The FBI on Tuesday released a trove of more than 1,500 highly redacted pages that shed light on the bureau’s investigation into the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 that left 20 children and six adults dead.
The documents include interviews that FBI agents conducted with residents of the Connecticut neighborhood where the shooter, Adam Lanza, lived with his mother, Nancy Lanza.
Adam Lanza, described in the documents as a recluse who had been diagnosed with a form of autism, killed his mother before going to the school to carry out the shooting, where he eventually killed himself. Nancy Lanza, who was divorced, lived with her son in a house in Newtown, Conn.
When agents canvassed the neighborhood where the Lanzas lived, multiple people told the FBI that they didn’t know the two and didn’t see them often.
One man interviewed by the FBI in the days after the shooting told authorities that he remembered Adam Lanza saying in 2008 that he wanted to kill his mother and children at Sandy Hook.
The Newtown Police Department told the man there was nothing they could do. After a woman, whose identity is redacted, urged him to go to the state police about the threat, he refused, saying he was "scared of the threats" from the Newtown Police Department. Much of the details about the information the man gave to the FBI are redacted.
The man stated he was "coming forward with this information because he felt bad about not doing more to try and prevent the incident from occurring" after watching news reports about the Sandy Hook shooting.
Other people who had interacted with Adam or his mother described Nancy as a mother who doted on her son, indulging his compulsion to stay in his room. They said she was planning to put her Connecticut house on the market to move to Seattle in 2013 — a place Adam wanted to go because it was “dark and gloomy.”
“Nancy had boyfriends,” one of Nancy’s friends told the FBI, “but spent her life caring for Adam and would not give up on him. Nancy had told the [redacted] that she asked Adam if he would miss her if something happened to her, and Adam answered no, not really.”
At one point, the friend said, Adam had grown “despondent” and refused to leave his room for three months, only communicating with his mother through email.
One interview with a neighbor described Nancy as a “gun nut,” adding that someone had gotten in a “verbal confrontation about Nancy’s fascination for guns.”
That person also recounted a story, which had previously been reported, about Adam Lanza hacking into government computer systems, bypassing two levels of security before being shut down.
When authorities with the CIA and FBI showed up at their home, Nancy Lanza convinced the officers that “her son was just very intelligent and was challenging himself to see if he could hack into a government system,” according to one of the files.
Officers allegedly told Lanza that if her son was so smart, “he could have a job with them someday.”
A large chunk of the documents released by the FBI are subpoenas for the grand jury investigation. There are also investigations into potential copycat killers, people who had made threatening calls to Sandy Hook Elementary or wrote inflammatory things online, and odd, vaguely threatening emails sent to a Connecticut newspaper.
The FBI also sought to pursue obstruction “or any other potential charges” against a person who had set up a fake Facebook page — presumably with Adam Lanza’s name, though that is redacted — after the shooting. “This action caused investigators to waste several hours and took law enforcement away from other important work,” an email within the documents says. The name of the sender and recipient are redacted.
The FBI also released notes about voicemail messages that were found on the Lanzas' home phone.
They itemize voicemails and caller ID logs from the Lanzas' digital answering machine on the day of the shooting. Some of the messages were from news outlets, including CNN, “Good Morning America,” the Huffington Post, Reuters and the TV show “Dr. Phil.”
“Please answer the phone,” says a voicemail from the Connecticut State Police on the day of the shooting.
“Saw headlines, checking in,” said one person, whose identity is redacted.
“I’m really sorry for what you’re going through,” said an unknown caller. Another unknown caller charged Nancy with “bad parenting.”
“Is this the MF that killed those kids,” a voicemail from an unknown number says.
In the week before the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting, the log lists a call from a redacted source, with a “healthcare reminder” for Adam.