Nancy Lanza, mother of Adam Lanza — the 20-year-old gunman who shot dead 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday — reportedly took her sons to a shooting range and taught them how to use firearms.
The Daily Telegraph quotes local resident, Dan Holmes, owner of Holmes Fine Gardens, a landscaping firm in Newtown, as saying that Nancy, 52, mother of Adam, 20, and Ryan, 24, was “a big, big gun fan.”
Reportedly, Holmes also said Ms. Lanza once showed him a high-end rifle she had purchased, noting that “she was very proud of it. She loved her guns.”
Similarly, the Denver Post reports that Holmes witnessed Nancy talking about her gun collection at craft beer tastings at the local restaurant and music bar called “My Place.”
“She had several different guns,” said Holmes. “I don’t know how many. She would go target shooting with her kids.”
It’s now understood that Adam Lanza shot his mother in the face at the home they shared, before driving three miles and forcing his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Court records show Mrs. Lanza was divorced from Peter Lanza — now vice president of taxes for GE Energy Financial Services — in 2008.
According to The Denver Post, Adam Lanza’s former high school classmates said they thought Adam had “Asperger’s Syndrome or another developmental disorder.”
The state chief medical examiner has stated that the chief weapon used in the attack was an assault rifle. Reportedly all the victims died of more than one gunshot wound and their deaths have been classified as homicides, The Guardian said.
The Daily Telegraph also notes that the guns Adam Lanza used were “owned by his mother and kept at their home.”
The paper added that:
“Lanza was armed with a Sig Sauer and a Glock handguns, typically capable of firing 15 rounds and 17 rounds each. He also had a Bushmaster assault rifle, capable of firing 30 rounds before needing reloading. A fourth gun was said to have been found in his mother’s car. In all, more than 100 shell casings were found.”
Revelations about Nancy Lanza’s history with guns come after public statements today from the Lanza family.
In Kingston, New Hampshire, a police officer read a statement on behalf of James Champion, the brother of Nancy Lanza, that said: “Our hearts and prayers are with those who share in this loss.”
The officer continued with an additional statement from Nancy’s mother, Dorothy Champion, that read:
“We reach out to the community of Newtown to express our heartfelt sorrow for the incomprehensible loss of innocents that has affected so many.”
Following the release of the victims’ names, Robbie Parker, 30, father of Emilie Parker, 6, one of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, released a poignant statement today. That statement (in part) is as follows:
“[...] It is a horrific tragedy and we want everybody to know that our hearts and prayers go out to them. This includes the family of the shooter. My daughter Emilie would be one of the first ones to be standing and giving her love and support to all those victims because that’s the type of person that she is, not because of any parenting that my wife and I could have done, but because those were the gifts that were given to her by her heavenly father [...]“
Describing his daughter as “an incredible person,” Mr Parker then said, “and I’m so blessed to be her dad.”
The Daily Telegraph reports that police are currently investigating a claim that Adam Lanza argued with four school staff members the day before the shooting and that three of these staff members were murdered the next day.
“The fourth was being interviewed by police as officers searched for a motive,” said the Daily Telegraph.
Reportedly, one member of staff switched on the school’s public address system during the attack so that the sounds of gunfire would alert teachers on the premises to the emergency. This action is believed to have prompted a “lockdown” procedure that involved teachers moving children into safe areas.
Dr Janet Robinson, the school superintendent, told news outlets: “A lot of children are alive today because of actions the teachers took.”
As a result of the Sandy Hook horror, recent reports of shootings at an Alabama hospital and an alleged averted tragedy at an Oklahoma High School, the gun law debate is once again front and center of America’s national conversation.