According to documents recently released by the FBI, Adam Lanza was overheard saying that he had an assault rifle and was planning to use it on the children at Sandy Hook Elementary and his mother, four years before he did so.
reports that the man who overheard the conversation alerted the Newtown Police Department in 2008. Lanza would go on to fatally shoot his mother, Nancy, followed by 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary in December of 2012.
The problem was, there was very little that police officials could do with the information. The gun Lanza had been referring to was legally owned by his mother, and so the police had no legal basis on which to take it. This was the gun that the Lanzas kept in their home, completely legally:
(Photo via Connecticut State Police/Getty)
Other accounts of Lanza emerged from the newly released documents, including a woman who corresponded with him online. She said that Lanza kept a meticulous spreadsheet of past mass shootings and spree killings. She thought Lanza was strange, especially his hobby of researching these massacres. He would also frequently bring up the topic of pedophilia, and he seemed conflicted about it, saying that he despised pedophiles but thought that the relationship could be beneficial somehow. (This goes along with a report released back in 2013 detailing materials found in Lanza’s home advocating for the rights of pedophiles.)
The report also mentions that Nancy Lanza never saw her son as a potential threat, despite the fact that their relationship had so deteriorated just a month before the shooting that her son would only communicate with her via email. He also refused to leave the house, even when they lost power during Hurricane Sandy, forcing his mother to stay with him.
Find the FBI’s Sandy Hook documents here.