Adam Lanza was obsessed with video games, drove repeatedly to a theater to play Dance Dance Revolution for four to ten hours, and had a strained relationship with both parents, to the point where they communicated with him only by e-mail.
These are among the findings in a report into Lanza and his life following his attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School last year. The report has revealed a detailed look into the life of the shooter.
Dance Dance Revolution
During the search of 36 Yogananda Street, a global positioning system (GPS) device was located in the shooter’s room with various routes in the memory from April 25, 2012, through December 13, 2012. Investigation revealed that the GPS was purchased for the shooter. The routes taken indicate a number of trips from 36 Yogananda Street to the area of a local theater where a commercial version of the game “Dance Dance Revolution” is located. Over that time period, trips were made that took the driver in the vicinity of some schools in Newtown, including SHES. On December 13, 2012, a trip was recorded from 2:09 p.m. to 2:32 p.m. starting and ending on Yogananda Street and driving in Sandy Hook, which is in the area of SHES, though the route does not indicate the shooter drove up to the school.
Several videos of him playing DDR were found on digital media taken from the home. The GPS found in the home and reportedly belonging to the shooter indicated that he regularly went to the area of a theater that had a commercial version of the DDR game in the lobby. In 2011 and up until a month before December 14, 2012, the shooter went to the theater and played the game. He went most every Friday through Sunday and played the game for four to ten hours.
The shooter was specific about the clothes he wore. He typically wore the same clothing when at the theater: a grey hoodie and slacks. After a snowstorm in 2011 the shooter was not seen at the theater until about February 2012. At that time he seemed more anti-social and no longer played DDR with others.
An acquaintance of the shooter from 2011 to June 2012 said that the shooter and the acquaintance played DDR quite a bit. They would play the game and occasionally see a movie. They did not play first person shooter games at the theater.46 The shooter had stamina for DDR and never appeared winded unless really exhausted.
The acquaintance said the shooter seemed to enjoy nature and mentioned the possibility of going hiking more than once. The shooter was capable of laughing, smiling and making jokes, though always in a dry fashion. The shooter never mentioned being bullied while growing up. Topics of conversation included world and current events, and included chimpanzee society and how they interacted.
In the course of their conversations, the shooter indicated that he had an interest in mass murders and serial killing. They never spent a lot of time discussing them, but it would be a topic of conversation. There were no conversations about weapons or shooting at a gun range.
Lanza's home and bedroom
The shooter’s second floor bedroom windows were taped over with black trash bags. The second floor computer room also had its windows covered. There, investigators found a computer hard drive that appeared to have been intentionally damaged. To date, because of the extensive damage, forensic experts have not yet been able to recover any information from that hard drive.
The home also contained many edged weapons, knives, swords, spears, etc. A prescription bottle in the shooter’s name for acetaminophen with codeine was found in the mother’s bathroom, which was part of the master bedroom.
Numerous video games were located in the basement computer/gaming area. The list of video games includes, but is not limited to:
-“Left for Dead”
-“Metal Gear Solid”
-“Call of Duty”
-“Grand Theft Auto”
-“Shin Megami Tensei”
Physical and digital items found during searches
- A Christmas check from the mother to the shooter to purchase a CZ 83 firearm;39
- A New York Times article from February 18, 2008, regarding the school shooting at Northern Illinois University;
- Three photographs of what appear to be a dead human, covered in blood and wrapped in
- The book Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, Jossey-Bass, 2007, by
Donald B. Kraybill, Steven Nolt and David Weaver-Zercher;
- -Photocopied newspaper articles from 1891 pertaining to the shooting of school children
The following selected topics or items were found within the digital evidence seized:
- Bookmarks pertaining to firearms, military, politics, mass murder, video games, music,
books, Army Ranger, computers and programs, ammunition, candy, economic books
- Two videos showing suicide by gunshot
- Commercial movies depicting mass shootings
- The computer game titled “School Shooting” where the player controls a character who
enters a school and shoots at students
- Screen shots (172) of the online game “Combat Arms”
- “Dance Dance Revolution” (DDR) game screen shots
- Videos of shooter playing DDR
- Images of the shooter holding a handgun to his head
- Images of the shooter holding a rifle to his head
- Five-second video (dramatization) depicting children being shot
- Images of shooter with a rifle, shotgun and numerous magazines in his pockets
-A document written showing the prerequisites for a mass murder spreadsheet
- A spreadsheet listing mass murders by name and information about the incident
- Materials regarding the topic of pedophilia and advocating for rights for pedophiles (not child pornography)42
- Large amount of materials relating to Columbine shootings and documents on mass murders
- Large amount of materials on firearms
- Comedy videos
- Images of hamsters
-Images of Lego creations
Relationship with father
The shooter’s father saw him regularly until he turned 18. They would go hiking, play video games and other activities. They went shooting twice. The shooter had a cell phone but never used it. Calls all went to voice mail. His father would just e-mail him when he wanted to reach him.
The shooter’s relationship with his father deteriorated in the last quarter of 2010 and the father last saw the shooter in that year. After that the father would reach out to the shooter by mail or through e-mails regularly, asking him to join him at various places for different activities. The shooter stopped responding at some point prior to December 2012.
Relationship with mother
A person who knew the shooter in 2011 and 2012 said the shooter described his relationship with his mother as strained because the shooter said her behavior was not rational.
The shooter was particular about the food that he ate and its arrangement on a plate in relation to other foods on the plate. Certain types of dishware could not be used for particular foods. The mother would shop for him and cook to the shooter’s specifications, though sometimes he would cook for himself. Reportedly the shooter did not drink alcohol, take drugs, prescription or otherwise, and hated the thought of doing any of those things.
The mother did the shooter’s laundry on a daily basis as the shooter often changed clothing during the day. She was not allowed in the shooter’s room, however, even to clean. No one was allowed in his room.
The shooter disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays. He would not allow his mother to put up a Christmas tree. The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings. The mother also got rid of a cat because the shooter did not want it in the house.
When the shooter had his hair cut, he did not like to be touched and did not like the sound of clippers, so they were not used much. He would sit with his hands in his lap and always look down, giving one word answers if the cutter tried to engage him in conversation.
Those who worked on the property at 36 Yogananda Street never entered the home. They spoke with the mother outside in the yard or at the bottom of driveway. They were instructed never to ring the doorbell and to make prior arrangements before using power equipment as her son had issues with loud noises.