Hundreds of people gathered at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church Friday night to mourn the deaths of 26 people -- 20 children and six adults -- who were the victims of the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
According to law-enforcement officials, the suspected shooter was a 20-year-old man named Adam Lanza, who was also found dead inside the school. The officials also revealed that the firearms recovered at the scene - a Sig Sauer semiautomatic pistol and a Glock 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol – were registered to Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy Lanza, who was also reportedly among the victims.
Many reports on the Connecticut school shooting stated that the alleged shooter’s mother was a teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. However, a late Friday report on The Wall Street Journal suggested that that was not true.
The report said that “a former school board official in Newtown called into question earlier reports that Nancy Lanza had been connected to Sandy Hook Elementary School, possibly as part of the teaching staff.”
“No one has heard of her,” the Journal quoted Lillian Bittman, who served on the local school board until 2011. “Teachers don’t know her.”
Josh Marshall of the Talking Points Memo said the crucial information, “buried down at the bottom of the story, almost as an afterthought,” was mentioned so offhandedly.
“And this apparent fact was so widely reported that I’m still wondering if I’m misreading these two grafs. But it seems hard to read it any other way,” said Marshall.
The WSJ report also revealed some new details about the Lanza family. The report cited state court records, which revealed that the suspect’s parents divorced in 2009. Both Nancy and her husband Peter Lanza filed certifications of their completion of a parenting-education program, which is a Connecticut state requirement while going for a divorce if the couple has children below 18.
A ‘Socially Awkward’ Teenager
A neighbor’s daughter, who went to elementary school with Adam, recalled him saying that he was a “socially awkward” teenager. “He was kind of a loner and shy. He didn’t look you in the eye,” she said.
According to Mary Ann Lanza, the ex-wife of Adam Lanza’s grandfather, she could remember Adam as a young child but not as a teenager. She said that she met her ex-husband, who died in 2010, as a widower. He had children and grandchildren of his own.
She also revealed that the Lanza family was “a close-knit and loving group who lived across New England, from New Hampshire to Connecticut.”
A 24-year-old resident of Hoboken, N.J., named Katie Colaneri, said that Adam’s brother Ryan Lanza, who was also being questioned late Friday, was “a little shy, but very nice and sweet.” According to her, he was devoted to his job at the Ernst & Young accounting firm.
Law-enforcement officials told the Associated Press that Ryan had been “extremely co-operative” and was not under arrest. Ryan, who lives in a newer building in Hoboken, told authorities that he had not been in touch with his brother Adam in recent years.
Another neighbor of the Lanza family said that the family had a quiet presence in the neighborhood. “I wouldn’t know them if they drove right by me,” he said. “We know all the neighbors but them.”
Authorities said that 18 children were pronounced dead at the scene along with six adults. Two children were pronounced dead at a hospital.