Sunday, January 21, 2018

No signs of practice before attack

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Federal agents said the gunman in the Connecticut school shooting fired guns at shooting ranges over the past several years, but there's no evidence he did so recently as practice for the rampage.

Debora Seifert, a spokeswoman for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Adam Lanza and his mother each fired at shooting ranges. They also visited ranges together.

But Seifert told the Associated Press that ATF investigators have no indication now "that the shooter engaged in shooting activities in the past six months."

One of the major unanswered questions has been whether Lanza trained for Friday's attack. Lanza also killed his mother, Nancy, at home and himself.

In 2009, Nancy Lanza told a divorce mediator in 2009 that she didn't like to leave her son alone and that she would care for him as long as he needed it.

When Lanza's parents divorced in 2009, the settlement left his mother with a comfortable income and knowing that the then-17-year-old boy would have his education paid for and his medical insurance covered.

If there was bitterness and anger between Nancy and Peter Lanza, it isn't described in court papers. And there was no mention of any lingering mental health or medical issues for Adam Lanza.

In working through the terms of their divorce, the couple spoke extensively about how to provide for Adam Lanza's well-being, said Paula Levy, a mediator who worked with the couple.

Levy said that during their meetings, the couple mentioned that Adam Lanza had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism often characterized by social awkwardness. While people with the disorder can become frustrated more easily, there is no evidence of a link between Asperger's and violent behavior, experts say.

The Lanzas agreed how to address Adam's needs and said little about the details of his condition, Levy said.

"The only two things I remember them saying is that she really didn't like to leave him alone and I know they went out of their way to accommodate him," said Levy.

Nancy Lanza, received $289,800 in alimony this year. It was to continue until December 2023, with slight increases each year for cost of living.

On Monday, authorities pored over computer, cellphone and credit card records trying to piece together the Lanza family's days leading up to the shooting.

Lanza's aunt, Marsha, told CBS News that his mother homeschooled her son after disputes with the local school district.

"(Nancy, Lanza's mother) had issues with school. … She battled with the school district,'' said Marsha Lanza. "I'm not 100 percent certain if it was behavior, learning disabilities, I really don't know. But he was very, very bright. He was smart."

As a teenager, Lanza, took six classes at Western Connecticut State University, according to a spokesman for the university.

The spokesman, Paul Steinmetz, confirmed that Lanza was a part-time student from the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2009, but said the circumstances through which he came to the school were not clear.

Asked if university files contained any record of concerns about Lanza, Steinmetz said: "I have not heard of any and I've not seen any, and I've not talked to anyone who's expressed any knowledge of that. As far as we know there were no concerns." He said he was not aware of the student's having visited the school's counseling or health services.''

Information from the Associated Press, New York Times and CBS News was used in this report.

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