According to search warrants released by prosecutors Thursday, a witness told police that Newtown gunman Adam Lanza was a reclusive shut-in with access to numerous weapons and a large quantity of ammunition.
The disclosure of the warrant documents Thursday morning by prosecutors came one week after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called for the release of more information from the ongoing investigation into the Dec. 14 murder of 20 first graders and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown.
Malloy’s request came amid criticism from lawmakers over a leak of previously undisclosed information by the state police. Legislative leaders have been working for weeks to negotiate a bipartisan bill in response to the shooting and have requested as much information as possible to inform their legislation.
The search warrants unsealed Thursday confirm much of what has been reported in the months since the shooting. The warrants also indicated that while the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza, had a safe for the family’s extensive gun collection, it was either kept unlocked or the shooter was able to easily access it.
Malloy has called for a package of stricter gun regulations in response to the shooting. Although he requested additional information from prosecutors, he said he didn’t believe that information was necessary to pass legislation.
He issued a statement Thursday saying the warrants confirmed the need to expand the state’s assault weapons ban and to prohibit high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“We knew that he had ready access to weapons that he should not have had access to. We knew that these weapons were legally purchased under our current laws. We knew he used 30-round magazines to do it, and that they allowed him to do maximum damage in a very short period of time,” Malloy said in a Thursday statement.
The guns used in the shootings were apparently all purchased by the shooter’s mother, according to State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III. There is currently no indication that the shooter had attempted to purchase the guns and was denied.
The gunman shot his mother with a .22 caliber rifle before heading to Sandy Hook Elementary School. There, he took the lives of 26 people in about five minutes with a Bushmaster AR-15 before killing himself with a Glock 10 mm handgun.
Lanza was found among the dead wearing military-style clothing and a bulletproof vest. His mother was later found in their home “lying in a supine position on a bed in the 2nd floor master bedroom. “The white female sustained an apparent gunshot wound to her forehead. Investigators located a rifle on the floor near the bed,” according to the warrant.
Police recovered 154 spent .223 shell casings from the school. They also found six additional 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster rifle. Three were empty, and the others were partially loaded.
The police found a loaded, 12-gauge shotgun in the passenger compartment of the car that the shooter drove to the school. Police said they moved the shotgun to the trunk for safekeeping.
The witness, whose name was redacted from the warrant, described Lanza as a “shut in” and an “avid gamer.” The witness told police that Sandy Hook Elementary School was Adam’s “life.”
At the Lanza home, law enforcement officials also found documents including “personal notes, memoirs, and thoughts believed to have been written and/or collected by Adam Lanza.”
Police also found a holiday card with a check from Nancy Lanza to Adam Lanza for a “C183.” The search warrant identifies the C183 as a firearm, but it’s unclear what weapon this is referring to.
“Documents such as these are routinely utilized by investigators to develop [a] psychological profile of the author of such,” the search warrant says. It also says the seized documents were to be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for analysis.