Click here to read the Report of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury on the Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. The report is 48 pages long but not so long on many important details. No 911 call transcripts. No pictures. Here’s the bit about the police response in the Executive Summary: “The response to these crimes began unfolding at 9:35:39 a.m. when the first 911 call was received by the Newtown Police Department. With the receipt of that call, the dispatching and the arrival of the police, the law enforcement response to the shootings began . . .
It was fewer than four minutes from the time the first 911 call was received until the first police officer arrived at the school. It was fewer than five minutes from the first 911 call, and one minute after the arrival of the first officer, that the shooter killed himself. It was fewer than six minutes from the time the first police officer arrived on SHES property to the time the first police officer entered the school building. In fewer than 11 minutes twenty first-grade pupils and six adults had lost their lives.
Fewer than this. Fewer than that. That sounds an awful lot like spin (i.e., obfuscation) to me. The “abbreviated timeline” on page 14 says that the police received the first 911 call at 9:35:39. An officer made the scene at 9:39. Although the report states that the “last gunshot is heard” at 9:40:33, it does not say that it was the last gunshot fired. The first officer enters the building at 9:44:37.
There simply isn’t sufficient detail about the actual police response—especially as we learned last week that the first officer on the scene parked 1/4 mile from the school and waited for backup before entering the building.
We now know that responding officers spent time apprehending someone who wasn’t involved in the shooting:
9:39:34 – Newtown officer encounters unknown male running along the east side of SHES with something in his hand . . .
As noted above, on December 14, 2012, there was a concern that there may have been more than one shooter. This was based upon a number of factors:
1. The initial police encounter with the unknown male outside SHES;19
2. Reports by school personnel during the shooting on a 911 call of seeing someone running outside the school while the shooting was ongoing;
3. The location of two black zip up sweat jackets on the ground outside of the shooter’s car;
4. The discovery of an Izhmash Saiga-12, 12 gauge shotgun and ammunition in the passenger compartment of the shooter’s car. A police officer moved this shotgun and ammunition to the car’s trunk for safety purposes;
5. Shell casings that were located outside of the school; and
6. The apparent sound of gunfire coming from outside of the school;
Clearly, the report is attempting to provide justification for the fact that the first responders didn’t enter the school building immediately, in accordance with department active shooter protocol. And again, check the wording on the “last gunshot heard.” This delay may well have cost lives. Here’s what happened inside the school.
Throughout the rest of the school, staff and students hid themselves wherever they happened to be at the time they became aware of gunfire. The staff used various ways to keep the children calm, from reading to having them color or draw pictures. Those hiding in rooms closest to the shooter kept silent. Some people were able to escape out of the building prior to the police arrival and went to Sandy Hook center, nearby residences, or received rides from parents going to the school or from passersby.
This raises important questions about the shelter-in-place lockdown instructions given by the staff to children. I’ve said it all along: gathering kids in one place does little more than create a target-rich environment. [I’ve told my kid to run like hell to get outside the building and away.]
Gun control advocates are sure to seize upon details on the amount of ammunition Adam Lanza carried during the attack. Here’s the inventory from the last place Lanza fired his guns, classroom 10:
Officers found two-hundred-fifty-three live rounds on the shooter’s body: one-hundred-sixteen 9mm rounds, seventy-five rounds of 10 mm, sixty-one rounds of 5.56 mm and one 12 gauge shotgun shell. Officers also seized forty-six 5.56 mm live rounds. This consisted of fifteen from the rifle, one from the floor and thirty from the magazine under the body of the shooter, as well as thirteen 10 mm live rounds (nine from the Glock and four from the floor). Officers also seized forty-six 5.56 mm live rounds. This consisted of fifteen from the rifle, one from the floor and thirty from the magazine under the body of the shooter, as well as thirteen 10 mm live rounds (nine from the Glock and four from the floor). There were forty-nine expended 5.56 mm casings seized and one 10 mm casing from classroom 10. Total live rounds seized were three-hundred-twelve and total expended casings seized from classroom 10 were fifty.
The autopsy reports that “No drugs were found in the shooter’s system.” That’s a bad thing, not a good thing; Lanza probably had been given prescription drugs at some point. I’ll write more on the psychological aspects later. For now, one thing is certain: the report is a whitewash in terms of the police response. Not good enough.