.
Set on the brow of a gently sloping hill, surrounded by two acres of woodland and well-tended lawns, Nancy Lanza’s spacious property looked like any American family’s dream home.
A wide veranda had views across the gardens. A swimming pool, flanked by a white pool house, was round the back of the two-storey building.
Yet behind the front door in the affluent Connecticut community of Newtown, all was not well at 36 Yogananda Street.
Three years previously, in 2009, Nancy and Peter Lanza had divorced after 28 years of marriage. The break up was traumatic, leaving the couple’s sons devastated. Ryan Lanza was living away at university, meaning that his brother Adam, four years younger, was left at home alone with their mother at their $500,000 house.
He was not well known to neighbors, who describe him as being reclusive and troubled.
And when the news broke on Friday of the murder of 26 people at a primary school in the town, and Ryan Lanza was hastily identified as the killer, people who knew the family knew they had named the wrong brother.
“Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were five years old,” said Tim Dalton, a neighbor and former classmate, on Twitter.
“As horrible as this was, I can’t say I am surprised.”
“This was a deeply disturbed kid,” a family insider said.
“He certainly had major issues. He was subject to outbursts from what I recall.”
A further family friend said he had acted as though he was immune to pain.
“A few years ago when he was on the baseball team, everyone had to be careful that he didn’t fall because he could get hurt and not feel it,” said the friend.
“Adam had a lot of mental problems.”
Nancy Lanza was obsessed with guns and preparing for the collapse of the world economy
Adam Lanza’s brother Ryan reportedly told police that his sibling had autism or Asperger’s syndrome, and a personality disorder.
He gave no details, but anti-social disorder – also known as sociopathy – is the type most closely linked with violence and criminal behavior.
Studies have suggested that 50% of the prison population meet the criteria for the diagnosis.
Those with such disorders are more likely to embark on impulsive, risk-seeking behavior, in an attempt to escape feeling empty or emotionally void.
In such cases, they are likely to have little regard for the consequences of their actions, and are unlikely to experience fear.
Ryan Lanza also said that he had not seen him since 2010.
As the news was breaking, Ryan Lanza was at work in accountancy firm Ernst and Young, sitting at his desk in Times Square.
To his horror, the 24-year-old found that his name was flashing up on the television news networks, wrongly accused of the massacre. He fled the office, jumping on a bus to return home to the house he shared in New Jersey. Shaken, he told his neighbor in an online message that he thought his mother was dead and he knew who was responsible for the multiple murder.
“It was my brother,” he said.
Those on the autistic spectrum have a more limited emotional range and can miss social cues, making it more difficult for them to communicate and feel empathy with others. Difficulties communicating can cause frustration, which can spill over into aggression.
Several studies have found that violence and criminal behavior are no more common in those diagnosed with autism than they are in the general population.
Asperger’s syndrome is a type of autism which is more commonly diagnosed in those with higher than average intelligence.
Adam Lanza was said by classmates to be fiercely intelligent.
He’d correct people’s Latin homework, when they were aged around 14, and at 16 was among the list of top students in his English class, studying Of Mice and Men and Catcher In The Rye – the classic tale of troubled youth.
“It was almost painful to have a conversation with him, because he felt so uncomfortable,” said Olivia DeVivo, who sat behind him in English.
“I spent so much time in my English class wondering what he was thinking.”
“He didn’t have any friends, but he was a nice kid if you got to know him,” said Kyle Kromberg, now studying business administration at Endicott College in Massachusetts. He studied Latin with Adam Lanza.
“He didn’t fit in with the other kids,” he said.
“He was very, very shy. He wouldn’t look you in the eyes when he talked. He didn’t really want to lock eyes with you for very long.”
He was also a technical whizz kid, keen on computers and video games, and part of a group who would meet up for computer programming get-togethers.
“My brother has always been a nerd,” Ryan Lanza said, according to Gloria Milas, whose son was a club member along with Adam Lanza.
Catherine Urso, who was attending a vigil on Friday evening in Newtown, said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style.
“He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths,” she said.
The siblings certainly carved out different paths in life.
Ryan Lanza went to university; followed his father into finance; was living with friends in an attractive red-brick property in New Jersey. By contrast, Adam Lanza had few friends and, as a child, went to great trouble not to mix with his fellow students at his state school. A Newtown resident also suggested he was home-schooled for some time.
“I always saw him walking alone, sitting on his own at a table or on the bus. Most of the time I saw him he was alone,” said Alex Israel, who was at school with him as a young girl.
“He was really quiet. A little fidgety, uneasy. I think socially he was just going out (into the world) and not making friends with everyone.”
Her mother Beth Israel, who lived nearby, said: “I know he had issues. He was a really troubled kid … a very quiet kid, a shy kid, maybe socially awkward.”
He was not on Facebook, unusually for any Westerner of his generation, and did not appear in his 2010 High School Yearbook. Instead were written the words: “Camera shy”.
Forty miles away from Newtown, in the well-heeled Connecticut city of Stamford, Lanza’s father Peter was returning home on Friday afternoon. A highly-qualified academic who a year ago was appointed vice president of taxes for energy investment firm GE Energy Financial Services, Peter Lanza wound down the window on his blue Mini Cooper and asked the person outside his home how he could help her.
“I explained that I’d been told someone at his address had been linked to the shootings in Newtown,” said Maggie Gordon, a reporter from the local newspaper.
“His expression twisted from patient, to surprise, to horror.”
Peter Lanza had moved out in 2009, remarrying a University of Connecticut librarian in January 2011. He was said to have last seen his son Adam in June. But the painfully shy young man had taken the divorce badly.
“The kids seemed really depressed” by the break-up, said Ryan Kraft, 25, who stayed with Adam when Nancy Lanza went out.
“He would have tantrums,” Ryan Kraft said.
“They were much more than the average kid [had].”
Peter Lanza’s lawyer Gary Oberst said: “He was very upset that he was getting divorced, but he didn’t want to take it out on anybody.
“He did more than he had to with the divorce. When he came in to consult with me, I said ‘This is what your obligation is.’ And he said: <<That’s not enough. I want to do more>>.”
Peter Lanza agreed to pay $240,000 annually to his ex-wife, and Nancy Lanza appeared to live in comfort with Adam. There was also suggestions that she was unable to work.
“She needed to be home with Adam,” one family insider said.
Marsha Lanza, aunt to the boys, described Nancy Lanza as a good mother and kind-hearted.
Nancy Lanza would host games of dice, or else venture out to visit her neighbors for a glass of wine. The home was immaculate; the swimming pool behind the house well maintained.
But Nancy Lanza was also, according to friends, an avid gun collector.
Dan Holmes, owner of a Connecticut landscaping firm, said Nancy Lanza once showed him a “high-end rifle” that she had purchased, adding: “She said she would often go target shooting with her kids.”
The gun used to shoot Nancy Lanza was her own.
Yet, perhaps predictably, the owner of the local rifle range was defiant.
Richard Dravis, who gives shooting training at Wooster Mountain rifle range, 15 miles away from the school, said: “We don’t train crazy people. I think that if we would address the mental health issue here we could possibly do something in the future. But we can’t count the number of rounds in the magazine of a nut head.”
His grandmother was too distraught to speak when reached by phone at her home in Florida, Associated Press reported.
“I just don’t know, and I can’t make a comment right now,” Dorothy Hanson, 78, said in a shaky voice as she started to cry.