By Stephen J. Sedensky III, Connecticut State Attorney for Danbury
The following is excerpted from the introductory pages of the document, “Report of the State Attorney’s for the Judicial District of Danbury on the Shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012.” This document was released with additional materials by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection on December 27, 2013.
The report is duly sworn as a full and accurate accounting of the incident by Stephen J. Sedensky III, State Attorney, Judicial District of Danbury, who closed further inquiry into the case effective November 25, 2013.
Numbering 285 pages, the document provides a detailed narrative and timeline of events, suggesting several internal incongruities, in addition to inconsistencies with what has been broadly reported as factual by major news media and accepted by the American public from the event’s initial occurrence to the present. These contradictions include the specific weapons and ammunition reportedly used and recovered at the scenes, in addition to the alleged positions and relative proximities of the perpetrator vis-a-vis victims and witnesses to the event.
Most importantly, in a move with few precedents the names of victims, victim family members, and witnesses, in addition to crucial photographic and video images of the crime scenes, have been wholly expunged from all released materials, including Sedensky’s report. Because the principle crime scene, Sandy Hook Elementary School, was slated for demolition in October 2013 and is now fully leveled, there is no way for future investigators or the public at large to corroborate the accuracy of documentation now accessible.
The intent to preserve the anonymity of figures intimately involved in the event should not be considered apart from the fact that local, state and federal agencies were directly involved in the overall inquiry, including the United States Attorney’s Office, which “was stationed at the Emergency Operations Center overseeing the investigation into the possible commission of federal crimes and the issuance of federal legal process [sic].” Many of the local and state law enforcement and emergency response agencies, as recipients of $2.5 million disbursed by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice in late 2013, are now invariably bound to federal prerogatives concerning the Sandy Hook Massacre event.
For additional information and analysis of the event please see the Sandy Hook School Massacre Timeline developed from corporate and alternative media reports of the event, and The Sandy Hook School Massacre: A Compendium of Research and Analysis, that provides links to all articles appearing here.-JFT
The purpose of this report is to identify the person or persons criminally responsible for the twenty-seven homicides that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, on the morning of December 14, 2012, to determine what crimes were committed, and to indicate if there will be any state prosecutions as a result of the incident.
The State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury is charged, pursuant to Article IV, Section 27 of the Constitution of the State of Connecticut and Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) Sec. 51-276 et seq., with the investigation and prosecution of all criminal offenses occurring within the Judicial District of Danbury. The Connecticut State Police have the responsibility to prevent and detect violations of the law and this State’s Attorney has worked with and relied upon the Connecticut State Police since the incident occurred.
Since December 14, 2012, the Connecticut State Police and the State’s Attorney’s Office have worked with the federal authorities sharing responsibilities for various aspects of this investigation. Numerous other municipal, state and federal agencies assisted in the investigation. The investigation materials reflect thousands of law enforcement and prosecutor hours. Apart from physical evidence, the materials consist of more than seven-hundred individual files that include reports, statements, interviews, videos, laboratory tests and results, photographs,
diagrams, search warrants and returns, as well as evaluations of those items.
In the course of the investigation, both state and federal law enforcement personnel received a large number of contacts purporting to provide information on the shootings and the shooter. Although many times these “leads” would go nowhere, each one was evaluated and often required substantial law enforcement time to pursue. An abundance of caution was used during the investigation to ensure that all leads were looked into, despite the fact that more than 40 such “leads” proved, after investigation, to be unsubstantiated. Information that was substantiated and
relevant was made part of the investigation.
It is not the intent of this report to convey every piece of information contained in the voluminous investigation materials developed by the Connecticut State Police and other law enforcement agencies, but to provide information relevant to the purposes of this report. While no report is statutorily required of the State’s Attorney once an investigation is complete, it has been the practice of State’s Attorneys to issue reports on criminal investigations where there is no arrest and prosecution if the State’s Attorney determines that some type of public statement is necessary. Given the gravity of the crimes committed on December 14, 2012, a report is in order.
On the morning of December 14, 2012, the shooter, age 20, heavily armed, went to Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) in Newtown, where he shot his way into the locked school building with a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S rifle. He then shot and killed the principal and school psychologist as they were in the north hallway of the school responding to the noise of the shooter coming into the school. The shooter also shot and injured two other staff members who were also in the hallway.
The shooter then went into the main office, apparently did not see the staff who were hiding there, and returned to the hallway. After leaving the main office, the shooter then went down the same hallway in which he had just killed two people and entered first grade classrooms 8 and 10, the order in which is unknown. While in those rooms he killed the two adults in each room, fifteen children in classroom 8 and five in classroom 10. All of the killings were done with the Bushmaster rifle.
He then took his own life with a single shot from a Glock 20, 10 mm pistol in classroom 10.
Prior to going to the school, the shooter used a .22 caliber Savage Mark II rifle to shoot and kill his mother in her bed at the home where they lived at 36 Yogananda Street in Newtown.
The response to these crimes began unfolding at 9:35:39 a.m. when the first 911 call was received by the Newtown Police Department. With the receipt of that call, the dispatching and the arrival of the police, the law enforcement response to the shootings began. It was fewer than four minutes from the time the first 911 call was received until the first police officer arrived at the school. It was fewer than five minutes from the first 911 call, and one minute after the arrival of the first officer, that the shooter killed himself. It was fewer than six minutes from the time the
first police officer arrived on SHES property to the time the first police officer entered the school building. In fewer than 11 minutes twenty first-grade pupils and six adults had lost their lives.
The following weapons were recovered in the course of this investigation: (1) a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S semi-automatic rifle, found in the same classroom as the shooter’s body. All of the 5.56 mm shell casings from the school that were tested were found to have been fired from this rifle. (2) a Glock 20, 10 mm semi-automatic pistol found near the shooter’s body and determined to have been the source of the self-inflicted gunshot wound by which he took his own life. (3) a Sig Sauer P226, 9 mm semi-automatic pistol found on the shooter’s person. There is no evidence this weapon had been fired. (4) a Izhmash Saiga-12, 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun
found in the shooter’s car in the parking lot outside the school, and which was secured in the vehicle’s trunk by police responding to the scene. There is no evidence this weapon had been fired. (5) a Savage Mark II rifle found at 36 Yogananda Street on the floor of the master bedroom near the bed where the body of the shooter’s mother was found. This rifle also was found to have fired the four bullets recovered during the autopsy of the shooter’s mother.
All of the firearms were legally purchased by the shooter’s mother. Additionally, ammunition of the types found had been purchased by the mother in the past, and there is no evidence that the ammunition was purchased by anyone else, including the shooter.
At the date of this writing, there is no evidence to suggest that anyone other than the shooter was aware of or involved in the planning and execution of the crimes that were committed on December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street. From the time an unknown male was encountered by the Newtown police outside of the school during the initial response, until well after the staff and children had been evacuated, the thought that there may have been more than one shooter was a condition all responding law enforcement worked under as they cleared the school. Individuals located in the wooded areas surrounding the school as the searches and evacuations were taking place were initially treated as suspect and handled accordingly (including being handcuffed) until their identity could be determined. The circumstances surrounding all of these individuals were fully investigated and revealed no additional shooters. DNA testing of evidence recovered from both the school and 36 Yogananda Street also revealed no potential accessories or co-conspirators.
It is the conclusion of this State’s Attorney that the shooter acted alone and was solely criminally responsible for his actions of that day. Moreover, none of the evidence developed to date demonstrates probable cause to believe that any other person conspired with the shooter to commit these crimes or aided and abetted him in doing so.
Unless additional — and at this time unanticipated — evidence is developed, there will be no state criminal prosecution as result of these crimes. With the issuance of this report, the investigation is closed. Should additional reliable information related to the existence of accessories or coconspirators come to the attention of the investigators, the investigation will be reopened.2
In the course of his rampage the shooter committed a number of crimes in violation of our Connecticut Penal Code. The most significant are those where lives were taken and people were physically injured. In Sandy Hook Elementary School, the crime of Murder under Special Circumstances, in violation of C.G.S. Sec. 53a-54b, was committed twenty-six times and Attempted Murder under Special Circumstances in violation of C.G.S. Secs. 53a-49 and 53a-54b was committed twice as it relates to the two individuals who were shot by the shooter and survived. The crime of Murder in violation of C.G.S. Sec. 53a-54 was committed by the shooter
in killing his mother.
The obvious question that remains is: “Why did the shooter murder twenty-seven people, including twenty children?” Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively, despite the collection of extensive background information on the shooter through a multitude of interviews and other sources. The evidence clearly shows that the shooter planned his actions, including the taking of his own life, but there is no clear indication why he did so, or why he targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School.
It is known that the shooter had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others, even those to whom he should have been close. As an adult he did not recognize or help himself deal with those issues. What contribution this made to the shootings, if any, is unknown as those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior. He had a familiarity with and access to firearms and ammunition and an obsession with mass murders, in particular the April 1999
shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. Investigators however, have not discovered any evidence that the shooter voiced or gave any indication to others that he intended to commit such a crime himself.
This State’s Attorney expresses his sincere sympathy and condolences to the victims of the incident of December 14, 2012, and to their families. He also expresses his appreciation for their continued patience and understanding during the course of the investigation and preparation of this report. He acknowledges and thanks law enforcement, which responded to Sandy Hook Elementary School in minutes and entered the building believing someone could be there ready to take their lives as well. He also acknowledges and thanks the staff of the Sandy Hook Elementary School who acted heroically. The combination saved many children’s lives.
This report would not have been possible if not for the assistance and cooperation of numerous agencies at the state, local and federal levels of government. The State’s Attorney expresses his sincere gratitude and appreciation to all of these agencies and to all of the men and women who contributed so much to this investigation. The assistance of federal authorities has been invaluable. Particularly worthy of special note are the men and women of the Connecticut State Police, and in particular, the Western District Major Crime Squad. The thoroughness and sensitivity with which they conducted their investigation is unmatched in my experience.
On the morning of December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, the shooter,3 age 20, went to Sandy Hook Elementary School (also SHES) in Newtown, Connecticut, where he shot his way into the building and killed twenty children and six adults and wounded two other adults, all with a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S rifle. The shooter then took his own life with a single shot from a Glock 20, 10 mm handgun. From the time the doors of the school were locked at 9:30 a.m. until the time it is believed the shooter killed himself at 9:40:03, fewer than 11 minutes had elapsed.
Prior to going to the school, the shooter used a .22 caliber Savage Mark II rifle to shoot and kill his mother in her bed. This occurred at the home where they lived at 36 Yogananda Street, also in Newtown.
With these unprecedented horrific crimes came a responsibility for an investigation to determine what crimes were committed and, more importantly, if the shooter acted alone. Any person who aided and abetted the shooter or who conspired with him had to be held accountable.
Beginning on December 14, 2012, the Connecticut State Police and the State’s Attorney’s Office worked in cooperation with the federal authorities sharing responsibilities for various aspects of the case. The federal involvement has been invaluable. Though some evidence is still being examined, there is no indication in the investigation by either state or federal authorities to date that the shooter acted with anyone on December 14, 2012, or had co-conspirators or accessories
who could be prosecuted.
In addition to physical evidence,4 the investigation materials contain over seven-hundred individual files that include reports, statements, interviews, videos, laboratory tests and results, photographs, diagrams, search warrants and search warrant returns as well as evaluations of those items. Investigators interviewed individuals who were present at SHES on December 14, 2012, and witnessed the incident, among them students, staff members, parents of students and neighbors. Special attention and consideration was given to the interviewing of child witnesses,
given their traumatic experience. Also interviewed were police officers and other first responders who were present at SHES during the course of the incident itself and in the course of the subsequent search, evacuation of the school and processing of the scenes.
Investigators attempted to obtain as much information about the shooter’s life as possible in an effort to determine the reasons or motives for his actions on December 14, 2012. Interviews were conducted with members of the shooter’s family, those who knew the shooter or his family throughout his life, as well as teachers and school personnel who had been involved with him and his family over his time in Newtown.
Efforts were made within the limits of privacy laws to gather information on medical
consultations and/or treatments the shooter was involved with over the course of his years in Newtown. In doing so, investigators found no evidence to suggest the shooter had taken any medication that would affect his behavior or by any means to explain his actions on December 14, 2012.
An investigation of this magnitude requires careful planning and review. The interviews took substantial time, first to identify which individuals should be interviewed and then to conduct the actual interviews. Physical evidence had to be examined and forensically reviewed. This included ballistics, fingerprint and DNA analysis. Additionally, all of the information collected had to be reviewed and summarized in written statements that have since become a part of the investigation, reflecting thousands of dedicated law enforcement and prosecutor hours.
I had been working closely with the Connecticut State Police, who conducted the state investigation, and federal law enforcement officers since December 2012. Once the investigation was delivered for my review, I took the time to read, digest, evaluate and summarize the material, mindful of the privacy interests involved and the approaching December 14, 2012, anniversary.
The federal authorities have stated that under federal law many of their reports and materials cannot become part of the public record due to rules regarding the dissemination of information obtained pursuant to grand jury subpoenas, sealed search warrants, and federal Freedom of Information law. Therefore, information obtained by federal authorities will not, for the most part, be incorporated into the Connecticut State Police criminal investigation file.
While the reports and materials will not be part of the state investigation record, such materials have been examined and considered by state law enforcement authorities. Based upon a review of all of the documentation, both state and federal, we are left confident at this time that the evidence developed to date does not reveal co-conspirators or accessories. Accordingly, as a result of the investigation to date, there will be no state criminal prosecution of anyone.
PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF REPORT
The State’s Attorney’s Office for the Judicial District of Danbury is charged, pursuant to Article IV, Sec. 27 of the Connecticut State Constitution5 and Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) Sec. 51-2766 et seq., with the investigation and prosecution of all criminal offenses occurring within the Judicial District of Danbury. The Connecticut State Police have the responsibility to prevent and detect violations of the law and this State’s Attorney has worked with and relied
upon the Connecticut State Police since the incident occurred. The investigation has been tirelessly conducted by the Connecticut State Police (also CSP) with the assistance of multiple local, state and federal agencies, both in and out of Connecticut.
While no report is statutorily required of the State’s Attorney once the investigation is complete, it has been the practice of state’s attorneys to issue reports on criminal investigations where there is no arrest and prosecution if the state’s attorney determines that some type of public statement is necessary.7 Given the gravity of the crimes committed on December 14, 2012, a report is in order.
The purpose of this report is to identify the person or persons criminally responsible for the twenty-seven homicides that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut,8 on the morning of December 14, 2012, to determine what crimes were committed, and to indicate if there will be any state prosecutions as a result of the incident.
Many witnesses to this case have expressed great concern that their identities will be disclosed publicly and make them susceptible to threats or intimidation as a result of their cooperation or connection with the investigation.9 This cooperation has been essential and greatly appreciated. As a result of the witnesses’ concerns, this report will not identify lay witnesses, except where necessary.
Consistent with Public Act 13-311,10 exceptions to the state Freedom of Information Act11 and C.G.S. Sec. 17a-101k(a) 12 this report will not list the names of the twenty children killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School, nor will it recite 911 calls made from within the school on that morning or describe information provided by witnesses who were in the classrooms or heard what was occurring in the classrooms. It is not the intent of this report to convey every piece of information contained in the voluminous investigation materials developed by the Connecticut State Police and other law enforcement agencies, but to provide information relevant to the purposes of this report.
SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL — INCIDENT AND RESPONSE
On the morning of December 14, 2012, the shooter parked his 2010 Honda Civic next to a “No Parking” zone outside of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.13 Shortly after 9:30 a.m. he approached the front entrance to the school.14 He was armed with a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S rifle (also Bushmaster rifle), a Glock 20, 10 mm pistol and a Sig Sauer P226, 9 mm pistol and a large supply of ammunition.
The doors to the school were locked, as they customarily were at this time, the school day having already begun. The shooter proceeded to shoot his way into the school building through the plate glass window to the right of the front lobby doors.
The main office staff reported hearing noises and glass breaking at approximately 9:35 a.m. and saw the shooter, a white male with a hat and sunglasses, come into the school building with a rifle type gun. The shooter walked normally, did not say anything and appeared to be breathing normally. He was seen shooting the rifle down the hallway.
Just down the hallway from the main office, in the direction that the shooter was to be seen firing, a 9:30 a.m. Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting was being held in room 9, a conference room. It was attended by Principal Dawn Hochsprung and School Psychologist Mary Sherlach, together with a parent and other school staff. Shortly after the meeting started, the attendees heard loud banging. The principal and school psychologist then left the room followed shortly after by a staff member. After leaving the room, Mrs. Hochsprung yelled “Stay put!”
As the staff member left the room, the staff member heard gunshots and saw Mrs. Hochsprung and Mrs. Sherlach fall down in front of the staff member. The staff member felt a gunshot hit the staff member’s leg. Once down, the staff member was struck again by additional gunfire, but laid still in the hallway. Not seeing anyone in the hallway, the staff member crawled back into room 9 and held the door shut. A call to 911 was made and in the ensuing moments the telephone in room 9 was also used to turn on the school wide intercom system. This appears to have been done inadvertently, but provided notice to other portions of the building.15
At the same time the shooter was firing in the hallway, another staff member was at the far east end of the hallway near classroom 1. The staff member was struck by a bullet in the foot and retreated into a classroom.
Both Dawn Hochsprung, age 47, and Mary Sherlach, age 56, died as a result of being shot. Both wounded staff members shot in the hallway were later evacuated to the hospital and survived. After shooting and killing the two adults and wounding the two others, the shooter entered the main office. The office staff had taken shelter in the office. They heard sounds of the office door opening, footsteps walking inside the office and then back toward the office door. Staff members heard the door open a second time and then heard more gunfire from outside the office. They called 911.
Where the shooter specifically went next is unclear. The evidence and witness statements establish the shooter went down the hallway in an easterly direction ultimately entering first grade classrooms 8 and 10. The order is not definitively known. While in classrooms 8 and 10, the shooter shot and killed four adults and twenty children with the Bushmaster rifle. Twelve children survived, one from classroom 8 and eleven from classroom 10.
The shooter finally killed himself in classroom 10 with one gunshot to his head from a Glock 20, 10 mm pistol. This is believed to have occurred at 9:40:03.16
Classroom 8’s substitute teacher was Lauren Rousseau, age 30, who was assisted by Rachel D’Avino, age 29, a behavioral therapist. Fifteen children were found by police. Fourteen who were deceased and one who was transported to Danbury Hospital and later pronounced dead. The two adults were found deceased close to the children. In all, seventeen people were killed in classroom 8. A sixteenth child survived and exited classroom 8 after the police arrived.
Classroom 10’s teacher was Victoria Soto, age 27. Working with her was Anne Marie Murphy, age 52, a behavioral therapist. Five children were found, with Mrs. Murphy partially covering one child. Four of the five children were deceased. One of the five children was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead. Miss Soto was found deceased in the room near the north wall with a set of keys nearby. Nine children had run out of the room and survived. A police officer found two uninjured children in the class restroom.
In all, eighteen children and six adult school staff members were found deceased within the school. Two more children were pronounced dead at Danbury Hospital. Two other adult school staff members were injured and were treated at nearby hospitals and survived.
The two classrooms on either side of 8 and 10 were numbered 6 and 12. Classroom 6 was on the eastern side of classroom 8 and classroom 12 was on the western side of classroom 10. Staff and students hid in the class restrooms, locking the restroom doors from the inside.
Throughout the rest of the school, staff and students hid themselves wherever they happened to be at the time they became aware of gunfire. The staff used various ways to keep the children calm, from reading to having them color or draw pictures. Those hiding in rooms closest to the shooter kept silent. Some people were able to escape out of the building prior to the police arrival and went to Sandy Hook center, nearby residences, or received rides from parents going to the school or from passersby.
One staff member heard a loud crashing noise and ran toward the front lobby. As the staff member got closer, bullet holes could be seen and gun powder smelled. Realizing what was going on, the staff member immediately called 911, turned and went back down the hall from where the staff member had come. During the incident, while staying on the line with the 911 operator, this staff member sent other staff to their rooms or had them stay in their rooms and this staff member went about locking doors. The staff member remained in the hallway on the telephone with the 911 operator until the police arrived.
Upon the receipt of the first 911 call, law enforcement was immediately dispatched to the school. It was fewer than four minutes from the time the first 911 call was received until the first police officer arrived at SHES. It was fewer than five minutes from the time the first 911 call was received until the shooter killed himself. It was fewer than six minutes from the time the first police officer arrived on SHES property to the time the first police officer entered the school building.
Below is an abbreviated time line from the first 911 call received to the time the police entered the school building.17
9:35:39 — First 911 call to Newtown Police Department is received.
9:36:06 — Newtown Police Department dispatcher broadcasts that there is a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
9:37:38 — Connecticut State Police are dispatched to SHES for active shooter.
9:38:50 — CSP are informed that SHES is in lockdown.
9:39:00 — First Newtown police officer arrives behind SHES on Crestwood Rd.
9:39:13 — Two more Newtown officers arrive at SHES and park on the driveway near the ball field. Gunshots are heard in the background.
9:39:34 — Newtown officer encounters unknown male running along the east side of
SHES with something in his hand.
9:40:03 — Last gunshot is heard. This is believed to be the final suicide shot from the
shooter in classroom 10.
9:41:07 — Information is relayed as to the location of the last known gunshots heard
within SHES, the front of the building.
9:41:24 — Newtown officer has unknown male prone on ground, starting information
relay regarding possibly more than one shooter.
9:42:39 — Newtown officer calls out the license plate of the shooter’s car.
9:44:47 — Newtown officers enter SHES.
9:46:23 — CSP arrive at SHES.
9:46:48 — CSP enter SHES.
As the gravity of the situation became known, local, state and federal agencies responded to the scene to assist.
From the time the unknown male was encountered by the Newtown police outside of SHES until after the staff and children were evacuated, all responding law enforcement operated under the belief that there may have been more than one shooter and acted accordingly.18
For example, K-9 units were brought in to search the area and officers were posted to act as lookouts to ensure the safety of those evacuating the school building. Some people were located in the areas surrounding the school as the searches and evacuations were taking place. Some of those individuals were treated initially as suspects and handled accordingly, including being handcuffed, until their identities and reason for being there could be determined.
Some of these detentions included:
1. The initial unknown male who turned out to be a parent with a cell telephone in his hand;
2. Two reporters located in the woods around SHES, who were held at gun point by
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) police officers until
their identities could be determined; and
3. A man from New York who was working in a nearby town and went to SHES after
an application on his cell telephone alerted him to the situation at the school. He
drove to the firehouse and went up to the school on foot. He was taken from the scene of the school in handcuffs and later to Newtown Police Department. It was later determined that he did not have a connection to the shooting and had gone to SHES to see what was going on.
As noted above, on December 14, 2012, there was a concern that there may have been more than one shooter. This was based upon a number of factors:
1. The initial police encounter with the unknown male outside SHES;19
2. Reports by school personnel during the shooting on a 911 call of seeing someone
running outside the school while the shooting was ongoing;
3. The location of two black zip up sweat jackets on the ground outside of the shooter’s car;
4. The discovery of an Izhmash Saiga-12, 12 gauge shotgun and ammunition in the
passenger compartment of the shooter’s car. A police officer moved this shotgun and
ammunition to the car’s trunk for safety purposes;
5. Shell casings that were located outside of the school; and
6. The apparent sound of gunfire coming from outside of the school;
The subsequent investigation revealed there were no additional shooters based upon:
1. Searches of the area and examinations of local business security surveillance videos;
2. Persons detained revealed they were not connected to the shootings. In the case of the initial unknown male, he was identified as the parent of a student and had a cell telephone, rather than a weapon, in his hand;
3. Witness interviews which indicated that no witness saw anyone other than the
shooter, with a firearm;
4. Witness interviews in which it was determined that a number of SHES staff had
escaped from the school through a window and had been running outside the school
building during the shootings;
5. The shotgun located in the shooter’s car had been purchased by the shooter’s mother previously;
6. The two sweat jackets were both C-Sport brand black zip up hooded sweat jackets
with no size listed and were located immediately outside the shooter’s car;20 Both are believed to have been brought there by the shooter;21
7. The live shotgun shells (other than the one found on the shooter and the ones found in the shooter’s car) that were located inside and outside of the school were in locations where first responders had been. Additionally, there were first responders who reported missing live shotgun rounds. Moreover, the shells were found in locations where there had not been reported sightings of any non-law enforcement individuals;
8. There were no expended shotgun shells found in the actual crime scene nor were any expended 12 gauge shotgun pellets or slugs recovered;
9. The only expended casings located outside of the school building were 5.56 mm
casings located just outside the school’s front entrance, consistent with the shooter’s
entry into the school; and
10. The officer who heard what he believed to be outside gunfire was in a position to
have heard the shooter’s gunfire coming from window openings in the classroom in
which the shooter was firing.
Stopping the active shooter was the first priority. Once that occurred, the location and treatment of the victims, the search for additional shooters, and the safe evacuation of the school were of primary importance.22 The collection of evidence and the preservation and documentation of the crime scene, while important, came second.
Two command centers were set up, one at the firehouse on Riverside Road and the other at Newtown’s Emergency Operations Center, located on the Newtown Fairfield Hills Campus. In the week immediately after the shootings, services to victims’ families and victims, as well as support to the investigators in the school were handled out of the firehouse. All other aspects of the investigation not related to the school itself were run out of the Emergency Operations Center.
Investigation responsibilities were handled as follows:23
Connecticut State Police (CSP)
CSP-Western District Major Crime (WDMC) squad was the lead CSP unit for the entire investigation and acted as the coordinating law enforcement agency for other agencies and units of the CSP.24 The van unit processed the interior of SHES.
CSP-Central District Major Crime (CDMC) squad van unit processed the exterior of SHES, including the shooter’s car, and established the temporary morgue25 with the OCME to identify and document the decedents prior to their being moved to the OCME in Farmington.26 CDMC also attended the autopsies at the OCME and did a secondary search of 36 Yogananda Street, as well as photographing doors and locks in SHES.
Eastern District Major Crime (EDMC) squad processed the scene at 36 Yogananda Street and were the investigators for the shooting of Nancy Lanza, the shooter’s mother.
CSP-Emergency Services Unit (ESU), Tactical Teams, were assigned to both SHES and 36 Yogananda Street to handle the clearing of the scenes and rendering them safe.27
CSP — Troop A, Southbury and CSP from other troops and units, in addition to being
first responders, worked to secure the scene and worked with WDMC and the OCME.
Computer Crimes and Electronic Evidence Unit handled the seizure and examination of additional electronic evidence from 36 Yogananda Street together with EDMC, CDMC and WDMC.
CSP — Collision, Analysis and Reconstruction Squad (CARS) was assigned to produce the sketch maps for both the interior and exterior of the school.
CSP — On December 14, 2012, virtually every aspect of the CSP was engaged in the response to SHES and 36 Yogananda Street. For example, included in the first responders were troopers and detectives, not only from Troop A in Southbury, but other troops and units as well, including the Statewide Narcotics Task Force.
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) provided first responders at SHES.
Forensic Science Laboratory, Division of Scientific Services, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) examined items seized and collected from SHES and 36 Yogananda Street.
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) was responsible for investigating the cause and manner of the deaths involved in this case and worked with the CSP in setting up the temporary morgue at SHES that was used to identify and document the deceased prior to their being moved to Farmington.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in addition to responding to both scenes, worked on the firearms aspect of the investigation.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — in addition to responding to the scenes, handled interviewing of witnesses and investigation both at a local level and on a national level. The Tactical Team assisted with the clearing of the school. The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), as part of the search warrant execution for 36 Yogananda Street, was provided with materials for review. They provided their expertise in the preparation of witness interviews. The Victim Assistance Unit worked with victims’ families, victims and witnesses.
United States Attorney’s Office was stationed at the Emergency Operations Center overseeing the investigation into the possible commission of federal crimes and the issuance of federal legal process, as well as coordinating the various federal agencies involved in assisting with the state investigation.
United States Marshals Service, Technical Operations Group provided technical and investigation assistance.
United States Postal Service looked for mail that may have been relevant to the investigation.
Municipal Police Departments from around the state assisted throughout the Town of Newtown, including being first responders at SHES, handling calls in town and the tremendous inflow of media and visitors to the Town in the weeks after December 14, 2012.
Newtown Police Department in addition to being first responders, worked to secure the scene and assisted WDMC.
Office of the State’s Attorney, Judicial District of Danbury (SAO) — oversaw the state investigation, working with the Connecticut State Police. Together with the assistance of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, the SAO was stationed at the Emergency Operations Center starting December 14, 2012, and oversaw the legal issues and state aspect of the investigation including search warrant review, child witness issues, working with the federal authorities, etc.
2 It should be noted that potentially important evidence, i.e., a computer hard drive recovered from the shooter’s home, as of this date remains unreadable. Additional insight could be gained should efforts to recover data from the hard drive ever prove successful, which at this time appears highly improbable. It is because of this improbability, coupled with the current determination of no accessories or co-conspirators that the case is being closed.
3 Throughout the remainder of this report Adam Lanza will be referred to as “the shooter.”
4 Over 270 evidence designations were used, many grouping related items as one number.
5 Connecticut Constitution Article 4, Sec. 27. There shall be established within the executive department a division of criminal justice which shall be in charge of the investigation and prosecution of all criminal matters. Said division shall include the chief state’s attorney, who shall be its administrative head, and the state’s attorneys for each judicial district, which districts shall be established by law. The prosecutorial power of the state shall be vested in a chief state’s attorney and the state’s attorney for each judicial district. 6 Sec. 51-276. Division established. There is hereby established the Division of Criminal Justice within the Executive Department, which shall be in charge of the investigation and prosecution of all criminal matters in the Superior Court. The Division of Criminal Justice shall be an agency within the Executive Department with all management rights except appointment of all state’s attorneys.
7 See for example: Statement of David I. Cohen, State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk, in reference to the February 16, 2009, attack on Charla Nash by the Chimpanzee Named Travis, Issued December 7, 2009; Statement of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk Concerning the Fatal Fire on December 25, 2011, at 2267 Shippan Avenue, Stamford, Issued June 8, 2012; and Report of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford on the Murder of Shangyl Rasim on January 17, 2010, Issued May 24,2010.
8 Newtown, Connecticut is within the Judicial District of Danbury.
9 In fact, some witnesses have had that occur to them.
10 An Act Limiting the Disclosure of Certain Records of Law Enforcement Agencies and Establishing a Task Force Concerning Victim Privacy Under the Freedom of Information Act.
11 See C.G.S. Sec. 1-210.
12 Sec. 17a-101k. Registry of findings of abuse or neglect of children maintained by Commissioner of Children and Families. Notice of finding of abuse or neglect of child. Appeal of finding. Hearing procedure. Appeal after hearing. Confidentiality. Regulations. (a) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall maintain a registry of the commissioner’s findings of abuse or neglect of children pursuant to section 17a-101g that conforms to the requirements of this section. The regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (i) of this section shall provide for the use of the registry on a twenty-four-hour daily basis to prevent or discover abuse of children and the establishment of a hearing process for any appeal by a person of the commissioner’s determination that such person is responsible for the abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to subsection (b) of section 17a-101g. The information contained in the registry and any other information relative to child abuse, wherever located, shall be confidential, subject to such statutes and regulations governing their use and access as shall conform to the requirements of federal law or
regulations. Any violation of this section or the regulations adopted by the commissioner under this section shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or imprisonment for not more than one year.
To conclude that all such information, including the basic facts of the incident itself is confidential would prohibit even the disclosure of the children being killed. Such an interpretation would be unworkable and is not taken here. It is concluded though that the C.G.S. Sec. 17a-101k(a) is applicable in the present case and will be applied in the manner described.
13 On December 13, 2012, the student enrollment was 489. Official attendance had not yet been recorded as of 9:30 a.m. on December 14, 2012. The staff for the school is 91, but on December 14, 2012, there were nine staff members absent. The staffing was at 82 for the day.
14 A more complete description of the school building and the front entrance starts on page A119 of the Appendix. For the purposes of this report, the front of SHES faces north.
15 Intercom system could be accessed from nine phones located in seven rooms. These telephones and rooms were three phones in the main office, the principal’s office, the nurse’s office (room 57), room 9 conference room, room 29, room 32 and room 60. The “All Call” which opens the intercom to the entire school was accessed by pressing “#0” from the telephones mentioned. The All Call-except quiet rooms was accessed by pressing “#1.”
16 See the time line in the Appendix starting at page A84.
17 See page A84 of the Appendix for full time line put together by the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad. This time line was compiled from 911 calls, witness statements, police car cameras, police radio and police dispatch transmissions.
18 In fact, the possibility that there was more than one shooter remained a consideration beyond December 14, 2012. It was only after potential leads were investigated that investigators became confident that the shooter was not aided
in any way by others and that no one knew of the shooter’s plan prior to December 14, 2012.
19 The man was later determined to be the parent of one of the school’s children and the item in his hand was a cell telephone.
20 See the Appendix at page A174.
21 A parent who arrived at SHES as the shooting was taking place saw the shooter’s car parked in front of the school with the passenger side door open and the two sweat jackets on the ground near the car. To the parent, the jackets looked like two black blankets on the ground.
22 One of the difficulties encountered was the inability of state police radios to operate within SHES.
23 This report does not include a listing of all of the law-enforcement and non-law enforcement service providers and their actions. In the days and weeks that followed the tragedy, local, state and federal agencies provided help to the Town of Newtown and its families through counseling, funeral protection, traffic control, handling bomb threats as well as many other services. Additionally, the CSP set up an invaluable law enforcement liaison program with the families of the deceased victims in which a state or local police officer was specifically assigned to the family of a deceased victim to provide communication and protection in the days and weeks that followed December 14th.
24 WDMC Squad and Van, as the lead CSP unit, over the course of the week that followed was there for seven days processing the interior scene, the shooter and victims’ personal effects, including assisting with the packing and removal of furniture from the immediate scene.
25 The Department of Public Health provided and set up the portable tent used for the temporary morgue.
26 WDMC and CDMC personnel were also assigned and paired with the FBI to conduct interviews and neighborhood canvasses as well as assist with the identification of victims, investigate a report of another shooter at a hospital, as well as prepare search warrants and attend autopsies.
27 There were numerous law enforcement agencies that worked on the clearing of SHES and the protection of those who were doing the clearing.