NEW YORK: The massacre of 20 children and six staff at a US school took barely five minutes, investigators said Thursday, as they revealed details of the extent of the shooter and his mother’s gun obsession.
“It is currently estimated that the time from when the shooter shot his way into the school until he took his own life was less than five minutes,” the Connecticut prosecutor’s office said, in a statement about the killings.
Under growing public pressure for information about the investigation into Adam Lanza’s bloodbath at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, prosecutors released copies of five search warrants.
Parts of the warrants were blacked out by prosecutors and the information that remained gave little new insight into Lanza’s motivation for the shooting, which began when the 20-year-old shot his mother in the head.
And although detectives listed Lanza’s journal and other documents among evidence seized, nothing about the contents was revealed.
But the warrants do show that Lanza, an academically gifted but mentally troubled man, and his middle-class mother Nancy Lanza, kept a huge collection of weapons at home in their affluent Newtown neighborhood.
Prosecutors confirmed that Lanza was heavily armed when he burst into the elementary school, opening fire with a military-style Bushmaster rifle.
He used 30-round magazines with the rifle — a size that President Barack Obama’s White House and a coalition of anti-gun campaigners says should be outlawed — and carried large quantities of ammunition.
Police recovered 154 spent shell casings from the rifle, prosecutors said.
When police responded, Lanza used a Glock 10mm handgun to commit suicide, prosecutors said. He was also carrying a loaded 9mm Sig Sauer handgun and a loaded 12-gauge shotgun was found in the car he used to get to the school.
The search warrants reveal that this was only the beginning of the mother-and-son weapons collection.
In their home, there were multiple firearms and boxes of ammunition, including Winchester rifle rounds, an Enfield bolt-action rifle and a Luger pistol.
There were also three Samurai swords, a bayonet, and a long “pole with a blade on one side and a spear on the opposite side.”
The search warrants also list numerous documents that are thought to be under close scrutiny. They include Adam Lanza’s “journal,” and a multitude of computer equipment and violent video games, such as “Call of Duty.”
In addition, according to one warrant, “investigators also noted a smashed computer hard drive on top of a desk in what is believed to be Adam Lanza’s bedroom.”
Although the weapons were legally registered to the mother, she had not, apparently, done enough to secure the firearms, since evidence showed that the gun locker was not forced open.
The warrant states Nancy Lanza was found shot in the head, a “deceased middle aged white female lying in a supine position on a bed in the 2nd floor master bedroom.”
Other clues to the Lanzas’ unusual existence also appear in the police documents.
The search turned up two books on mental illness, “Look me in the eye — My life with Aspergers,” and “Born on a blue day — Inside the mind of an autistic savant.”
And an unidentified witness is quoted in the warrants as saying that Adam Lanza “rarely leaves his home and considers him to be a shut in and an avid gamer who plays Call of Duty, amongst other games.”