An exhaustive body of reporting by the Connecticut State Police (CSP) resulting from investigations following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, was released by the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) shortly after 3 pm December 27.
The collection of data includes approximately 7,000 pages of written reports, as well as photographs, video recordings, and audio recordings.
“The investigation of this incident is unparalleled in the one hundred and ten year history of the Connecticut State Police,” DESPP Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford wrote in an introductory letter. “Tens of thousands of hours were spent by investigators from all over the country tracking down leads, processing evidence, and doing everything within their collective ability to provide answers for the questions that remained in the wake of the terror of that morning. The efforts of all of the Connecticut State Police personnel, and especially those of the detectives of the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad, under the command of Lieutenant David Delvecchia and the supervision of Sergeants Joshua Pattberg and Jeffrey Covello, among others, have been remarkable, and demonstrate the determination and dedication of our employees, of which I am very proud.”
The commissioner opens by directly addressing Newtown residents and those directly affected by the events of 12/14.
“First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers, as well as those of all members of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, continue to be with the families of the victims, the survivors, and the entire Newtown community. On December 14, 2012, your lives were changed forever in a matter of moments. The horror and unspeakable sadness of that day and the lives that were lost will never be forgotten.
“In the midst of the darkness of that day,” he continued, “we also saw remarkable heroism and glimpses of grace. We saw Sandy Hook Elementary School faculty and staff doing everything in their power to protect their charges. We saw law enforcement officers from dozens of local, state and federal agencies running as one into harm’s way at enormous personal risk. We saw dispatchers calmly and efficiently coordinating resources and directing personnel while at the very same time compassionately reassuring victims. We saw fire and EMS personnel from all over the region offering their services, state and municipal employees and contractors working countless hours in innumerable ways to support the first responders and the community at large, and thousands of volunteers and donors from across the globe reaching out in any way they could. For everything that was done by all of these and more, I am profoundly grateful.”
Three separate case numbers have been assigned to the collection of reports, with one referring to the primary investigation, the second for the processing of the scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the third for the investigation of the homicide at 36 Yogananda Street in Sandy Hook, where the shooter killed his mother before traveling to SHES that Friday morning.
The first report, of the primary investigation, comes from the Western District Major Crime Squad (WDMCS) from Troop A in conjunction with State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III of the Judicial District of Danbury. These investigators, according to Cmmsr Bradford, were supported by WDMCS “detectives from each Troop in the district, as well as by Major Crimes detectives from across the state, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, Newtown Police Department, and numerous other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies too numerous to list.”
The second collection of files represents additional work by WDMCS Van, which processed the inside of the school, and Central District Major Squad Van, which processed the outside of the school and supported WDMCS.
The third collection consists of work conducted by the Eastern District Major Crime Squad.
The CSP reports, according to a release issued Friday morning by Lieutenant J. Paul Vance, indicates that the state police criminal investigation is concluded. Cmmsr Bradford points out, however, that while the investigation has been closed for administrative purposes, additional supplemental reports may be submitted to the first collection of reports (the primary investigation) in upcoming months.
Additional information is not expected to change the outcome of the reports.
“Reports may be submitted documenting return of evidence to its owners or receipt of evidence reports from the FBI Laboratory,” he wrote. “We do not expect that they will contain any information that impacts the conclusions of the investigation and they will be released on a rolling basis.
“In the unlikely event that substantive information is obtained that requires follow-up, the case will be reopened and any new leads will be investigated fully.”
Details offered in the reports takes readers back to the sunny, cold Friday morning last December when local police, state troopers, and other law enforcement personnel first responded to the home where the shooter and his mother lived. It also covers everything found in and around the elementary school that has since been razed to make way for a new school, which is currently in preliminary planning stages.
While the reports offer an abundance of information, many passages and details, as allowed by law, are redacted. Multiple state statutes and regulations at state and federal levels either prohibit disclosure, or allow withholding, of certain information.
The report does include a page relating applicable statutes and referencing specific areas of redaction.
There are no photographs of homicide victims. Descriptions of the children have been withheld, along with descriptions of their clothing and their belongings, and even references to family members.
“While the names of the victims are well known,” the commissioner wrote, “certain facts pertaining to the individual children are not, and the identities of surviving children are not generally known. Consistent with permission exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act and the constitutional rights of crime victims we have chosen to withhold that information.”
Cmmsr Bradford said the names and contextually identifying information of most witnesses have also been withheld.
“In the immediate aftermath of the incident and throughout the investigation, many individuals whose identifies became public as associated with the incident in various ways have been subject to harassment and/or intimidation,” he wrote. “In an effort to protect those whose identities are not otherwise known, we have chosen to exercise the applicable permission exemption.”
The exemption is not applied, he pointed out, to those individuals who are generally known or to witnesses whose involvement is “professional in nature,” such as first responders, he wrote.
“Balancing the often-competing interests of government transparency and individual privacy has been difficult,” he wrote. “I believe that the redacted report that is being released includes as much detail as possible while protecting confidential information and without unduly infringing on the privacy rights of those whose lives have been so profoundly impacted through no fault of their own.”
The release of the report, write Cmmsr Bradford, will help those who have been affected by 12/14 “to continue in their personal process of healing, and will provide helpful information that can be put to use to prevent such tragedies in the future.”
Check back for additional stories providing deeper analysis of the CSP 12/14 data by The Newtown Bee. The full collection of reports can be viewed here.