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Connecticut school shooting: Adam Lanza's survivalist mother was obsessed with guns

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  • Nancy Lanza, 52, a 'survivalist,' was preparing for the end of the world economy by stockpiling food
  • She was killed by her son, Adam Lanza, before the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut
  • She had five guns registered to her name, two of which her son used for killings
  • Adam's father, Peter, is divorced from the mother and lives with new wife in Stamford, Connecticut

By Daniel Bates In Newtown, Connecticut and Hayley Peterson

PUBLISHED: 00:00 EST, 15 December 2012 | UPDATED: 11:01 EST, 16 December 2012


Gun lover: Nancy Lanza had reportedly become 'obsessed' with guns and taught Adam how to shoot

Gun lover: Nancy Lanza had reportedly become 'obsessed' with guns and taught Adam how to shoot

The mother of Newtown school massacre gunman Adam Lanza was a survivalist who was stockpiling food because she thought the world economy was on the verge of collapse.

Nancy Lanza began hoarding such items because she feared that the financial crisis was going to bring about the end of civilized society.

She reportedly became 'obsessed' with guns and taught Adam how to shoot, but on Friday he turned on her and blasted the woman to death while she laid in her own bed.

Law enforcement sources told the Hartford Courant that she had not gotten up - and could have even been asleep - when her son killed her.

The killer's aunt said Nanzy Lanza was 'self-reliant.'

Speaking from her home near Chicago,  Marsha Lanza, 57, said: 'She was stockpiling food. We talked about prepping a lot. She was getting ready for the economic collapse.

'I think she had the guns for self-defense because she lived alone.'

Mother: Fifty-two-year-old Nancy Lanza, pictured, was 'obsessed with guns' and preparing for the collapse of the world economy

Mother: Fifty-two-year-old Nancy Lanza, pictured, was 'obsessed with guns' and preparing for the collapse of the world economy

She added that Nanza was ‘meticulous’ and would 'never leave the guns out.'

It was revealed yesterday that Nancy Lanza had taken Adam to a shooting range and taught him how to use a firearm before he turned a gun on her and shot her dead, then executed more than two dozen terrified children and teachers at an elementary school.

Son of a gun: Adam Lanza had apparently turned on his mother, shooting her as she laid in her own bed

Son of a gun: Adam Lanza had apparently turned on his mother, shooting her as she laid in her own bed

She had legally purchased five firearms, all registered in Connecticut, according to police records.

'She said she would often go target shooting with her kids,' Dan Holmes, owner of the lanscaping firm Holmes Fine Gardens, told Reuters.
He recalled that she once showed him a 'high-end rifle' that she had purchased.

'She was very proud of it,' he told the New York Daily News. 'She loved her guns.'

Adam killed his mother in the home they shared on Friday morning by shooting her in the face using one of her own guns.

Adam then allegedly took his mother's car keys and several guns belonging to her - including a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223 caliber rifle - and drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he massacred 20 children and six adults, before shooting himself.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, it was widely reported that Nancy Lanza was a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school.

But Newtown Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson said Saturday that she had 'never met' Miss Lanza and that she was not in the school database as a staff member.

Some reports alleged that Nancy had retired from working as an educator many years ago to take care of her son, Adam, who allegedly had behavioral and personality issues.

Nancy and Adam lived in a well-to-do part of Newtown, a prosperous community of 27,000 people about 60 miles northeast of New York City.

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Connecticut shooting

Connecticut shooting

Adam Lanza shot his mother, Nancy, before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 26 people including 20 children

Adam Lanza shot his mother, Nancy, before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 26 people including 20 children

Nancy Lanza's home in Newtown, Connecticut, was raided after 2 p.m. Friday and she was found shot dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the face

Nancy Lanza's home in Newtown, Connecticut, was raided after 2 pm Friday and she was found shot dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the face

W5Traumatized students were seen being led out of the school crying and holding hands. Traumatized students were seen being led out of the school crying and holding hands

The families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School The families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School

Mourners gather inside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church at a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

Mourners gather inside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church at a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

Connecticut Map.jpg

Neighbors said that the mother always took great pride in her Colonial-style house, and always kept her home tidy.

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom house is estimated to be worth around $537,000, and is situated on 2.19 acres of land.

Lanza's aunt, Marsha Lanza, said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.

The Crystal Lake, Illinois resident told the Associated Press she was close with Adam Lanza's mother and sent her a Facebook message Friday morning asking how she was doing.

Nancy Lanza never responded.

Marsha Lanza described Nancy Lanza as a good mother and kind-hearted. If her son had needed counseling, 'Nancy wasn't one to deny reality,' she said.

Marsha Lanza said her husband saw Adam as recently as June and recalled nothing out of the ordinary about him.

Beth Israel tweeted that shooter Adam Lanza was troubled for a long time

Beth Israel tweeted that shooter Adam Lanza was troubled for a long time

Jacob Wycoff also tweeted that Adam was autistic

Jacob Wycoff also tweeted that Adam was autistic

Adam Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, had divorced Nancy in 2009 because of ‘irreconcilable differences,’ and now lives in Stamford, Connecticut with a new wife. A reporter for the Stamford Advocate broke the news to him that his son had allegedly shot and killed 26 people, including his ex-wife.

He works as the vice president of taxes for GE Energy Financial Services, and lives on a sprawling street glittered with multimillion-dollar homes. The couple apparently married in 2011.

A man several houses down, who said he was friends with the couple, declined to give his name, saying only that they are 'great people' and 'my heart bleeds for them.'

Nancy Lanza was divorced from Peter Lanza who lives in Stamford, Connecticut

Father: Peter, a wealthy executive for General Electric, who is believed to earn $1million a year, moved out of the family home in 2006

Friends and neighbors said the divorce, as far as they knew, was amicable.

Holmes said he had just last week decorated Nancy Lanza's yard with Christmas garlands and lights.

She was 'very nice, very pleasant and always very appreciative of our work,' Holmes said.

Jim Leff, a musician who knew Nancy through a local bar and music spot that she frequented, called her a 'lovely person.'

But he said he never became close friends with her because she was 'high-strung.'

'What held me back was my impression that she was a little high-strung,' Leff wrote on his blog. 'But now that I've been filled in by friends about how difficult her troubled son (the shooter) was making things for her, I understand that it wasn't that Nancy was overwrought about the trivialities of everyday life, but that she was handling a very difficult situation with uncommon grace.'

Former classmates of Adam Lanza recall him as a shy and extremely intelligent student.

In Newtown High School, he dressed more formally than other students and carried a black briefcase to his classes, which stuck out to some as most other students wore backpacks.

Classmate Tim Arnone, 20, who graduated with Lanza in 2010, told Reuters.

He said Lanza was 'driven hard' to succeed academically by his parents, particularly his mother. 'She pushed him really hard to be smarter and work harder in school,' Arnone said.

NBC Connecticut also reported that Adam Lanza tried to buy a rifle at a Dick's Sporting Goods in Danbury, Connecticut, on Tuesday but was rebuffed because the state has a waiting period for gun sales.

Quoting a 'family insider,' the New York Daily News reported that Adam was a 'deeply disturbed kid' who 'certainly had major issues' and was 'subject to outbursts.'

President Obama openly wept as he spoke of the mindless shooting, saying, 'Our hearts are broken today'

President Obama openly wept as he spoke of the mindless shooting, saying, 'Our hearts are broken today'

A member of the Connecticut State police leaves the scene outside the Sandy Hook Elementary School, left, as parents comfort each other, right

'IT'S TIME FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION' SAYS MAYOR BLOOMBERG

'We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again.

For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year-olds.

President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem.

Calling for "meaningful action" is not enough. We need immediate action.'

-Mayor Bloomberg

A former classmate said Adam has been 'a weird kid since we were five years old.' Tim Dalton wrote on Twitter: 'As horrible as this was, I can't say I am surprised.... Burn in hell, Adam.'

Catherine Urso, who was attending a vigil Friday evening in Newtown said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style.

'He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths,' she said.

Adam Lanza belonged to a technology club at Newtown High School that held 'LAN parties' - short for local area network - in which students would gather at a member's home, hook up their computers into a small network and play games.

Gloria Milas, whose son Joshua was in the club with Lanza, hosted one of the parties once.

She recalled a school meeting in 2008 organized by the gunman's mother to try to save the job of the club's adviser. At the meeting, Milas said, Adam Lanza's brother Ryan said a few words in support of the adviser, who he said had taken his brother under his wing.

'My brother has always been a nerd,' Ryan Lanza said then, according to Milas. 'He still wears a pocket protector.'

Joshua Milas, who graduated from Newtown High School in 2009, said Adam Lanza was generally a happy person but that he hadn't seen him in a few years.

'We would hang out, and he was a good kid. He was smart,' Joshua Milas told the AP. 'He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius.'

He graduated high school in 2010, but was not pictured in the school yearbook. Rather, a block reading ‘camera shy’ is the entire imprint he left.

 
A boy weeps as he is told what happened after being picked up at Reed Intermediate School following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

A boy weeps as he is told what happened after being picked up at Reed Intermediate School following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

A woman talks to a state police officer for news about the 29 people believed to have been shot dead at the school

A woman talks to a state police officer for news about the 29 people believed to have been shot dead at the school

A visibly shocked Governor Dan Molloy joins armed law enforcement officers as they respond to the scene of multiple deaths reported after a shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School

A visibly shocked Governor Dan Molloy joins armed law enforcement officers as they respond to the scene of multiple deaths reported after a shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School

A neighbor in Newtown, Rhonda Cullens, said she knew Nancy Lanza from monthly get-togethers the neighborhood women had a few years back for games of bunco, a dice game.

'She was a very nice lady,' Ms Cullens told the AP. 'She was just like all the rest of us in the neighborhood, just a regular person.'

Ms Cullens recalled that Mrs Lanza liked to garden and to make her house look nice for the holidays. Lanza joked, though, that no one noticed because the house was out of view, up a hill, she said.

Sandeep Kapur, who lives two doors down from the Lanza family in Newtown, said he did not know them and was unaware of any disturbances at the Lanza house in the three years that he and his family have been in the neighborhood.

He described the area as a subdivision of well-tended, 15-year-old homes on lots of an acre or more, where many people work at companies like General Electric, Pepsi and IBM. Some are doctors, and his next-door neighbor is a bank CEO, said Kapur, a project manager at an information technology firm.

'The neighborhood's great. We have young kids, and they have lots of friends,' he said. 'If you drive past this neighborhood, it gives you a really warm feeling.'

A PRESIDENT BREAKS DOWN AS 'HEARTS ARE BROKEN': OBAMA'S SPEECH IN FULL

This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.  And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would -- as a parent.  And that was especially true today.  I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.  

The majority of those who died today were children -- beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old. 

They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.  Among the fallen were also teachers -- men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.  

So our hearts are broken today -- for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. 

Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.  

As a country, we have been through this too many times.  Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago -- these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. 

And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. 

But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight.  And they need all of us right now.  In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans.  And I will do everything in my power as President to help.

Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need -- to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.

May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

A mother runs with her children, left, as police canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and another comforts her traumatized child, right

Parents pick-up children outside Sandy Hook Elementary School after 18 students and two adults were shot dead this morning

Parents pick-up children outside Sandy Hook Elementary School after 18 students and two adults were shot dead this morning

Hundreds of officers, sniffer dogs, and firefighters patrol the streets outside Sandy Hook Elementary School to secure the area

Hundreds of officers, sniffer dogs, and firefighters patrol the streets outside Sandy Hook Elementary School to secure the area

The shooting is the latest in a series of high-profile gun crimes in American schools and colleges, that is especially shocking given the age of the students involved.

Mayor Bloomberg said Friday that immediate action must be taken over gun laws in the U.S.

He said: 'We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again.

'For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown.

'But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough. We need immediate action.'

Paramedics push stretchers toward Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, after the mass shooting this morning

Paramedics push stretchers toward Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, after the mass shooting this morning

A woman comforts a young girl during a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown

A woman comforts a young girl during a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown

Families grieve, left, and a man carries a child away from the area of a shooting at the elementary school, right

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: AMERICA'S WORST SCHOOL MASSACRES

1. Virginia Tech - 32 dead plus the shooter, 16 April 2007, Blacksburg, Virginia

Student Seung Hui Cho, 23, killed two stuidents in a dorm and then went through building of classrooms armed with two handguns, shooting at random before killing himself.

 2. University of Texas - 16 dead plus shooter, 1 August 1966, Austin, Texas

Former Marine sniper Charles Whitman, 25, armed with an arsenal of weapons shot victims from the observation deck of the campus tower.

3. Columbine High School - 13 dead plus two shooters, 20 April 1999, Littleton, Colorado

Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire outside the school killing students and one teacher before shooting themselves in the library.

4. Red Lake High School - 9 dead plus shooter, 21 March 2005, Red Lake, Minnesota

Jeffrey Weise, 17, goes on a shooting spree at Red Lake High School killing nine people, including his grandfather, before shooting himself.

5. University of Iowa - five dead plus shooter, 1 November 1991, University of Iowa

Gang Lu, 27, a graduate student from China killed five with a .38-caliber revolver. He was apparently angry because his doctoral dissertation had not been nominated for an academic award.

6. Amish schoolhouse massacre - six dead plus shooter, 2 October 2, 2006, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania

Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, executes five girls aged 7 to 13 before killing himself in a small Amish schoolhouse

7. Jonesboro, Arkansas - five dead, 24 March 1998, Jonesboro, Arkansas

Mitchell Johnson, 10, and Andrew Golden, 8, took seven guns to school and pulled the fire alarm and shot students as they headed for the exits. Four died plus a teacher. The pair were sent to a juvenile detention center and released in 2005.

8. Cleveland Elementary School - five dead plus shooter, 17 January 1989, in Stockton, California

Patrick Edward Purdy entered a schoolyard and opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at Cleveland Elementary School. Five children died and 30 others were wounded including one teacher. He then shot himself.

9. University of Arizona – three dead plus shooter, 28 October 2002, University of Arizona

Robert Flores, 40, a nursing student shot an instructor in her office before entering a classroom and killing two more teachers before committing suicide.

10. Kent State University – four dead, 4 May 1970, Kent State University in Ohio

National Guard troops killed four students who took part in anti-war protests on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio.

'If we get more information and as we get more information, we'll certainly provide it to you. The president as a father and I as a father certainly ... feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected and to do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement, to support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event.'

First Selectman Pat Llodra told Patch that there is no information being released about the victims — only confirming that there was a shooting.

'I'm horrified, saddened and shocked that this happened in Newtown,' Llodra said. 'Our priorities right now are making sure everyone safe and reuniting parents with their children.'

One mother of an eight-year-old girl at the school, Brenda Lebinski, told Patch that her daughter is safe thanks to one teacher's decision to move all kids into a closet when a gunman had entered the building.

Mrs Lebinski said that she had spoken to her daughter's teacher who was in the school at the time of the shooting, and that a masked gunman had shot adults in the school.

'My daughter's teacher is my hero,' Lebinski said. 'She locked all the kids in a closet and that saved their lives.'

 
There were reports of frantic parents rushing to the school though officials are telling them to stay at home by the phone

There were reports of frantic parents rushing to the school though officials are telling them to stay at home by the phone

SECURITY MEASURES CAN'T PREVENT ANOTHER U.S. SCHOOL SHOOTING

American public schools use a variety of security measures to protect students and staff.

Almost 94 per cent of U.S. elementary schools lock their doors during the school day to restrict access to campuses.

Some 84 per cent of high schools, 73 per cent of middle schools, and 51 per cent of elementary schools use security cameras to monitor their schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Increasing numbers of security guards are in place at U.S. public schools as a result of gun crime with metal detectors also in use across the country.

Yet despite security measures school shootings in America are still common place.

On February 10 2012 a 14-year-old from New Hampshire called Hunter Mack shot himself in the face at Walpole Elementary School cafeteria.

Two weeks later student T.J. Lane, 17, allegedly opened fire at Chardon High School, Ohio, killing two and injuring three.

Seven were killed and 10 injured at a shooting at Oikos University, in Oakland, California on 2 April. One L. Goh, 43, a Korean national surrendered to police.

Police arrested 15-year-old Robert Gladden and charged him as an adult after a student opened fire on the first day of school, at Perry Hall High School, Baltimore, in August. The 15-year-old allegedly opened fire before being rushed by teachers.

Teachers again stopped a shooter on September 7 when a 14-year-old was tackled to the floor after shooting at the ceiling at Normal Community High School, Illinois.

On September 26 eight grader Cade Poulos killed himself at Stillwater Junior High School in Oklahoma.

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