US gunman had access to huge, legal weapons cache


Associated Press

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 28 at 9:33 PM

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (AP) — New records give the clearest view so far of the young U.S. gunman in the December school shooting that pulled gun safety back into the national spotlight, but they reveal no sign of why Adam Lanza launched the attack that left 20 young children and six adults dead.

Warrants released Thursday portray the 20-year-old Lanza as a recluse who played violent video games in a house packed with weaponry that was all too real. When he walked out of his house for the last time, leaving his mother shot to death in bed, he left behind firearms and knives and more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition — taking four guns with him.

President Barack Obama called the shooting the worst day of his presidency, and on Thursday he urged lawmakers to support a key Senate vote next month on gun safety measures that already have been weakened by political concerns and gun-lobby opposition.

The weapons used in the December shooting all apparently had been purchased by Lanza's mother, Nancy, said prosecutor Stephen J. Sedensky III, in a statement accompanying the warrants.

In just five minutes, Lanza fired 154 shots with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle. He killed himself with a shot from a Glock handgun. He still had more than 100 rifle bullets at hand.

Authorities also found a gun safe in his bedroom and a holiday card from his mother containing a check made out to him for the purchase of another firearm.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy expressed incredulity over the access that the troubled young man had to a cache of weapons.

"There are parts of this story that are unfathomable," he said. "How anyone would have maintained that household that way is difficult to understand."

A judge's order to seal the warrants expired Wednesday.

If it's possible to determine a motive for the massacre, there may be clues in Adam Lanza's journals, which police seized from the house and turned over to the FBI for analysis. But authorities say that so far, no conclusions have been reached.

At the Lanza house, investigators found books about autism and Asperger's syndrome, as well as one with tabbed pages titled "Train Your Brain to Get Happy." Adam Lanza was said to have been diagnosed with Asperger's, an autism-like disorder that is not associated with violence.

But the warrants also reveal an intense interest in weaponry and violence.

Investigators found a metal bayonet, three samurai swords, a .323-caliber bolt-action rifle, a .22-caliber Savage Mark II rifle and a .22-caliber Volcanic starter pistol. Literature seized from the house included a news article on a 2008 shooting at Northern Illinois University and a National Rifle Association guide to pistol shooting.

In a duffel bag, investigators found ear and eye protection, binoculars, numerous paper targets and an NRA certificate that belonged to Adam Lanza.

The NRA said Lanza was not a member.


Associated Press writers John Christoffersen, Dave Collins and Susan Haigh in Hartford and John Christoffersen in New Haven contributed to this report. Melia reported from Hartford.