On This Day December 14, 2012: Mass Shooting At Sandy Hook Elementary, Event Triggers Renewed Debate For Tighter Gun Control Laws

Three years ago today, Adam Lanza woke up in his home in Newtown, Connecticut with a plan to kill as many people as possible. Before he would leave his home and go to Sandy Hook Elementary School, Lanza shot and killed his mother. The death of Lanza’s mother was not known until later in the day. Lanza arrived at Sand Hook at approximately 9:30 a.m. and shot his way into Sandy Hook by shooting out one of the windows at the entrance.

The noise of the gunshot and breaking glass caught the attention of the school principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach. Not knowing who they were about to run into, the two school administrators came face to face with a heavily armed Adam Lanza. Lanza discharged his gun and murdered Hochsprung and Sherlach. Two other staff members were shot and wounded by Lanza as he began walking toward the first-grade classrooms where he would begin his massacre. In the first classroom that Lanza entered, Lanza shot and killed two teachers and fifteen children. In the second classroom, Lanza murdered two more teachers and five more students. In addition to the murders, 12 other students were injured from gunfire. Ten minutes after Lanza killed his first two victims, Lanza heard the sirens of police cars arriving on the school grounds. At 9:40 a.m., Adam Lanza turned his gun on himself and committed suicide. In total, Adam Lanza killed 27 people at Sandy Hook Elementary.

As the investigation into the mass shooting at Sandy Hook began, information about the weapons used by Lanza started to get reported. Police found two handguns (Sig Sauer and Glock) and a Bushmaster.223 assault rifle with Lanza’s body. In the vehicle that Lanza used to drive to the school, police found an Izhsmash Saiga-12 shotgun. The guns found inside the school with Lanza all were legally purchased and owned by Adam’s now deceased mother, Nancy Lanza. Police also stated that they found a large quantity of ammunition for the weapons inside the school.

Doctor H. Wayne Carver II, the Chief Medical Examiner of Connecticut, ascertained that all the murder victims in the school were shot with the Bushmaster.223 assault rifle. During a press conference, Dr. Carver II commented about the mass shooting.

“I have been at this for a third of a century. And my sensibilities may not be [that of] the average man, but this probably is the worst I have seen, or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues having seen.”

The mass shooting at Sandy Hook had the second highest death toll in the United States. In 2007, a mass shooting at Virgina Tech saw the lives of 32 people taken. The final report on the Sandy Hook shooting did not list the motive for Adam Lanza.

“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 police report also indicated that Adam Lanza had “significant mental health issues,” but it was not known “what contribution this made to the shootings.”

Shortly after the events at Sandy Hook, the gun control debate was reignited. The aspects of the gun laws that were being targeted for change dealt with making background checks universal, limiting the carrying capacity of magazines and clips, and the banning of assault rifles. Three years later, the gun debate continues with these issues still being the main points of any new laws.

What do you remember about the Sandy Hook mass shooting? Do you feel like gun laws have changed in the last three years?

[Image Via AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File]