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November 25, 2013

Prosecutor: Motive still a mystery

HARTFORD, Conn. — In fifth grade, Adam Lanza wrote a book that included tales of children being slaughtered and a son shooting his mother in the head.

In the years that followed, he was obsessed with mass murders, assembling articles, photos, books, footage and violent video games, including one in which players gun down students in school. He even kept a spreadsheet ranking mass murders.

Nearly a year after Lanza shot his mother to death and then massacred 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, prosecutors closed the case Monday with a report that sketched a chilling portrait of a young man with a twisted fascination with violence.

But they were unable to answer the question that everyone has been asking since the tragedy: Why?

“The obvious question that remains is: ‘Why did the shooter murder 27 people, including 20 children?’ Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively,” the report said.

Lanza “was under no extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse.”

The summary released by the lead investigator, State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, describes a 20-year-old gunman who had “significant mental health issues” but had sure knowledge of what he was planning: Besides having the spreadsheet, he smashed his computer hard drive and he used earplugs during the shooting.

Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle at the school on Dec. 14. He also shot his mother in the forehead inside their home. He committed suicide with a handgun as police arrived at the school.

Sedensky said there was no clear indication why Lanza chose Sandy Hook Elementary other than that it was close to his home. He attended Sandy Hook from first through fifth grade, but he was never assigned to the classrooms where the shootings took place.

The spiral-bound manuscript that Lanza wrote in the fifth grade at Sandy Hook, “The Big Book of Granny,” was among items seized from Lanza’s home. There is no indication he ever handed the book in at school.

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