Newtown shooter's father speaks out for 1st time

Sarah Wallace reports on Peter Lanza's gripping interview with The New Yorker
March 10, 2014 3:02:13 PM PDT
The father of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza is speaking out for the first time, in an exclusive interview with The New Yorker.

The author, Andrew Solomon, has covered mass shooters and post-shooting analysis, and is an expert in the topic. There is much discussion of Adam's disintegration over the years, but no conclusions. The story says Adam's DNA is being examined by scientists for answers.

Peter Lanza opened up, painting a picture of a man haunted by his son's actions. Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at the age of 13, but his father says Adam did not accept the diagnosis and was not open to therapy.

Peter Lanza now says the Asperger's may have masked something more severe, like schizophrenia, stating that Adam had become increasingly isolated from his father and even his mother, who lived with him but communicated only by email.

Peter Lanza says his ex-wife Nancy would indulge Adam's compulsions, building the world around him and cushioning it. Still, no one had any indication of the violence to come.

One year ago last December, Adam Lanza killed his mother before walking into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shooting 20 children and six staff members in one of the nation's most chilling mass murders. Peter says Adam had no affection for him or his mother.

"With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat if he'd had the chance," he told the magazine. "I don't question that for a minute."

Peter Lanza is clearly haunted by the shootings, saying he has offered to meet with all of the victims' families. Two have accepted, and he calls the experience gut wrenching. He considered changing his name and wishes Adam were never born.

"That didn't come right away," he said. "That's not a natural thing, when you're thinking about your kid. But, God, there's no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there. That's fairly recent, too, but that's totally where I am."

He reveals that now, 15 months after the massacre, he has finally started going through the thousands of letters of support he has received. He has even met with two of the families, saying, "It was gut-wrenching. A victim's family member told me that they forgave Adam. I didn't even know how to respond."

Lanza tells the magazine he had been estranged from his increasingly troubled son and last saw him two years before the school shooting.

Older brother Ryan had also distanced himself from Adam. Adam shot his mother Nancy four times before heading to the school to continue his madness. The father now believes the four bullets were for each member of the family.

In response to the interview, Nicole Hockley, mother of shooting victim Dylan Hockley, released the following statement:

"My focus is on the future and preventing this kind of tragedy from happening again. Nothing can bring my child back, but together we can keep other parents from ever having to experience this pain."

CLICK HERE to read the full article in The New Yorker.