Nearly five years after Adam Lanza killed his mother, Nancy, and went on a shooting rampage, murdering 20 first-graders and 6 educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the FBI has released a trove of heavily redacted files offering a glimpse into his disturbing mind.
The 1,500 unsealed documents paint a troubling picture of a quiet, young man who had been silently researching and carefully documenting mass killing across the world years before he actually embarked on one, ruthlessly taking innocent lives.
Lanza, who ended his shooting spree by committing suicide, was reportedly in an online relationship with an unidentified woman for two years before the tragedy. The woman told the investigators the 20-year-old was “singularly focused and obsessed with mass murders and spree killings.” She further said he looked upon school shooters “with respect and understanding” and “devoted almost all of his internet activity to researching and discussing” mass killings, which he believed was “a symptom caused by a broken society.”
She also referred to him as “the weirdest person online” who was “extremely intelligent” but “seemed to wallow” in his depression.
Disturbingly, Lanza also appeared to be interested in pedophilia.
The woman claimed the shooter believed “adult-child sexual relationships” could be “possibly beneficial to both parties.” However, she told FBI he also acknowledged such relationships could be “unhealthy” and refrained from expressing any sexual interest in children and possibly thought he was “saving” children and “taking them away from harmful influences” of adults.
According to the FBI, there was a folder on Lanza’s computer “advocating pedophiles’ rights and the liberation of children.” One of the internal briefing documents also suggested he “had an interest in children that could be categorized as pedophilia.”
There is no evidence suggesting he ever acted on it.
The FBI also believes the shooting was not a spur of a moment decision. In fact, he thoroughly planned it.
“The shooter did not ‘snap,’ but instead engaged in careful, methodical planning and preparation,” the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit wrote. “The shooter was fascinated with past shootings and researched them thoroughly. The shooter shared many similar characteristics and behaviors with other active shooters.”
It is believed he had been planning the attack since at least March 2011.
The mass shooter also suffered from Asperger's syndrome but refused medication.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Lanza killed his mother using the gun she had legally purchased and then headed to the school, where he committed the seventh-deadliest school massacre in the U.S. history. Nancy Lanza, according to the documents, was a paranoid woman who home-schooled her child and was worried about him in the months leading up to her murder, because he had become a shut-in who would not leave the house.
Lanza was socially awkward, friendless and complained the sunlight hurt his eyes. Instead, he spent most of his time playing video games or on computer researching
A family friend, who remains anonymous, told investigators Lanza hated Sandy Hook Elementary School because his mother volunteered there and loved those students more than him. However, another person told the officials Lanza actually “loved” school.
One of the documents also detailed an encounter with the FBI agents who showed up at Lanza’s home after he hacked an unidentified government computer. He was in the ninth grade at the time and successfully hacked through two security levels before the officials finally showed up.
“Nancy had to convince the authorities that her son was just very intelligent and was challenging himself to see if he could hack into a government system,” a witness explained. “The authorities told Nancy that if her son was that smart he could have a job with them one day.”
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Mike Segar