posttrib
COARSE 
Weather Updates

Lanza’s sibling: ‘My brother has always been a nerd’

Lt. J. Paul Vance Connecticut State Police conducts news briefing Saturday Dec. 15 2012 Newtown Conn. The massacre 26 children

Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police conducts a news briefing, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

storyidforme: 41695710
tmspicid: 15418304
fileheaderid: 6984504
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: December 15, 2012 4:02PM



WASHINGTON — Family and friends remember Adam Lanza as many things — intelligent, nerdy, remote, thin.

Now the world will remember him as a mass murderer. The 20-year-old is believed to have killed his mother and gunned down more than two dozen people, 20 of them children, at a school in the U.S. state of Connecticut before he killed himself.

He might have suffered from a personality disorder, law enforcement officials said. They said he had no link to the school.

So far, authorities have not spoken publicly of any possible motive, though they said Saturday that investigators had found “very good evidence” and hoped it would answer questions. Lanza had no criminal history. Witnesses said the shooter didn’t utter a word.

Adam Lanza had attended Newtown High School, and news clippings from recent years show him on the honor roll. Joshua Milas, a classmate who was in the technology club with Lanza, said he was generally a happy person but that he hadn’t seen him in a few years.

“We would hang out, and he was a good kid. He was smart,” said Milas, who graduated in 2009. “He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius.”

The tech club would gather at a member’s home, hook up their computers into a small network and play games. Gloria Milas, Joshua’s mother, said Adam Lanza’s mother once hosted.

She recalled a school meeting in 2008 organized by the gunman’s mother to try to save the job of the club’s adviser. Milas said Adam Lanza’s brother Ryan said a few words in support of the adviser, who he said had taken his brother under his wing.

“My brother has always been a nerd,” Ryan Lanza said, according to Milas. “He still wears a pocket protector.”

Catherine Urso, who attended a vigil Friday evening in Newtown, said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style.

“He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths,” referring to a style of dress noted for a heavily black wardrobe.

Authorities say Adam Lanza shot his mother at their home before driving her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, forcing his way in and carrying out the massacre, officials said.

A law enforcement official said a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle were found in the school and a fourth weapon was found outside the school, and that investigators were going to shooting ranges and gun stores to see if Lanza had frequented them

The official was not authorized to discuss information with reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ryan Lanza, now 24 and living in Hoboken, New Jersey, was being questioned, another law enforcement official said. Ryan Lanza told authorities that his brother was believed to suffer from a personality disorder, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the unfolding investigation.

The official did not elaborate, and it was unclear exactly what type of disorder Adam Lanza might have had.

Ryan Lanza had been cooperative and was not under arrest or in custody, but investigators searched his computers and phone records. The brother told law enforcement he had not been in touch with Adam since about 2010.

Adam Lanza and his mother, Nancy, lived in Newtown, a prosperous community of 27,000 people about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northeast of New York City.

Lanza’s parents filed for divorce in 2008, according to court records. His father, Peter Lanza, lives in Stamford, Connecticut, according to public records, and he reportedly works as a tax director for General Electric.

Lanza’s aunt Marsha Lanza said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.

If her son had needed counseling, “Nancy wasn’t one to deny reality,” she said Friday. Marsha Lanza said her husband had seen Adam as recently as June and recalled nothing out of the ordinary.

Lanza said she was close with Nancy Lanza and had sent her a Facebook message Friday morning asking how she was doing. Nancy Lanza never responded.

Nancy Lanza’s mother was too distraught to speak when reached by phone at her home in Brooksville, Florida.

“I just don’t know, and I can’t make a comment right now,” Dorothy Hanson, 78, said in a shaky voice as she started to cry. She said she hadn’t heard anything official about her daughter and grandsons. She declined to comment further and hung up.

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was not clear that Adam Lanza had a job, and there was no indication of law enforcement interviews or search warrants at a place of business.———

Associated Press

Yost reported from Washington and Keyser from Chicago. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Adam Geller and Matt Apuzzo in Newtown, Connecticut; Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; Michael Tarm in Crystal Lake, Illinois; and Michael Rubinkam.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.