Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

Grandmother of Adam Lanza, a winter resident of Brooksville, preparing to travel north

BROOKSVILLE — The grandmother of Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who authorities have identified as the gunman in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, walked quietly down the steps from her mobile home Friday evening toward the porch door.

Dorothy Hanson's voice quivered slightly as she spoke.

She said she wasn't ready to talk and was "just trying to absorb it." 

"They're my grandchildren," she said in answer to a Tampa Bay Times reporter's question about Adam Lanza and his brother, Ryan, whom officials initially mistakenly identified as the suspect.

Hanson, 78, is the mother of Nancy Lanza, who police say was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School where the massacre occurred.

Hanson is a winter resident of a modest mobile home park on the south side of Brooksville. She said she was getting ready to return up North.

Hanson's Facebook page shows a Nov. 30 post saying she had arrived at her winter home in Florida and was happy to see her friends and neighbors.

A woman standing by Hanson on Friday night, who first answered the door, said Hanson was "beside herself right now."

A neighbor, Bill Bice, said he had never heard Hanson talk much about her family, though she said she had a son who was a police officer.

"She's a very nice lady," Bice said. "She would do anything to help anybody in the park."

Later in the evening, two Hernando deputies were stationed outside Hanson's home. A sheriff's spokeswoman told a reporter that another jurisdiction and Hanson's family had asked them to guard her home.

Times staff writers Tony Marrero and Dan Sullivan and researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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