Report: Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza enabled by mom

Access to assault weapons is a "critical public health issue," according to a report on Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook school shooter.
By Frances Burns  |  Nov. 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM
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HARTFORD, Conn., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Adam Lanza's untreated mental illness combined with easy access to firearms created a deadly mix that led to the Sandy Hook massacre, a Connecticut report said Friday.

The state Office of the Child Advocate released its findings, saying that Lanza refused to take drugs for problems that included obsessive compulsive disorder, autism and anxiety. It found "missed opportunities" to help him and said his mother "enabled" his behavior.

"Access to assault weapons with high-capacity magazines did play a major role in this and other mass shootings in recent history," the report said. "Our emphasis on AL's developmental trajectory and issues of mental illness should not be understood to mean that these issues were considered more important than access to these weapons or that we do not consider such access to be a critical public health issue."

Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza, was a gun enthusiast with a large collection of weapons.

The 20-year-old Lanza killed his mother while she was still in bed on Dec.14, 2012. He then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which he had attended as a child, and killed 20 students and six staffers before taking his own life.

The report said that Lanza showed signs of mental illness by the time he was 3 and that a "preoccupation with violence" emerged by the time he was a fourth-grader. In the eighth grade, he was put in a home-schooling program with little supervision.

The Yale Child Study Team predicted "a deteriorating life of dysfunction and isolation" when he was 14 unless he was treated.

While his father, Peter, tried to arrange treatment for his son, neither parent seemed to be aware of the seriousness of his problems, the report said. At 20, he was also anorexic, weighing only 112 pounds although he was 6 feet tall.

The report found "no direct line of causation" from Lanza's mental illness to the massacre. It recommended better training for school employees and others on childhood mental illness and better evaluation of children who show problems when they are young.

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