[Editor's note: The following report is based on court documents released today by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch. All five documents released are attached to this article as PDFs. The contents of those documents could be potentially disturbing to some.]
[Editor's note II: This article has been updated from its original version to correct inaccuracies in the court documents.]
Court documents released today shed light on the evidence that authorities have gathered about the shooting at Sandy Hook School on Dec. 14, 2012.
And they paint a picture inside the house where the shooter lived, complete with a list of items that have been seized as investigators attempt to build out a psychological profile of the 20-year-old and seek to answer the question that resounded from Newtown across the globe since that fateful Friday morning: why?
The unsealed documents, five in total, were released today at the request of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, upon pressure from state legislators working to enact changes in Connecticut law relating to guns, mental health and school safety. It also comes on the heels of a leak to the New York Daily News about the extensive planning the shooter reportedly conducted before killing his mother, shooting his way into the elementary school and killing six educators and 20 first-graders before taking his own life.
According to the documents, authorities have seized hundreds of pieces of evidence from the school and the vehicle the shooter drove there, but the vast majority of material was found inside the .
That is where the shooter, Adam Lanza, and his mother, Nancy Lanza, lived — just a few miles from the school, which an unidentified witness said was Adam Lanza’s “life.”
The identity of the witness was redacted on the basis that releasing it could potentially jeopardize the investigation and possibly put that person’s well-being in jeopardy, the court documents state.
What Police Found at the School
After receiving a 911 call from inside the school at approximately 9:35 a.m. on Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown and Connecticut State Police officers rushed to the 12 Dickinson Road elementary school. An unoccupied black, 4-door Honda Civic was parked in the fire lane directly in front of the school. Authorities later learned it was registered to Nancy Lanza. [more on what was found in the vehicle below]
Upon entering the school police found the bodies of the 26 victims in the first two classrooms off the main hallway, and the deceased body of the shooter, who police said had taken his own life.
The shooter was reportedly wearing “military style clothing." He had several handguns as well as a military style assault weapon, the documents state, without specifying the make or model of the firearms.
What Police Found in the Car
In addition to DNA evidence collected as well as a shoe imprint, police say officers found a Saiga 12 Shotgun, with two magazines containing 70 rounds of Winchester 12 gauge shotgun rounds, inside the Honda Civic.
What Police Found in the House
Following the response to the school on Dec. 14, authorities executed a search of the Lanza household on Yogananda Street. There, they found the body of Nancy Lanza in her bed, dead from an apparent gunshot to the head.
In subsequent searches, police confiscated hundreds of pieces of evidence, ranging from prescription drug documents to weapons, and journals and gaming consoles, as well as electronics, including a smashed computer hard drive. More specifically:
- Blue folder labeled “Guns” that contained receipts, paperwork and other firearm related material
- Holiday card from Nancy to Adam with a check for the purchase of a firearm
- Medical papers
- NRA certificates for both Nancy Lanza and Adam Lanza
- Legal documents
- School-related paperwork, including a Sandy Hook School report card, pertaining to Adam Lanza
- Artwork and literature by Adam Lanza, including seven journals
- A journal penned by Ryan Lanza, Adam’s brother who was wrongfully named the shooter on the morning of Dec. 14
- Books on subjects ranging from shooting techniques to Aspergers and parenting
- Emails and receipts documenting firearm and ammunition and shooting supplies
- Items related to the school located in the master bedroom
- Receipt for a shooting range
- Article clipping from The New York Times of an article on the Dec. 18, 2008, shooting at Northern Illinois University
The contents of a brown gun safe included several boxes of ammunition, including:
- shotgun shells
- .22 caliber bullets
- .45 caliber bullets
- 303 British rifle cartridges
- .223 caliber
And weapons, including:
- A bolt-action rifle, .223 caliber
Ammunition was also located on two shelves in a bedroom closet as well as in a filing cabinet. Other weapons found include three Samurai swords, at least nine knives with blades ranging from 3.75 inches to 12 inches, as well as a six-foot, 10-inch long wooden pole with a spear on one side and a blade on the other.
In the bedroom believed to be Adam Lanza’s, police found:
- Photo of a dead boy
- Gun safe
- XBox 360
- Microsoft XBox
- Video games
- Cell phones
- Hard drives
- Thumb drives
- Cassettes and CDs
Documents were located throughout the house, including in the shooter’s bedroom. They included newspaper clippings, personal notes, memoirs, drawings, medical records, bills, invoices, receipts, and subscriptions and prescriptions believed to pertain to and/or collected by Adam Lanza.
Those documents are being used to create a psychological profile of the shooter and point to the planning, execution and concealment of criminal activity, the documents state.
PDFs of the five documents, with more information, can be found attached to this article.