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Court Documents Detail Evidence in Sandy Hook School Shooting [Updated]

The documents, unsealed today, disclose details on the hundreds of pieces of evidence investigators have gathered about the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown.


[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
  • Playstation
  • XBox 360
  • Microsoft XBox
  • Video games
  • Cell phones
  • Hard drives
  • Computers
  • 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.

QWERTY March 28, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Messed up people, all of them. Clearly the parenting book was never read.
Wayne LaPierre March 28, 2013 at 05:30 PM
NRA registrations for both Nancy Lanza and Adam Lanza !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jennifer March 28, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Where were the mandated reporters? The school never noticed any red flags? Why do we pay Guidance Counselors? How many unreported crimes have gone on?
Bob Attanasio March 28, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Do you have any clue? He was home schooled (so to speak.) His guidance counselor, teacher, firearms enabler, ammunition provider also happened to be his first victim - seems strange even caller her that.
Doug Prunr March 28, 2013 at 08:12 PM
"two magazines containing 70 rounds of Winchester 12 gauge shotgun rounds" A useful weapon, that. For first responders and SWAT, anyway. Are anyone's toes stepped on if 35-round magazine sales are restricted to such? Or is that creeping BigBrotherism? And I think soldiers wouldn't buy them, because aren't shotguns still against Geneva Covention or something?
Kathy March 28, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Where are the drugs? Where is the list of prescription drugs that were confiscated? SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil have been the common thread in the majority of these mass shootings but do you hear about those? No. To those who think the NRA is a powerful lobbyist, they pale in comparison to the major pharma companies. You'll never hear anyone holding them accountable.
Emily Bee March 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM
"Holiday card from Nancy to Adam with a check for the purchase of a C183 firearm." Is there something wrong here?
Gary Jeanfaivre (Editor) March 28, 2013 at 11:37 PM
To clarify: Exhibit #612 in the search warrant dated Dec. 16, 2012, 4:31 p.m. (attached) refers to a C183 firearm. The commenters on this article are correct that there is no such weapon. While we have not yet confirmed this with authorities, investigators may have been referring to the CZ-83 handgun.
John March 28, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Both the mother and son were wack jobs. Good riddance to both of them.
Jennifer March 29, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Do you have a clue, the murderer has a special education record 10 years worth. He wasn't homeschooled his whole life. 1,440 school days, 30 PPT meetings, and a 10 inch file to start with which the Board of Education sealed.
G March 29, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Mossberg made a shotgun until the early 70's in various models...183C, 183D, and others. Perhaps she transposed the model number.
Sam Mihailoff March 29, 2013 at 05:16 AM
1-5 = public school 6-8 = private school 9-10 = public school 10 – onward = home schooled by mother now, everything I have read states he was quiet "a loaner"...if someone does not cause trouble, is not disruptive, etc. what red flags would possibly go up? NONE!!! In high school, the only noticeable quirk was that he carried a brief case while others used back-packs....thus gaining him the name “brief case guy” Mommy Dearest gets the blame, NOT the school system...my opinion, of course!
JB March 29, 2013 at 05:49 AM
I doubt it was for a CZ-83 handgun. Adam Lanza was only 20. One has to be 21 to purchase a firearm.
Nicole Hockley March 29, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Patch - please check your facts. It was pointed out that there were 3 errors made at the time in the search warrants. These errors were addressed and corrected in the press release, but 2 of those errors remain in your article here. 1) There were not victims in the first 3 classrooms. Only 2 classrooms had victims. 2) He was not wearing a bullet proof vest. 3) The search warrants say the shooter was a teenager, but he was 20 years old.
Thomas Crafts March 29, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Time to get into that file. It's going to lay the blame where it belongs.
Gary Jeanfaivre (Editor) March 29, 2013 at 02:33 PM
All: A statement from Stephen J. Sedensky III, State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury, clarifies what several readers have pointed out as factual inaccuracies contained in the court documents. Sedensky's statement reads, in part: "The released search warrants were obtained on December 14, 15, 16, 2012, within a short time of the shootings. Subsequent investigation revealed that shootings took place in two of the classrooms, not three, and that the shooter was not wearing a bullet-proof vest, nor was he a teenager." The full statement may be found at the following link: http://www.ct.gov/csao/cwp/view.asp?a=1801&Q=521714 Given this information, I have corrected the article so that it now accurately reflects the facts as provided by authorities. Gary Jeanfaivre Patch Regional Editor
Mary Sireci March 29, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Jennifer, the school hadn't seen the shooter for for at least 12 years. Just because he died sick doesn't mean he was born that sick. I think SHES did all it could to stop intruders, as much or more than many other schools.
MAC March 29, 2013 at 07:12 PM
@Sam re "what red flags," anyone with the blank look of young Lanza in his photos, and other recent mass killers--also their behavior/isolation from human interaction, indicating a lack of all human empathy--is a ticking time bomb, imo! If we see something like this in a person around us, or someone we have knowledge of (or even suspect needs help!), then SAY something to their family, school/counseling authorities, or the police if all other options have been exhausted. The parents of the killers in AZ and CO should have gone to the police when they knew something was very wrong with their sons, who refused to get the mental health treatment which was obviously needed. Also, someone as isolated from human interaction, other than with his mother as AL was, is a grave risk to himself if not others! Imo it is not only his mother who failed to see and act on warning signs.
Jennifer March 29, 2013 at 11:16 PM
I agree Mary that SHES did everything humanly possible - true Hero's.
Frank March 29, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Why seal the files - very suspicious?

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