Newtown Shooter Had No Connection To School

Police continued to investigate the mass shooting at Newtown, Conn., on Monday, as the town started to bury the victims. Robert Siegel talks to Quil Lawrence.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Newtown, Connecticut began burying the first of its 20 young victims today, Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner. Both were six years old and in first grade at Sandy Hook Elementary. Along with the funerals came new information today about the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Police confirmed he had no criminal record and, contrary to earlier reports, no connection to the school.

Later in the program, we'll talk about the political fallout from Friday's attack with activists and lawmakers calling for tough new gun control laws. But first, NPR's Quil Lawrence is in Danbury, Connecticut, not far from Newtown, and joins us now. Quil, what more can you tell us about where the investigation stands?

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: A little bit more today, primarily the news is that there were two adults who were wounded on Friday. We had previously only heard about one. They are being treated as witnesses, so their identitied haven't been released. But they may be the only people who saw Adam Lanza that day inside Sandy Hook Elementary School and has survived to possibly tell us something about what happened inside there.

The police they still have many interviews to conduct, including some with children, which they'll be doing alongside professional counselors, and they're going to examine every bullet of the hundreds of rounds that were found at the scene.

SIEGEL: Now, there's been a lot of talk about the primary weapon used in this attack. What can you tell us about this AR-15?

LAWRENCE: It's a Bushmaster, it's a consumer model of the sort of assault rifle you see most by most combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the States, they're sold as semiautomatic. But for many years, gun entusiasts have been modifying them to make them fully automatic. Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy actually gave a press conference this afternoon where he noted that even though Connecticut has some of the toughest laws, gun laws, in the country, these guns can very easily travel across state lines. So without a federal ban, it really didn't matter.

SIEGEL: Now, what more have we learned today about the gunman, Adam Lanza?

LAWRENCE: As you mentioned, really, there were just a couple of things debunked. First that he has no contact, no history of any contact with Newtown Police, no criminal record and no connection to the school, although he drove about five miles to get there and he drove past nearby several other schools. It really only adds to the mystery of why he did this. It could be one of the least publicly documented 20-year-olds out there today.

SIEGEL: And what would you say about the atmosphere in Newtown today?

LAWRENCE: This town is already exhausted from mourning, but they've got two dozen or so funerals to come. The town's on edge. There was fake threat phoned into a church yesterday. There was another false alarm at a nearby school today, and they're in the glare of the entire world's press. Police have asked for privacy for the families and assigned a state trooper to each family that's lost someone. So when you drive around and you see a trooper parked in a driveway around town, it's very chilling because you realize that house has lost a six or seven-year-old probably.

Governor Malloy speaking this afternoon also spoke about how it felt to him on Friday to talk about - to tell these parents that their children were not coming home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

GOVERNOR DAN MALLOY: Rather than relying on traditional investigative policies - that you actually have a child or an adult identified as the particular victim before you inform someone, or at least give them the information by which they could formulate for themselves that their loved one was not going to return - I made the decision that to have that go on any longer was wrong. I did it.

LAWRENCE: That's Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, also along with Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman you can hear on the tape there, speaking of the terrible duty that fell to him on Friday.

SIEGEL: OK. Thank you, Quil.

LAWRENCE: Thanks, Robert.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Quil Lawrence speaking to us from Danbury, Connecticut, not far from Newtown, Connecticut.

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