It was a report that let the world in on what really happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School and it dealt with Adam Lanza's grusome facination with death and murder. Connecticut state police released the report, which was some thousands in lenghth that talked about the madness of Lanza, who killed 26 people at the school (20 of them students) and also depicted school employees, whose brave attemtps saved the lives of many more. The release of the documents, some of which have names that are redacted (or blacked out) puts an official end to the investigation.
Among the details in the report included more than a dozen bodies, mostly children, were discovered packed "like sardines" in a bathroom where they had hidden. And the horrors encountered inside the school were so great that when police sent in paramedics, they tried to select ones capable of handling what they were about to witness.
"This will be the worst day of your life," police Sgt. William Cario warned one.
The 20-year old Lanza killed his mother first inside their home before going on the shooting spree. When he had finished his evil deed, rather than standing up to justice, he took his own life, shooting himself with a handgun as police arrived at the school.
While the Connecticut State Police issued a summary of their investigation last month that portrayed Lanza as a sociopath and having mental problems, the summary also says that the motives for his actions was a mystery and might never be know.
Although the report was released yesterday, authorities heavily blacked out the paperwork, photos and videos to protect the names of children and withhold some of the more grisly details. But make no mistake as the horror comes through at nearly every turn. Some of the images are too grusome to show here on Gather.
According to the Hartford Courant, included were photographs of the Lanza home showing numerous rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot-up paper targets, gun cases, shooting earplugs and a gun safe with a rifle in it.
A former teacher of Lanza's was quoted as telling investigators that Lanza exhibited anti-social behavior, rarely interacted with other students and wrote obsessively "about battles, destruction and war."
"In all my years of experience, I have known (redacted) grade boys to talk about things like this but Adam's level of violence was disturbing," the teacher told investigators. The teacher added: "Adam's creative writing was so graphic that it could not be shared."
The documents also fill in more details about how the shooting unfolded and how staff members looked out for the youngsters.
Lanza was diagnosed in 2006 with "profound autism spectrum disorder, with rigidity, isolation and a lack of comprehension of ordinary social interaction and communications," while also displaying symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to Dr. Robert A. King, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center. This could explain his anti-socialism with family, the hatred of holidays and not being allowed to be touched.
There were some heroes as the chaos ensued. Teachers heard custodian Rick Thorne telling Lanza to leave the school property and tell him to "put the gun down." There was gunfire but Thorne survived.
Others were not so fortunate.
Police Lt. Christopher Vanghele said he and another officer found what appeared to be about 15 bodies packed in another bathroom. So many people had tried to cram inside the bathroom that the door couldn't be closed and the shooter gunned them all down, Vanghele surmised.
Vanghele also recalled another officer carrying a little girl in his arms and running for the exit. Vanghele ran with him through the parking lot as the officer repeated, "Come on sweetie, come on sweetie." The girl didn't survive.
In a letter accompanying the files, Reuben F. Bradford, commissioner of the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, wrote that much of the report was disturbing. But he added: "In the midst of the darkness of that day, we also saw remarkable heroism and glimpses of grace."
Kathleen A. Koenig, a nurse at the Yale Child Studies Center, told investigators that Lanza frequently washed his hands and changed his socks 20 times a day, to the point where his mother did three loads of laundry a day.
The nurse, who met with Lanza in 2006 and 2007, said Lanza's mother declined to give him prescribed antidepressant and antianxiety medication after she reported that he had trouble raising his arm, something she attributed to the drug.
Koenig unsuccessfully tried to convince Nancy Lanza that the medicine was not responsible, and the mother failed to schedule a follow-up visit after her son missed an appointment, police said.
In the documents, a friend told police that Nancy Lanza reported that her son had hit his head several days before the shootings. And an ex-boyfriend told police that she canceled a trip to London on the week of the shooting because of "a couple last-minute problems on the home front." Mrs. Lanza later confied in a friend two weeks before she lost her life that her son was "increasingly despondent" and had refused to leave his room for three months, communicating only by emails, even though they lived in the same house.
To their credit, the documents indicate investigators were gentle in their questioning of children, interviewing youngsters only if they or their parents requested it. Some of the parents thought talking openly about the shooting and getting accurate information out would help their children heal and after the interviews, the children were given a copy of Margaret Holmes' book "A Terrible Thing Happened" to help them deal with that they witnessed.
So the chapter of a day that most people would rather forget is closed. It's a shame that 26 people will not be around to celebrate the New Year, Valentines Day or Easter. It's even more shameful that a madman decided to take matters into his own sick hands and rather than face a jury of his peers, he chose the coward's way out. Heroes get schools, hospitals and roads named for them. Murders don't. No one wants to go to Adam Lanza Elementary School. While the 26 people whose voices and laughter will never be forgotten, let us hope that Adam Lanza's name fades into history.
Sandy Hook wishes to hear his name no more.