The FBI released 1,500 pages of redacted information about Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza Tuesday. The documents include a number of revelations about his behavior and mindset prior to the attack and various news outlets are focusing on different aspects of the documents. One story that is getting a lot of attention is Lanza’s possible connection to pedophilia. From Fox News:
The FBI’s behavioral analysis unit document did not say what specific evidence there was that Lanza had a pedophilic interest in children, but in another document, an unidentified woman told FBI agents that Lanza said adult-child sexual relationships could be “possibly beneficial to both parties.”
The woman, who said she had an “online relationship” with Lanza for more than two years before the school shooting, said he did acknowledge that adult-child sexual relationships could be “unhealthy” and did not express any personal sexual interest in children. She said Lanza believed he might be asexual.
A state police report issued in 2013 found Lanza had a file on his computer “advocating pedophiles’ rights and the liberation of children.” There was also a screenplay depicting a relationship between an adult and a 10-year-old boy. So it seems Lanza definitely had an interest in the topic though it’s not clear it played a direct role in his motive for the shooting.
The documents also reveal that Lanza was obsessed with mass shootings. The woman he was in contact with online met him on a site devoted to the Columbine shooting. She told authorities that Lanza claimed to have a spreadsheet where he kept details of numerous mass shooting events. From CNN:
“The weirdest person online” she said of Lanza, who “devoted almost all of his Internet activity to researching and discussing” mass killings he meticulously documented and viewed as “a symptom caused by a broken society,” according to the roughly 1,500 investigative documents.
The woman told investigators that Lanza was “extremely intelligent” but depressed and cynical, with a negative view of the world.
Lanza’s online posts included screen names that referred to German and Canadian school shooters Tim Kretschmer and Kimveer Gill, according to the woman.
The FBI’s behavioral analysis unit concluded that Lanza shared many characteristics in common with the mass shooters he spent his time researching. They also believe he started planning his attack up to a year before he carried it out. Perhaps the most surprising claim made in the documents is that police had been warned prior to the shooting that Lanza had threatened to kill his mother. From CBS News:
Police were warned that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter had threatened to kill his mother and students before the 2012 massacre, according to newly revealed FBI documents.
One woman told investigators that she overheard Adam Lanza threaten his mother. She said that he “had an assault weapon and that she was scared of him.” She said she overheard Lanza say that he “planned to kill his mother and children at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut.”
According to investigators’ interview notes, she said she called Newtown police and Sandy Hook and told them about the threats, but police said Lanza’s mother owned the firearms and there was nothing they could do; they were told to call state police.
The Daily Mail is reporting the same story but in their account the person who made the report was a man:
One man who spoke to police said he heard Lanza threaten his mother sometime in December 2008.
Lanza’s mother Nancy reportedly told the unidentified source that her son ‘had an assault weapon and that she was scared of him’.
The source claimed Lanza said ‘he planned to kill his mother and children at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut.’
The man says he went to the Newtown Police to report the threats, but they told them there was nothing they could do since Lanza’s mother was the official owner of his weapons cache.
The fact that someone claimed this when asked by the FBI doesn’t necessarily make it true. If this person did go to the police, there should be some record of that or someone who remembers it. I’m not saying this report is untrue only that it has clearly not been nailed down enough to consider it reliable.
Lanza apparently attracted the attention of authorities on one previous occasion. According to the documents, the FBI came to his home when he was just a freshman in high school after he hacked into a government website. From USAToday:
Years before the Sandy Hook shooting, law enforcement agents visited Lanza’s family home after he hacked into a government computer system in ninth grade, his neighbors told FBI agents investigating the Sandy Hook shooting.
Lanza’s mother, Nancy, told neighbors at a party that her son made it to the second level of security on a government site. A third layer of security was able to thwart his hack.
Nancy Lanza believed the authorities came from either the FBI or CIA – but neighbors told the FBI that she couldn’t remember which agency. When they came to Lanza’s house to investigate the potential cybercrime, Nancy Lanza told officials her son was extremely intelligent and he was trying to challenge himself, according to the documents.
The authorities reportedly told Nancy Lanza that Adam might be able to get a job working for them someday.