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Report: Adam Lanza's Home Was Stocked With Weapons, Ammunition


Now to Connecticut, where there is new information today about the young man behind the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Warrants were made public today, detailing items found in the home where Adam Lanza lived, in his car, and in the school. Reporter Jeff Cohen joins us from member station WNPR in Hartford. And Jeff, to start, does this give us a better picture of what was going on in Adam Lanza's life before he committed these murders?

JEFF COHEN, BYLINE: To a certain extent, it does. It's worth noting that this isn't really - necessarily - a comprehensive picture of a family; but more of a snapshot taken by police just after the shootings, on Dec. 14th. That said, one thing that does stick out is the amount of weaponry in the house. In addition to the guns Adam Lanza used at the school, there were rifles, a shotgun, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, knives, a bayonet and three samurai swords, at his house in Sandy Hook.

CORNISH: And it seems there's also been a lot of reporting about Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy, who he killed that same day. She owned the guns her son used. What more can you tell us about the role she played in helping her son get access to guns?

COHEN: That's right, Audie. Prosecutors say that all of the guns that they found at the home were bought by Nancy Lanza; that is, not by her son Adam. When they were in the house, they also found an open, unlocked gun safe that didn't appear to be forced open. And they also found a holiday card from Nancy Lanza to her son, with a check. And he was supposed to use the money in the check to buy himself a gun. Also, police found some type of certificate for each of the Lanzas - that is, for Nancy Lanza and for Adam Lanza - from the National Rifle Association.

CORNISH: Now, one issue that's remained fuzzy in this case is Adam Lanza's mental health. Now, did these warrants by investigators reveal anything about that?

COHEN: They didn't, not formally. And for the record, there's been no formal information - given from law enforcement - about Adam Lanza's mental health, to date - as far as I'm aware. That said, there was a line in one of the court documents that was released today, that spoke about books investigators found at the house. One book was about Asperger's; one book was about autism; and one was about - it was an NRA guide to the basics of pistol shooting. They also took a lot of writings from the house - Lanza house, journals and that sort of thing. But we don't know what those writings were.

CORNISH: Now, as we speak, Connecticut is debating reforms in its gun laws, and how is this new information likely to play into that discussion?

COHEN: That's right. Lawmakers here have been working pretty hard to try and find a bipartisan set of recommendations on guns and mental health and school security, for the past three months. But they haven't finished, and they hoped to be done by last month. And the governor is still clear that he wants tougher laws on magazine capacity, and other gun laws.

But there's also the question, Audie, of how the new information affects people like Nicole Hockley. She lost her son Dylan, at Sandy Hook.

NICOLE HOCKLEY: I understand it's part of the ongoing investigation, and it helps to have facts instead of rumor and speculation. But every time we get more information, it's just a painful - an even more painful reminder of what's happened. And all the information in the world is not going to bring Dylan back to me - or any of the others.

COHEN: And Hockley says she's focused on what she says are common-sense gun - changes to gun laws that could prevent this sort of event in the future.

CORNISH: That's Jeff Cohen, of member station WNPR in Hartford. Jeff, thank you.

COHEN: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director.
Audie Cornish
Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.
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