Adam Lanza’s father, Peter Lanza, has finally broken his silence, and in his first interview he explained why Adam Lanza shot his mother Nancy Lanza four times in the head. “The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for Ryan; one for me.” According to a March 10, 2014, USA Today report, Peter Lanza approached Andrew Solomon last year at the anniversary of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook shooting to talk with the author about his son.
Following the Dec. 14 anniversary, Peter Lanza met with Andrew Solomon for six long interviews. Andrew Solomon’s article based on the complete interviews was published on Sunday by the New Yorker.
On Dec. 14, 2012, it had been two years since Peter Lanza had seen his son, and he had gone to get lunch at work when he saw his colleagues clustered around a television.
“Shocked by the developing news, Peter said, ‘Both my kids went to that school,’ and went back to his office. Then news reports mentioned that a twenty- and a twenty-four-year-old were involved (the ages of his two sons) and that the shooter had attended the school. Unable to get any work done, he drove home to watch the coverage. A reporter was waiting in his driveway, and told him that somebody at his house was involved in the shootings. Peter closed the door, turned on the TV, and saw that CNN was identifying Ryan as the shooter. But he knew better, and called Shelley at work. She told me, Peter said, ‘It’s Peter. I think it’s Adam.’ I didn’t recognize his voice. And he just said it again: ‘It’s Peter, it’s Peter, it’s Adam.’ And I still didn’t understand him. And he said, ‘I think it’s Adam, it’s Adam.’ When it hit me, I screamed and started shaking violently'.”
In his interview with Andrew Solomon, Peter Lanza talks openly about his family. What he does not talk about is where his son is buried.
To summarize the more than 7,000 word article would do little justice to the insights that Andrew Solomon and Peter Lanza are providing.
As scientists are in the process of sequencing Adam Lanza’s DNA, Peter Lanza says that “he wished Adam had never been born, that there could be no remembering who he was outside of who he became.“
When Adam shot Nancy Lanza four times, it was to kill his father, his mother, his brother, and himself. But why kill other innocent children before killing himself?
According to Peter Lanza, Adam loved going to Sandy Hook when he was little. After that, everything changed:
“When Adam began middle school, Peter and Nancy’s worries increased. The structure of the school day changed; instead of sitting in one classroom, he had to move from room to room, and he found the disruption punishing. Sensory overload affected his ability to concentrate; his mother xeroxed his textbooks in black-and-white, because he found color graphics unbearable. He quit playing the saxophone, stopped climbing trees, avoided eye contact, and developed a stiff, lumbering gait. He said that he hated birthdays and holidays, which he had previously loved; special occasions unsettled his increasingly sclerotic orderliness. He had ‘episodes,’ panic attacks that necessitated his mother’s coming to school; the state’s attorney’s report says that on such occasions Adam ‘was more likely to be victimized than to act in violence against another’.”
In describing his son’s path from victim to victimizer, Peter Lanza uses the word “obsession” in regard to Nancy Lanza’s relationship with Adam and in regard to Adam’s intense interest with killing which began in 2009, the year his parents divorced.
“During that year, Adam developed his private obsession with killing. He started editing Wikipedia entries on various well-known mass murderers and seems to have been eerily well informed. But although there were still no outward signs of violent tendencies, he was becoming ever harder to deal with. Nancy wrote to Peter that Adam would sometimes close his door when she tried to talk to him.”
From 2009 to 2012, Adam’s isolation from his father and his brother Ryan grew, and even though both tried to reach out to him, “Nancy’s naïveté began to blur into denial.”
“She started making plans to move with Adam, possibly to Seattle, although she didn’t mention those plans to Peter. She had also suggested to a friend that she’d be living with Adam for a ‘very long time,’ a situation that could have been upsetting for a young man too set on independence to let his father help him with his coursework. Nancy’s mixture of hovering appeasement and disregard for professional help now seems bewildering.”
Adam Lanza’s father does not depict Nancy Lanza as the cause of the Sandy Hook massacre. His son shot his mother four times, not just once, indicating that Adam blamed the whole family. Peter Lanza makes it clear that autism or Asperger’s syndrome does not cause anyone to kill others but that the psychopathic or sociopathic characteristics in his son were missed despite all the professional help that Adam had received. Still trying to come to terms with the pain that his son has caused and still looking for answers, Peter Lanza says, “I want people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them.”