New Sandy Hook shooter details emerge

17:35, Dec 22 2012
lanza stand
QUIET GUY: Classmates of Adam Lanza, 20, say the US gunman was the awkward kid who rarely spoke.

New details about US gunman Adam Lanza have emerged as Newtown, Connecticut wrapped up a wrenching week of farewells, with funerals scheduled Saturday (Sunday, NZ time) for three more of the 20 slain children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

High school classmates recalled Lanza was the awkward kid who wore the same clothes to school every day. He rarely spoke and even gave a school presentation entirely by computer, never uttering a word.

He liked tinkering with computers and other gadgets, and seemed to enjoy playing a violent video game, choosing a military-style assault rifle as one of his weapons.

Lanza fatally shot his mother on December 14 before blasting his way into Sandy Hook, where he slaughtered 20 children and six adults before killing himself.

In high school, Lanza would walk through the hallways, awkwardly pressing himself against the wall while wearing the same green shirt and khaki pants every day. He hardly ever talked to his classmates.

"As long as I knew him, he never really spoke," said Daniel Frost, who took a computer class with Lanza and remembered his skill with electronics. Lanza could take apart and reassemble a computer in a matter of minutes

Lanza seemed to spend most of his time in the basement of the home he shared with his mother, who kept a collection of guns there, said Russell Ford, a friend of Nancy Lanza's who had done chimney and pipe work on the house.

Nancy Lanza was often seen around town and regularly met friends at a local restaurant. But her 20-year-old son was seldom spotted around town, Ford and other townspeople said.

The basement of the Lanza home had a computer, flat-screen television, couches and an elaborate setup for video games. Nancy Lanza kept her guns in what appeared to be a secure case in another part of the basement, said Ford, who often met her and other friends at a regular Tuesday gathering at My Place, a local restaurant.

During the past year and a half, Ford said Nancy Lanza had told him she planned to move out west and enroll Adam in a "school or a centre". The plan started unfolding after Adam turned 18.

"She knew she needed to be near him," Ford said.

"She was trying to do what was positive for him."

Ford said Nancy Lanza did not elaborate on what type of services she wanted her son to receive. He said she made fewer appearances at the restaurant in recent months.

Mark Tambascio, owner of My Place, said Nancy Lanza described the same plan to him, saying she might move to Washington state.

Back in high school, Frost recalled, someone brought in a video game called Counter-Strike, a shooting video game in which players compete against each other as either terrorists or counter-terrorists.

Lanza "seemed pretty interested in the game", Frost said, and would play it with other pupils. He remembers the weapons Lanza chose: an M4 military-style assault rifle and a Glock handgun.

Authorities said Lanza used a military-style assault rifle and carried handguns during the rampage at the school.

They still have no clear reason why Lanza would lash out at defenseless children and their caretakers.

State police spokesman Lieutenant J Paul Vance said a final report on the investigation could be months away.

A moment of silence was held Friday (Saturday, NZ time) in remembrance of those killed at the school. Connecticut Govenor Dannel P Malloy gathered with other officials in rain and wind on the steps of the Edmond Town Hall as the bell rang. Similar commemorations took place across the United States.

Also on Friday, the National Rifle Association called for armed police officers to be stationed at schools. Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the nation's largest gun-rights lobbing group, said at a Washington news conference that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun".

LaPierre blamed video games, music and videos for exposing children to violence.

The founder of a video game website said he expected tens of thousands of players of online shooter games to participate in a 24-hour ceasefire that started at noon on Friday (6am Saturday, NZ time).

Antwand Pearman, founder of GamerFitNation, said the ceasefire was meant to show respect for those killed in the Newtown shooting. He said video games did not cause violence.

Services were scheduled for Saturday, local time, in Connecticut for 7-year-old Josephine Gay and 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene. A service was also planned in Utah for 6-year-old Emilie Parker.

A spokeswoman for the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association says the last victim funerals it knows of were taking place on Saturday, although some burials were private.