Ryan Lanza was at his job in Manhattan on Friday when news outlets began to report that he had massacred 20 school children in Newtown.
The reports said Lanza, a 24-year-old Quinnipiac University graduate, had murdered someone in his Hoboken apartment and then drove to Newtown, Conn., where he used a .223 caliber rifle to kill 27 people before turning the gun on himself.
The dead included his mother, Nancy, a kindergarten teacher.
Lanza's thoughts quickly went to his developmentally disabled younger brother, Adam, who he began to fear may have been responsible for the violence at Sandy Hook elementary school, friends said.
As media reports continued to name Ryan Lanza as the shooter and plastered his face across world, he took to Facebook and told friends he was not the man responsible for the brutal slaying.
"Oh my god, I think my mother is dead," he wrote, a friend told Patch.
Ryan Lanza and his roommate were being questioned Friday night at Hoboken Police headquarters. Neither have been charged with any crime, Hoboken Police Captain Jim Fitzsimmons said.
"Ryan is in shock," a close friend, Brett Wilshe, told Patch.
Lanza works at a financial company in the city, Ernst & Young, and lives in a five-story brick building on Grand Street, known as "The Metropolitan."
Media outlets quickly scrambled to "The Metropolitan," where Hoboken police gathered with FBI agents. Initial reports said that someone was killed at the apartment and that Lanza's girlfriend was missing. As curiosity grew from onlookers and media members, police draped yellow police tape around the perimeter, closing both sides of Grand Street just after 2:30 p.m.
No bodies were found inside the building, Fitzsimmons said.
Lanza was planning to head to Connecticut after hearing about the shooting, friends told Patch.
Those who know the Hobokenite, described as "nice" and committed to his friends, were also shocked by the news.
"At first you're devastated that 30 people were shot to death," friend Katie Colaneri told Patch. "And then you find out it's someone that you know, that you've met, that you've hugged. And you don't know whether to feel angry or sad. You find out your friend is alive but caught up in this mess. It's incredible."
"He's not a guy capable of shooting up a school," another friend of Ryan's told Patch Friday afternoon.