NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Connecticut police released thousands of pages Friday from their investigation into the Newtown massacre, providing the most detailed and disturbing picture yet of the rampage and Adam Lanzas fascination with murder, while also depicting school employees brave and clearheaded attempts to protect the children.
Among the details: More than a dozen bodies, mostly those of children, were discovered packed like sardines in a bathroom where they had hidden. And the horrors encountered inside the school were so great that when police sent in paramedics, they tried to select ones capable of handling what they were about to witness.
This will be the worst day of your life, police Sgt. William Cario warned one.
The documents release marks the end of the investigation into the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.
Lanza, 20, went to the school after killing his mother, Nancy, inside their home. He committed suicide with a handgun as police arrived at the school.
Last month, prosecutors issued a summary of the investigation that portrayed Lanza as obsessed with mass murders and afflicted with mental problems. But the summary said his motive for the massacre was a mystery and might never be known.
In releasing the huge investigative file Friday, authorities heavily blacked out the paperwork, photos and videos to protect the names of children and withhold some of the more grisly details. But the horror comes through at nearly every turn.
Included were photographs of the Lanza home showing numerous rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot-up paper targets, gun cases, shooting earplugs and a gun safe with a rifle in it.
A former seventh-grade teacher of Lanzas was quoted as telling investigators that Lanza exhibited anti-social behavior, rarely interacted with other students and wrote obsessively about battles, destruction and war.
In all my years of experience, I have known (redacted) grade boys to talk about things like this, but Adams level of violence was disturbing, the teacher told investigators.
The teacher added: Adams creative writing was so graphic that it could not be shared.
The documents also fill in more details about how the shooting unfolded and how staff members looked out for the youngsters.
Teachers heard janitor Rick Thorne try to get Lanza to leave the school. One teacher, who was hiding in a closet in the math lab, heard Thorne yell, Put the gun down! Thorne survived.
Teacher Kaitlin Roig told police she heard rapid-fire shooting near her classroom. She rushed her students into the classrooms bathroom, pulled a rolling storage unit in front of the bathroom door as a barricade and then locked the door.
She heard a voice say, Oh, please, no. Please, no. Eventually, police officers slid their badges under the bathroom door. Roig refused to come out and told them that if they were truly police, they should be able to get the key to the door – which they did.
Lanza was diagnosed in 2006 with profound autism spectrum disorder, with rigidity, isolation and a lack of comprehension of ordinary social interaction and communications, while also displaying symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to Dr. Robert A. King, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center.
Kathleen A. Koenig, a nurse at the Yale Child Studies Center, told investigators that Lanza frequently washed his hands and changed his socks 20 times a day, to the point where his mother did three loads of laundry a day.
The nurse, who met with Lanza in 2006 and 2007, said Lanzas mother declined to give him prescribed antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication after she reported that he had trouble raising his arm, something she attributed to the drug.
Koenig unsuccessfully tried to convince Nancy Lanza that the medicine was not responsible, and the mother failed to schedule a follow-up visit after her son missed an appointment, police said.