Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police find Newtown killer's inspiration?

Teen studied mass murderers, possibly wanted to outdo them

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- Before carrying out the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Adam Lanza conducted research on several mass murders, sources close to the investigation into the shooting have told the Hartford Courant.

The Courant had previously reported investigators found news articles about Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik at Lanza's Newtown, Conn., home. Sources now say investigators found articles and other documents related to other mass murders in one of two bedrooms he used in the house that he shared with his mother, Nancy.

Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 first-graders, on the morning of Dec. 14 before taking his own life as police closed in. Lanza had first shot and killed his mother at their house.

State police gave the victims' families, Sandy Hook teachers and first-responders an update on the investigation last week in which, sources said, they discussed the theory Lanza was trying to outdo other killers.

The Courant reported last month investigators found several articles about Breivik's killing spree in Lanza's room. Breivik set off bombs in downtown Oslo in July 2011 that killed eight people before moving to Utoya island, where he shot and killed 69 people, most of them teenagers attending a summer camp.

Breivik wounded hundreds. He was sentenced last August to 21 years in prison.

Sources said Lanza's shooting spree lasted less than five minutes and he fired 152 bullets while making his way through two classrooms in the elementary school. Lanza had hundreds more rounds of ammunition either on him or in the car that he drove to the school.

Sources said Lanza retrieved the guns used in the shooting from a vault his mother kept in the house. Police do not know whether Adam Lanza knew the combination to the vault or if Nancy Lanza did not keep it locked. Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to shoot his victims and a pistol to kill himself.

Lanza shot his way into the school through the glass windows at the front entrance and turned left toward the first-grade classrooms. He almost immediately encountered Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Scherlach, who ran into the hallway from a meeting room, which would have been on Lanza's right. He shot them both to death immediately.

Sources said the two teachers who were injured were hit by ricochet bullets from that initial burst of gunfire. One teacher was in the meeting room with Hochsprung and Scherlach and was hit in the leg and crawled back into the room and called 911. The second teacher was closing the door to her classroom much farther down the hallway, where Lanza never went, when she was hit in the foot.

Lanza first entered the classroom taught by substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau.

He killed all but one student in Rousseau's class, where the children were massed together in a back corner of the room trying to get into a bathroom. One girl escaped because she played dead and ran out of the room after Lanza left.

-- Hartford Courant

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 14, 2013 A12

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