The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sandy Hook

December 19, 2012

In Newtown, shooter's mom a subject of sympathy, anger

(Continued)

As Obama spoke, people gathered in respectful silence to watch on television at the bar in My Place, a Newtown restaurant where Nancy Lanza was a regular. They heard the president say, "We gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults."

"Seven," a woman at the bar was heard saying under her breath, referring to her lost friend.

Much remains unknown about Adam Lanza and his mother. But everyone here knows that Nancy, 52, was the legally registered owner of the powerful .223-caliber, military-style Bushmaster rifle that was used in the nation's second-deadliest mass shooting. And they have heard that federal investigators have determined that mother and son visited numerous shooting ranges together.

It is also known that Adam Lanza had psychological or emotional problems that made the most basic elements of daily life — such as school and social settings — challenging for him. The state medical examiner said he had been advised that Adam had Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disorder that is not associated with violence.

Those facts have left questions hanging over Newtown. Did Nancy Lanza do enough to keep her guns out of her son's hands? Should she have helped a young man with psychological problems learn how to shoot?

Alexander Isgut, a Newtown pediatrician, said his daughter bought Nancy Lanza's house in Kingston, N.H., where she lived before moving to Newtown in 1998. He said his daughter still lives in the house and is friends with Nancy Lanza's brother, who lives next door.

Isgut said he never met Nancy Lanza. But he said many parents in Newtown, some of whom he has been treating for stress, cannot understand how Adam Lanza gained access to his mother's guns, which also included several semiautomatic handguns.

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