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HE CARRIED a black briefcase to his 10th-grade honours English class and sat near the door, so he could readily slip in and out. When called upon, he was intelligent, but nervous and fidgety, spitting his words out, as if having to speak up were painful.

Pale, tall and scrawny, Adam Lanza walked through high school in Newtown, Connecticut, with his hands glued to his sides, the pens in the pocket of his short-sleeve, button-down shirts among the few things classmates recalled about him.

He did all he could to avoid attention, it seemed.


Until Friday. The authorities said Lanza, 20, wearing combat gear, carried out one of the deadliest shootings in the nation’s history.

He killed 20 children and six adults at the elementary school where his mother worked, they said. He then apparently turned his gun on himself. Earlier, the police said, he also killed his mother.

In his brief life, Lanza left few footprints, electronic or otherwise. He apparently had no Facebook page, unlike his older brother, Ryan, a Hoboken, New Jersey, resident who for several hours was misidentified in news reports as perpetrator of the massacre.

Undated photo confirmed by government officials to be Adam Lanza, who apparently killed himself after killing more than two dozen others, including 20 school children.</p> <p>Connecticut allows possession of assault rifles, except those with certain features, such as a fixed bayonet type lug, or a collapsible stock, according to attorney David Clough of Southbury, Conn.</p> <p>Otherwise they are allowed, and like other rifles, easier to acquire than handguns.</p> <p>Under Connecticut law, anyone 21 or older can purchase ammunition, Clough said.</p> <p>The Associated Press, citing an unnamed official, reported that state police records show that Nancy Lanza had legally purchased five firearms, all registered in Connecticut, though the reported was not independently confirmed by NBC News. The AP later reported that authorities also recovered three other guns ? a Henry repeating rifle, an Enfield rifle and a shotgun. It was not clear where those weapons were found.
Adam Lanza in 2005: Classmates recall his distress in social situations.
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Adam Lanza did not even appear in his high school yearbook. His spot on the page said ”camera shy”. Others who graduated in 2010 did not believe he had finished school.

Matt Baier, now a student at the University of Connecticut, and other high school classmates, recalled how deeply uncomfortable Lanza was in social situations. Several believed he had a developmental disorder. They said they had been told the disorder was Asperger’s syndrome, considered a high-functioning form of autism.

”It’s not like people picked on him for it,” Mr Baier said. ”From what I saw, people just let him be.”

Law enforcement officials said on Friday they were closely examining whether Lanza had such a disorder.

One former classmate who said he was familiar with the disorder said: ”If you looked at him, you couldn’t see any emotions going through his head.”

Others said Lanza’s evident discomfort prompted giggles from those who did not understand him.

”You could tell that he felt so uncomfortable about being put on the spot,” said Olivia DeVivo, also now at the University of Connecticut. ”Maybe he wasn’t given the right kind of attention or help. I think he went so unnoticed that people didn’t even stop to realise maybe there’s actually something else going on here – that maybe he needs to be talking or getting some kind of mental help. In high school, no one really takes the time to look and think, ‘Why is he acting this way?’ ”

Out of view of his classmates, Lanza’s adolescence seemed to have been turbulent. In 2006, his older brother graduated from high school and went to Quinnipiac University, in Connecticut, leaving him alone with their parents, whose marriage was apparently coming apart.
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In 2008, they divorced, after 17 years, court records show. His father, Peter Lanza, a tax executive for General Electric, moved to Stamford, and last year remarried.

His mother, Nancy Lanza, kept their home in Newtown, in a prosperous, hilly enclave of spacious, newer homes about eight kilometres from the elementary school where she taught kindergarten. Adam Lanza is thought to have been living in the house, too.

Friends remembered Nancy Lanza as being very involved in her sons’ lives.

”Their mother was very protective, very hands-on,” said Gina McDade, whose son was a playmate of Ryan Lanza’s and spent much time at his home, which she described as a two-storey colonial with a pool.

”It was a beautiful home,” Ms McDade said. ”She was a good housekeeper, better than me. You could tell her kids really came first.”

On Friday, police officers and agents from the FBI swarmed through the Lanzas’ neighbourhood, blocking off streets and asking residents to leave their homes.

Throughout the afternoon, Nancy Lanza’s surviving son, Ryan, was named by some news outlets as the killer. - The best iphone accessories at the best prices

Ryan Lanza’s identification had been found on the body of his brother, leading to the mistaken reports.

Brett Wilshe, a neighbour of Ryan Lanza in Hoboken, said he communicated with him by instant message at 1.15pm.

”He said he thought his mom was dead, and he was heading back up to Connecticut,” Mr Wilshe said. ”He said, ‘It was my brother.’

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