Did Sandy Hook Spree Killer Try Newtown High School First?

Adam Lanza's Honda (courtesy dailymail.co.uk)

It’s coming up on two months since the Sandy Hook spree killing. The police still haven’t released an official report. We still don’t know what officers arrived where and when and what they did when they arrived. We have this from Officer William Chapman in a recent New York Times interview: “I got out of the car and grabbed my rifle and it stopped for second. But then we heard more popping. You could tell it was rifle fire. And it was up so close, it sounded like it was coming from outside. So we were all looking around for someone to shoot back at.’” In other words, the responding officers did not move to engage. They waited. How long? The Connecticut State Police are in charge of the investigation . . .

Lt. Paul Vance, the PR point man, is out of the office ’til tomorrow (Tuesday). Meanwhile, his assistant referred me to the State Po-Po’s website, which makes no mention of an official report and provides none of the details about the police response.

When I get Lt. Vance on the blower I’ll ask him about new information flowing into TTAG.

We’re hearing reports from credible sources that spree killer Adam Lanza first went to Newtown High School before driving his Honda over to Sandy Hook Elementary school. Allegedly, there’s a video of his arrival and departure in the high school parking lot.

Also reported: Lanza opened the trunk of his car, noticed the School Resource Officer nearby, closed his trunk and left.

If true, it raises an important question: did the School Resource Officer notice Lanza? Did he report him to the police?

Again, these are unconfirmed but reliable reports. I’ve put in a call to Newtown High School and asked the Connecticut State Police for comment. I will add their responses to this post ASAP.

TTAG will also request an incident report and copies of all dashcam and officer-worn videos from officers involved in the incident. Watch this space.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

48 Responses to Did Sandy Hook Spree Killer Try Newtown High School First?

  1. avatarAccur81 says:

    There’s just no way a good guy with a gun could be a deterrent for a bad guy with a gun – the media says so! Lapierre’s idea of armed guards is totally ridiculous, but Obama’s “idea” of School Resource Officers is sage and wise.

    Sincerely,
    Roughly Half of the Voting Public

  2. avatarإبليس says:

    Try that spree killer sh*t in a Detroit school. See how fast you get stabbed. Maybe the correct response to spree shootings is gang membership?

    • avatarTanner says:

      I’m sorry, but gang members are not going to stop a spree shooter. They are going to run and save their own butts because that’s what they’re good at. Most gang violence happens when one gang drives through another gang’s territory and attacks for a few seconds and then flees to the safety of their own territory. The attacked gang flees immediately following the initial attack and then regroups to plan retaliation. I doubt a gang member would grow a pair and fight to save others once a spree killer appears.

      • avatarKory says:

        How can they run? It’s more like hobble until they reach down and pull up their pants!

        • avatarRandy Drescher says:

          Yeah, This 62 year old senior has oft wondered where I could buy some pants with the crotch at my knees. At least I’d have an excuse for not running as you say, Randy

    • avatarCliff says:

      Since apparently 80 some percent of firearm fatalities are criminals of one sort or another and most likely a significant number of them are gang members I suspect your success or failure (relative terms) would depend greatly on what color you happened to choose for your spree-shooting wardrobe.
      Personally he should be more concerned in Detroit with being shot by some gangster packing his nine in spite of the school being a gun-free zone.

    • avatarBuell301 says:

      Not to make light of a senseless, horrific tragedy but… if Lanza had tried that at a Baltimore City Elementary school he would’ve been shot or shanked by probably more than one student. Sad nature of our youth but true.

    • avatarAir Force TSgt says:

      Gang members don’t go to school. Too busy slinging dope on the corner.

    • avatarChuck J says:

      I suspect a major reason that spree shootings don’t happen in inner-city schools is that the campuses already have cops on duty there and have choke points for entry that are carefully monitored and controlled. They already have a security plan.

      Lots of people in “good” neighborhoods have an attitude of “it can’t happen here. don’t be so paranoid about security.”

  3. avatarDavid W. says:

    The official report won’t be released until after gun control is either passed, or completely gone down in flames. I’m starting to think the whole “think of the children!” and “we must protect the children!” and “The NRA is crazy for thinking of the children and trying to get Obama to protect the children!” is having a bad effect on gun control in the minds of normal people.

    The only thing they have a chance on is increased background checks and magazine bans, and even those aren’t exactly likely in my opinion. And people also see that and think “how would that have stopped (name omitted for being an evil piece of excrement)?”

  4. avatarLance says:

    Interesting. Well spree killer cowards attack in the area of least resistance. S a High School with a armed cop would have made him go to another killing sight he planned like the Theater shooter went past close theaters to a gun free theater to do his crime.

    Interesting.

  5. avatarSGC says:

    Good luck with the open records requests…they are gonna stall you and drag thier feet BIG time…I’ll put money on that.

    • avatarFred says:

      They’ll stall until all the careers of all those involved are over because once the report gets out they will be effectively over.

  6. avatarRydak says:

    Stay on it brother. Chase them facts down and keep us in the loop.

  7. avatarWilliam says:

    If they have to budge off of stonewalling, they’ll turn on the bullshit in its place.
    If things were on the up-and-up, they’d be forthcoming with simple details, like how many shots were fired. THEY ARE NOT FORTHCOMING. The fix is in.

  8. avatarSteve Ramsey says:

    Two months in. Not very many details. No defendant’s rights to worry about, no prosecutor trying to keep evidence UN-tainted, no defense attorney gaming the system for his client. A 100% locked down crime scene. Autopsies complete, plenty of time for toxicology on Lanza to come in. No civil suits filed, and no rumors of any.

    Something smells here, and it smells bad. Very bad.

    • avatarFred says:

      I’m usually not one for conspiracy theories, but this is a prime breeding ground.

      • avatarBeau says:

        Conspiracy- an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.

        Theory – a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact

        I don’t have a problem with conspiracy theories. Do the readers of this blog believe the media is reporting “well-established propositions-facts”? If not, then you are a conspiracy theorist. If you think for yourself, you are probably a conspiracy theorist. It takes a strong person to go against popular opinion. We don’t have enough of those…

        -B

    • avatarTex74 says:

      Yuuup!!!

    • avatarإبليس says:

      Spooky stuff right there.

  9. avatarChris says:

    Resource Officers aren’t there to protect the kids, they are posted to keep the sociapaths from hurting each other. But if this is true then post them at elementary schools too because clearly they offer a deterent to these cowards that go on these killing sprees.

    This whole mess could reinforce that A) visible presence of a good guy with a gun keeps the bad guys away and B) relying on the police even when they can respond in time is not a subsitutue for having protection in an immediate vicinity.

    • avatarMatt says:

      I agree Chris. If true, this will really poke holes in the argument that an armed presence in schools wouldn’t prevent this sort of thing from happening. Holmes choosing the only theater in the area that didn’t allow concealed carry, the Oregon shooter potentially ending his own life after seeing an armed civilian, and now this? The case against an armed presence/gun free zones is starting to fall apart. Molon Labe – Desperta Ferro.

  10. avatarLoyal Reader says:

    What constitutes a reputable source? Not asking for specifics, but it would be nice to know what field eg. cop, lawyer, politician, etc.

  11. avatarRon Mexico says:

    From reading the WaPo article, you are pretty well-heeled. I would invest some of that dough in a couple of special-ops guys protecting your person if you keep going down this road.
    This does not fit the POTUS or the media’s narrative.

  12. avatarjwm says:

    If the resource officer had seen Lanza, what would he have seen? Had the alarm been sounded about a killer on the loose? He would have seen a young man at his car that looked like he fit in at the high school.

    The important part here is that if this is true, Lanza saw an armed officer and beat feet to find an easier target. And how do you avoid being the easier target? Guns in the holsters of the good guys. School staff, community volunteers and the police.

    • avatarJoshinGA says:

      When I was in high school, the resource officer would commonly patrol the parking lot during the school day. If you were a student in the parking lot you would just expect get stopped to make sure you were supposed to be there. Maybe it was just my school…

      • avatarMatt says:

        That happened at my school as well. I was there from 99-02. There have been SRO’s in schools in my area (western NC) for almost 2 decades now.

  13. avatarADub from TTAC says:

    If cops aren’t willing to run in when they hear shots fired in an elementary school, what’s the point of paying their salaries? Are they going to huddle in the parking lot, waiting for more “backup” before finding their courage (like a mob)? Contrast this with the principal and other staff who went running TOWARDS the gunfire armed with nothing but passion for their children. Imagine if one of those liberal ladies had actually had a gun…

    Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Three minutes, to be exact.

    • avatarLoren says:

      If the first cop on scene was alone, then waiting for another officer is standard procedure for active shooter scenarios. Clearing a building, or hunting an active shooter, requires two people minimum to do it effectively.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        Yet another protocol that keeps “being an LEO” out of the US’s top ten most dangerous jobs, I suppose.

      • avatarJoseph says:

        @Loren,

        That may in fact be the Newtown PD’s SOP (standard operating procedures) but the conclusion that you draw, of a “minimum” of two people being necessary to clear a building etc. is not correct.

        Any number of people can clear a building or structure of basically any size and layout “effectively.” Whether you have one or 100 people isn’t actually an issue when it comes to just being able to accomplish the task.

        What the number of available personnel actually determines is the “risk factor” that they will face while accomplishing their task. At this point it becomes an individual decision, a risk/reward decision as to whether or not you should carry out the task.

        As long as you have the four P’s, proper training and practice, practice, practice though clearing a building with a single person lies solidly within the realm of possibility.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      I agree. Grab your AR, sling your shotgun, and let dispatch know you are 97. Make a decisive and tactical movement towards the shooting. Backup is coming, find the shooter(s) and stop him, or at least slow him down. Thats why you have the vest, hardware, radio, and uniform. I’m curious if this is one of the things being hidden in the investigation. No, not curious. Suspicious.

      We’re the shots “sounding like they came from outside” part of an honest mistake or an epic screw up? I want the details for this shooting. It seems clear that Lanza had way too much time in that classroom for a “3 minute response time.”.

      I hate when police screw up, but let the truth be known. If they failed to act decisively in a timely manner, then the evidence clearly and unequivocally points to the elimination of the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990. Recognize teachers and parents lawful rights to carry concealed. This whole investigation stinks to high heaven while bullsh!t laws are coming out everywhere.

      • avatarAnon in CT says:

        How much training do most cops get in identifying the different sounds of incoming fire vs outgoing fire, and the like? In a partial, qualified, defense of the cops, you don’t want to charge straight at a building if you think there is fire coming from that building.

        • avatarChris Mallory says:

          That is what we over pay them to do. If they don’t want to go straight in, then we need to cut pay, reduce benefits and make sure they don’t touch a dime of pension till they turn 65.

        • avatarAnon in CT says:

          Sorry, what? Nobody gets paid enough to charge straight into incoming fire – not even the Rangers would do it without suppressing fires and preferably some smoke.

          Anyone who’s actually trained for combat, or been in it, is going run around like a headless chicken in the middle of a firefight. I’m not saying sit on your butt and wait for SWAT, I’m saying you get down and/or behind cover and you work to identify the threat so that you can start suppressing it.

          Now as it happens, the cops were not being fired upon, but it’s not cowardice or deriliction of duty to take a couple of beats to try to properly identify the threat so it can be properly addressed.

        • avatarAccur81 says:

          Anon,

          I can’t speak for all agencies, but I do stand by what I’ve said. I’ve had a few dedicated training days that were geared towards active shooters, and scenario training with live fire and the FATS laser simulator. The emphasis was (is) on neutralizing the threat to life as quickly as possible. Officers are individuals, with levels of training and competence that are unique to that persons required training, optional training, and life experience.

          Under stress, combatants tend to revert to their training. If the officers were trained to wait for backup, that is likely what they did. We are trained to wait for backup unless lives are being lost. If that is the case, then we have a responsibility to move towards the threat and neutralize the shooter ASAP.

          I don’t expect anyone to head blindly into gunfire, but tactical movement towards gunfire is definitely warranted when lives are on the line.

          Again, a clear understanding of the Sandy Hook Incident will likely tell us what we already know. Signs and laws do not prevent criminals from attacking, and fighting gunfire with gunfire is the best possible way to survive. If that information was known and understood, the current threats we have to the 2A would no longer exist.

        • avatar16V says:

          Have to agree with Accur81, that’s what the current metric is in many metros that have actually planned for this.

          In mine, even the hint of a shooter from an SRO (real copper in my metro) will unleash every officer in the district rollin’ like an officer down with tactical and the helos flying like the Russians have landed.

          There are certainly a thousand little burgs that have no clue, but that doesn’t let them off the hook. It’s even easier in a tiny s-hole – there are only a few schools and even though it may be miles, you cover them at 120+mph…

  14. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    I would guess a lawsuit will be needed to get all those records. They will probably give out some non damaging ones. Small claims court around here is about 60 bucks, money well spent. Interesting story, good luck, Randy

  15. avatarRabbi says:

    I was told by a Hartford CT cop (friend) last week that Lanza was on tape at the HS, but was scared off my the sight of police or police car–I don’t remember which.

    The cop also stated that no AR was used and that all reports, including the medical examiner, are purposely being held until summer in order to allow gun control laws to be passed.

    • avatarMatt says:

      Concerning how a rifle wasn’t used, that is very dangerous information Rabbi.

      If your source is correct, do you think that the government would ever allow that to be reported to the public? It would prove that we, as citizens, have been lied to about the event to push an agenda.

  16. avatarJoey says:

    So…. since people have been creating random petitions for the White House to respond to about all sorts of bunk topics… why not start a petition demanding the release of the details surrounding the event? I understand it may be sensitive to some, but the vast majority of the nation has a LOT of unanswered questions.

    Just my $0.02′s worth.

    • avatarMatt says:

      Because in this country, it seems that the needs of a few are vastly more important than the wants of the many. They will say that the families ‘need’ this information to stay private, and that you (and the many other people questioning this event) need to put away your tin foil hats and accept the ‘official’ story, when they get around to saying what the ‘official’ story is.

  17. avatarAnonymous Nutmegger says:

    Based on the map up on Wikipedia, Newtown high school is on the way to Sandy Hook elementary if you start from Lanza’s home.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_Sandy_Hook_shooting.png

  18. avatarWPZ says:

    I recall in the first day or two of the event that the police response time was 20 minutes, according to a major news outlet.
    I can’t find it now, perhaps my search-fu is off.
    If it is anywhere near true, it would be another meme-buster.

  19. avatarRunforyourlife says:

    A friend of mine works in school admin in area and said that killer went to high school first, saw security vehicle and so he went to next school down – which was Sandy Hook Elementary. Why wasn’t this reported?

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