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Newtown shooting-related search warrants reveal Lanza arsenal

By Izaskun E. Larrañeta and Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published March 28. 2013 9:00AM   Updated March 29. 2013 5:25PM

After Adam Lanza killed 26 people and then himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, police searched the home he shared with his mother, finding firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a bayonet, knives, a spear and three samurai swords.

Lanza killed his mother first, then took four guns with him to the school, where it took less than five minutes to kill 20 first-graders, six educators, then himself, according to warrants released Thursday by Stephen J. Sedensky III, state's attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury.

The search warrants, dated Dec. 14, 15 and 16, were used to seize evidence from Lanza's house on Yogananda Street in Newtown and from the vehicle he drove to the school.

The guns used in the shooting apparently were purchased by Lanza's mother, Nancy, according to the warrants.

"There is currently no indication that the shooter attempted to purchase the guns and was denied," Sedensky said. "The gun locker at 36 Yogananda St. was open when the police arrived. It was unlocked and there was no indication that it had been broken into."

Lanza killed his mother in her bed with a .22-caliber rifle. Sedensky said there was no evidence of a struggle.

Lanza then drove his mother's car and shot his way inside the school building with a Bushmaster .223-caliber model XM15 rifle with a 30-round capacity magazine. When police recovered the weapon, they found 14 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber.

Police recovered 154 spent .223 casings from the scene.

Sedensky said Lanza took his own life with a Glock 10 mm handgun. He also carried a loaded 9 mm Sig Sauer P226 handgun.

Police also recovered ammunition from the handguns and three 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster, each fully loaded, as well as six additional 30-round magazines, three empty, others with 10, 11 and 13 rounds, respectively.

Sedensky said that the shootings took place in two classrooms, not three as previously was reported, and that Lanza was not wearing a bulletproof vest, as initially reported. It also was misreported initially that Lanza, who was 20, was a teenager.

When police arrived at the Newtown elementary school, they found an unoccupied 2010 black Honda Civic registered to Nancy Lanza parked in the fire lane in front of the school.

They found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in the passenger compartment of the car, which they moved to the trunk for safekeeping.

Police found dead children and school personnel in the first two classrooms off the main hallway.

A witness, whose name was redacted, said Adam Lanza rarely left the house and was a "shut-in" and avid gamer who played the game Call of Duty.

The unidentified witness said Lanza had a gun safe with at least four guns. The witness said Sandy Hook Elementary School was Lanza's "life," but the search warrant offers no explanation as to why the school was described that way.

Weapons, ammunition

From the gun safe at the Lanza home, state police seized hundreds of rounds of ammunition for a variety of weapons, including 12-gauge shotgun shells, some "cut open with buckshot," a can full of .22-caliber and .45-caliber shells, shotgun slugs and rifle cartridges.

In the closet, they found 9 mm and 10 mm ammunition rounds, a gun manual, ear plugs and miscellaneous gun parts.

They also found an instruction manual for the Bushmaster XM15 and C15, 20-round magazines, a metal bayonet and a copy of SureFire GunMag magazine.

State police recovered Lanza's National Rifle Association membership certificate and seized various firearms; a variety of knives; a BB gun; a rifle scope; magazines for an AR15; a starter pistol; a 6-foot-10-inch, wooden-handled, two-sided pole with a blade on one side and a spear on the other; and three samurai swords.

Among the electronics seized by state police were a laptop, a hard drive, a computer, video game consoles, cellphones and a fax machine. They found a white plastic bag containing a GPS device, vehicle information and handwritten notes with the addresses of local gun shops.

The information released Thursday does not indicate whether investigators were able to recover any information from the damaged computers.

Also at the home, police seized four boxes. One contained personal writings and memorabilia that belonged to Adam Lanza while another held a military-style uniform that also belonged to him.

Investigators seized documents authored by either Lanza or his mother. They also seized newspaper clippings, personal notes, memoirs, drawings, medical records, bills, notebooks, psychiatric records, school records and invoices.

Police seized a blue folder labeled "Guns," containing receipts, paperwork and other firearms-related paperwork. They took books, some of which pertained to autism and Asperger's syndrome.

Police seized three photographs with images of what appeared to be dead bodies covered with plastic and blood.

They found a check written by Nancy Lanza to her son for the purchase of a C183 firearm.

Police also seized a New York Times article date Feb. 28, 2008, on a school shooting at Northern Illinois University.

Future prosecution

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had expressed concern about information that had been leaked and had appeared in the news, and state lawmakers had requested a more complete accounting of the case as they address gun control and other issues raised by the shooting.

Sedensky said he could not rule out the possibility that someone could be prosecuted in the future.

"As this criminal investigation is ongoing, active and no definitive conclusions have been reached by myself, the release of any information could potentially jeopardize a future prosecution if evidence were developed to support one," he said. "It is not unusual to develop a viable prosecution late in an investigation when one was not contemplated earlier."

A column published last week in the New York Daily News cited an unnamed police officer who said that Connecticut State Police Col. Daniel Stebbins discussed evidence that Lanza had studied other mass shootings and compiled a spreadsheet of other rampages.

There was no reference, however, to a spreadsheet in any of the search warrants.

Stebbins was speaking at a law enforcement seminar and discussed tactical techniques used by first responders to the school.

"To prevent such disclosure in the future, I have instructed that any and all such presentations involving evidence in the criminal investigation be ceased while the investigation is pending and my report is still outstanding," Sedensky said.

He said the final report on the school shooting is estimated for completion sometime this summer.

A Danbury Superior Court judge on Wednesday granted a request by Sedensky to withhold some details. Sedensky asked to redact the name of a witness, saying the person's safety might be jeopardized if the name were disclosed. He also asked that the release not include other information such as telephone numbers, serial numbers on items found and a few paragraphs of one affidavit.

i.larraneta@theday.com

k.florin@theday.com

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