Little known about Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza

Published 4:00 pm Friday, December 14, 2012

By Susan Misur

New Haven Register, Conn.

NEWTOWN — Much remains to be revealed about the person who killed 27 people in an elementary school massacre, though that didn’t halt news and social media announcements about the shooter, including one blaming the wrong person.

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While state and Newtown police have declined to give any information about the killer and state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said identities will be released Saturday, law enforcement sources have named Adam Lanza, 20, as the suspect.

No incidents or activities at Nancy Jean Lanza’s three-acre home caused alarm or brought undue attention to the divorced mother of two sons.

Then on Friday, her 20-year-old son, Adam, fatally shot Lanza in her 36 Yogalanda St. home in Newtown and proceeded to kill 20 adults and 6 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself, police say.

There are conflicting reports as to whether Lanza, 52, was a kindergarten teacher or teacher’s aide at the school.

“They seemed very normal. I knew the mom, she was a nice person,” said a Yogalanda Street neighbor who did not want her name published. “I don’t know for sure if the sons lived there. Once they go to high school, you don’t see them waiting for the bus anymore. I remember (Adam) as a little kid. I don’t know if I’d recognize him anymore.”

Nicholas Germak, who resides five homes away from Lanza’s property, said he has lived in the neighborhood nine years. “Not once did we have any contact with the kids,” he said. “I had no clue these kids were even living at the house, but the houses are pretty far apart. Five houses away is like two blocks.”

Two of his children formerly attended Sandy Hook, Germak said. “It’s a horrible thing — tough night,” he said.

The Lanza house, built in 1998, sits on just over three acres with $12,067 in property taxes. The quiet, upscale neighborhood holds large homes with sprawling lawns.

Court records show Lanza had no criminal history and was divorced from her husband, Peter John Lanza, in 2009. At the time, she continued to live at their Newtown home, built in 1998, and Peter Lanza had moved into an apartment in Stamford.

One or both of them had participated in a parenting education program, according to Superior Court records, which also show proceedings were held for custody of a minor child.

Their older son, Ryan, 24, initially was misidentified as the shooter.

A state court database shows no records of either Lanza brother having a criminal past or any pending cases.

Nancy and Peter Lanza were married in Kingston, N.H., in 1981 and according to birth records, Adam was born in April 22, 1992. Nancy Lanza’s maiden name was Champion. She was the sister of James Champion, a Kingston police officer and her stepfather, Paul Hanson, was a former teacher and principal in Epsom, N.H., as well as a thoroughbred horse owner, according to in Massachusetts.

A man identified by the Stamford Advocate as Peter Lanza, Adam Lanza’s father, had a brief exchange with an Advocate reporter Friday. Peter Lanza, who, according to the Stamford Advocate now lives on Bartina Lane in Stamford, arrived home Friday in a blue Mini Cooper a few minutes after police left his home, the newspaper reported.

According to the newspaper, Peter Lanza, upon seeing a reporter, asked, “Is there something I can do for you?” When told his address was connected to the mass shooting, “Lanza’s expression shifted from patient to surprise to horror. He quickly declined to comment, rolled up the window, parked in the right side of the two-car garage and closed the door,” according to the Advocate.

The Advocate says Peter Lanza is a vice president of taxes for GE Energy Financial Services, and has worked as a “tax specialist,” an adjunct professor at Boston’s Northeastern University since 1995, and an instructor at Fairfield University teaching “tax partnerships.”

According to the Advocate, police had visited the home for a “welfare check” after the school shooting and came back to the house Friday evening with the FBI. A neighbor told the Advocate that Peter Lanza and his current wife married “fairly recently” and that his wife has resided in the neighborhood for at least a decade. The newspaper said Lanza moved there a few years ago when he got married.

–Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune News Services.