Newtown killer's father speaks out for 1st time

He wishes son 'had never been born'

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- Peter Lanza, the father of Sandy Hook Elementary School killer Adam Lanza, said in an interview in The New Yorker that he wished his second-born son who shot 20 elementary-school children and six educators "had never been born."

In an article written following six interviews with author Andrew Solomon, Mr. Lanza speaks publicly for the first time about his son, Adam, 20, and discusses aspects of his life since the shooting. Mr. Solomon said Mr. Lanza contacted him in September to say he "was ready to tell his story." The interviews are expected to produce a book.

Mr. Lanza told Mr. Solomon that he believed Adam had no affection for him. He had moved out of the family home Adam shared with his mother, Nancy, and older brother, Ryan, when Adam was a boy, and had not seen his son in the two years before the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings in Newtown.

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

Before the Sandy Hook school massacre, Adam fatally shot his mother four times in the head. "The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for Ryan; one for me," the father told Mr. Solomon.

Mr. Lanza, a vice president at a GE subsidiary, said he thinks constantly about what he could have done differently and "wishes he had pushed harder to see Adam."

The article goes over largely familiar ground about troubling signs in Adam's early days, struggles in school, increased isolation as he grew older and how he cut off contact with his father two years before the killings.

Mr. Lanza confirms that Adam was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder as a young boy and had such compulsive behaviors as continuous hand washing and not touching doorknobs.

Back then, Mr. Lanza said, he considered Adam to be "just a normal little weird kid" who struggled with basic emotions and making friends. He said Adam "loved Sandy Hook school" but struggled in middle school, when the structure of his day changed and sensory overload affected his ability to concentrate.

"It was crystal clear something was wrong," Mr. Lanza said. "The social awkwardness, the uncomfortable anxiety, unable to sleep, stress, unable to concentrate, having a hard time learning, the awkward walk, reduced eye contact. You could see the changes occurring."

Mr. Lanza said he and Adam's mother, whom Mr. Lanza separated from in 2001 and divorced in 2009, initially worked together to get Adam help, taking him to psychiatrists including one who diagnosed Asperger's syndrome when the boy was 13.

In an attempt, perhaps, to explain why Adam was allowed to shoot guns at a shooting range, Mr. Solomon wrote: "Everyone tried to encourage Adam and looked for ways to engage with him. Nancy would take him on trips to the shooting range. Nancy and Peter thought that their son was nonviolent; the best way to build a connection to someone with Asperger's is often to participate in his fascinations."

When police interviewed Mr. Lanza after the shooting, he told them that on "several occasions" prior to 2011, he took Adam to a shooting range in Monroe, and to a range in Danbury at least once. Mr. Lanza said he would buy the ammunition but keep any unused ammunition "and did not permit Adam to keep any for himself," the state's attorney's report said.

Mr. Lanza told police that he never gave Adam a firearm and was unaware of Nancy Lanza's ever purchasing guns for their son, though he believed that Nancy had bought guns herself.

Police found thousands of rounds of ammunition inside the Lanza house. Records show the four guns he carried to the Sandy Hook school that day were all legally bought by Nancy Lanza between March 2010 and January 2012. The report redacts where the guns were purchased. The Bushmaster used in the shootings was bought in March 2010.

Monday on NBC's "Today Show," Mr. Solomon said Mr. Lanza decided to speak after being contacted by several victims' families. "He said he finally thought his story was an important part of the puzzle, and that he had a moral obligation to tell it -- that it might help the families, or it might help prevent another Newtown," Mr. Solomon said.

The writer spent hours interviewing Mr. Lanza, and he described the father as a "kind, decent man" who was "horrified his child could have caused this destruction." Mr. Solomon added: "He's haunted. He wishes he could go back in time and fix what went wrong."


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