Tuesday, November 21, 2017

For what? Adam Lanza's motive yet unknown in Newton school shooting

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WASHINGTON — The man suspected of killing his mother and then gunning down more than two dozen people Friday at the Connecticut elementary school where she taught may have suffered from a personality disorder, law enforcement officials said.

So far, authorities have not spoken publicly of any possible motive. Witnesses said the shooter didn't utter a word.

Adam Lanza, 20, and his mother, Nancy, lived in a well-to-do part of Newtown, a prosperous community of 27,000 people about 60 miles northeast of New York City.

Adam Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza of Hoboken, N.J., was being questioned, a law enforcement official said. He told authorities that his brother was believed to suffer from a personality disorder and be "somewhat autistic" and lived with his mother in Connecticut, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the unfolding investigation.

Ryan Lanza had been extremely cooperative and was not under arrest or in custody, but investigators were still searching his computers and phone records. Ryan Lanza told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.

Brett Wilshe, a friend of Ryan Lanza's, said he sent him a Facebook message Friday asking what was going on and if he was okay. According to Wilshe, Lanza's reply was something along the lines of: "It was my brother. I think my mother is dead. Oh my God."

Adam Lanza attended Newtown High School, and several local news clippings from recent years mention his name among the school's honor roll students.

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," Cullens said. "She was just like all the rest of us in the neighborhood, just a regular person."

Cullens recalled that 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."

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