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Sandy Hook’s Chilling Final Chapter

2 minute read
Jeffrey Kluger

Almost a year after Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., a dark mystery remains at the heart of the horror: motive. A 48-page report released Nov. 25 by the Danbury state’s attorney provides a granular look at the event and the disturbing life Lanza led in the years that preceded it. What it doesn’t offer is an answer to the hardest question of all: why the 20-year-old chose to kill.

In hindsight, the warning signs are clear: the spreadsheet he kept chronicling mass killings, videos documenting suicide by gunshot, a fifth-grade project called “The Big Book of Granny,” featuring a grandmother who shot people using a gun in her cane. He was diagnosed with “significant mental health issues,” yet no one predicted what was to come, according to the report.

Lanza lived alone with his mother, communicating with her mostly by e-mail. In recent years, he kept to his bedroom, covering the windows with black garbage bags. There he played violent video games, including one called School Shooting. He changed his clothes multiple times a day, and his mother washed them. She cooked his meals and arranged them on his plate in ways he instructed.

When mother and son had an outing, it was to a shooting range. She had written him a check for a CZ-83 pistol she intended to give him for Christmas, but she never got the chance. Lanza shot her in her bed before making his deadly trip to Sandy Hook.

–Jeffrey Kluger

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Write to Jeffrey Kluger at jeffrey.kluger@time.com