DANBURY — Court officials this week disclosed information uncovered by the ongoing state police investigation into the December 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which a gunman on a shooting rampage killed 20 first-graders and six educators, before killing himself as police approached.
In a March 28 statement, Stephen J. Sedensky III, the Danbury State’s Attorney, said that on the morning of December 14, Adam Lanza, 20, of 36 Yogananda Street, Sandy Hook, shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, 52, in her bed with a .22-caliber rifle. There was no indication of a struggle.
Later, Adam Lanza went to Sandy Hook Elementary school where he shot his way into the building and killed 20 children and six adults with a Bushmaster .223 caliber model XM15 rifle. Evidence indicates that Lanza shot at least 154 rounds from the Bushmaster.
The semiautomatic Bushmaster was loaded with a 30-round capacity magazine. Fourteen rounds remained in the magazine when the firearm was recovered by police. There was one round in the chamber.
After killing the students and adults, the shooter killed himself with a single shot from a Glock 10-mm handgun.
Lanza also had a loaded 9-mm Sig Sauer P226 handgun on him.
Police recovered from Lanza’s body more ammunition for the handguns, as well as three 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster, each of which contained 30 bullets.
Police located in the area of the shootings six additional 30-round magazines. Three of those magazines contained no bullets. Three other magazines contained 10, 11, and 13 live rounds respectively.
Mr Sedensky said that it is estimated that the elapsed time between Lanza shooting his way into the school and the time he shot himself was less than five minutes.
Police found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in the passenger compartment of the Honda Civic that Lanza drove to the school. The shotgun was moved by police from the passenger compartment of the car to the trunk for safekeeping.
According to the state police probe, the guns used in the shootings were apparently all purchased by Nancy Lanza.
There is currently no indication that the shooter attempted to purchase the guns and was denied, Mr Sedensky said.
The gun locker inside the house at 36 Yogananda Street was open when the police arrived. It was unlocked and there was no indication that it had been broken into.
Five search warrants were obtained by police on December 14, 15, and 16, 2012, for the car the shooter drove and for his home at 36 Yogananda Street.
The five warrants were placed under court seal until March 27.
Mr Sedensky said, “Today those warrants and their returns are being released, subject to redactions that I requested of the court yesterday. This is an ongoing and active criminal investigation which is most effectively done confidentially.
“The rule also applies to investigators working under my authority. As this criminal investigation is ongoing, active, and no definitive conclusions have been reached by myself, the release of any information could potentially jeopardize a future prosecution if evidence were developed to support one. It is not unusual to develop a viable prosecution late in an investigation when one was not contemplated earlier,” he said.
“The family and friends of the victims, the community, and the general public have a right to expect that any decision to prosecute, or not prosecute, will be made only after all of the available evidence has been examined and considered and all leads suggested by the evidence have been adequately pursued,” Mr Sedensky said.
State police, Newtown police, and other state and federal law enforcement agencies are not only continuing to investigate, but are still in the process of compiling reports, statements from witnesses, and documenting, examining, and testing physical and digital evidence that has been obtained. This process is very arduous and must be done carefully, accurately, and confidentially, the prosecutor explained.
“Recently, information purporting to relate to this investigation was published in the media attributed to a presentation at a law enforcement conference. To prevent such disclosure in the future, I have instructed that any and all such presentations involving evidence in the criminal investigation be ceased while the investigation is pending and my report is still outstanding,” Mr Sedensky said.
After consultation with police investigators, it was determined that release of basic crime scene information would not jeopardize the active and continuing criminal investigation into this unprecedented tragedy, Mr Sedensky said.
In his statement, the prosecutor clarified some initial erroneous information in the court paperwork. He noted that the shooting of students occurred in two classrooms, not three. Also, the shooter was not wearing a bullet-proof vest and was not a teenager, he said.
Mr Sedensky stressed, “This is an active, ongoing investigation. No conclusions have been reached and no final determinations have been made.”
It is estimated that the investigation will be completed this summer.
“After the investigation is complete, I will prepare a report regarding the matter which will include an evaluation of the crimes committed and whether or not there will be any prosecutions as a result,” he said.
“Our sympathy for this tragedy continues to go out to the victims’ families, friends, and the Newtown community,” Mr Sedensky said.
In response to the disclosure of court documents, Sandy Hook Promise issued a statement. Sandy Hook Promise is an ad hoc group that formed after the December 14 shootings to deter such incidents from occurring again.
Tim Makris, a cofounder of the group, said, “The information revealed today underscores the need to turn this tragedy into transformation. Nothing that is discovered or discussed about the shooter will bring back the children or educators our community lost on December 14th.
“Public attention should focus not on the shooter but on ensuring the safety of our children and preventing future tragedy. While legislation is not the only answer, it’s time for Congress to pass sensible measures supported by the vast majority of Americans to reduce gun violence. It’s time for our legislature to move forward with the strongest measures possible. The country is united that something must be done; our representatives should act without delay,” Mr Makris said.