Father of Sandy Hook gunman wishes son was never born
‘You couldn’t get any more evil,’ says father of Adam Lanza, who killed 27 in Connecticut
Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 13 but his father believes this may have hidden a more serious mental illness. Photograph: AP Photo/Western Connecticut State University
The father of Adam Lanza, the gunman responsible for murders of 20 schoolchildren and six adults at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut in December 2012, has spoken out for the first time, saying he believes his son would have killed him too and wishes his son had never been born.
In a series of interviews with the New Yorker magazine, Peter Lanza recounts how he is still haunted by his son’s actions. “You can’t get any more evil,” he said.
He told the magazine how he and his first wife, Nancy, sought help from mental health professionals to deal with their son’s severe social disabilities but none ever thought him capable of being violent.
By the time Adam killed his mother at home on the day of the school killings, Peter had not seen his son for two years. Adam, who killed himself after the killings, refused to meet his father, and Nancy had asked Peter not to visit as their son’s mental health deteriorated and he became more reclusive.
“With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he’d had the chance,” Peter Lanza told author Andrew Solomon, saying Adam would have killed all of their family.
“I don’t question that for a minute. The reason he shot Nancy four times: one for Nancy, one for him, one for Ryan [his eldest son], one for me.”
No motive identified
Peter Lanza’s six interviews with the author shed further light on what drove the 20-year-old to commit the second-deadliest school shootings in the US. A Connecticut state’s attorney report published in November last year could not specifically identify a motive for the school attack.
The mass shooting sparked a nationwide debate on gun violence and mental health, and led several states to introduce new restrictions on firearms.
Mr Solomon told NBC’s Today programme that Mr Lanza decided to tell his story as he felt it was “an important part of the puzzle” and might help the victims’ families and prevent “another Newtown [where the massacre took place].”
Mr Lanza said Adam was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 13 but he believes this may have hidden a more serious mental illness.
“Asperger’s makes people unusual, but it doesn’t make people like this,” said Mr Lanza, adding that the condition “veiled a contaminant” and that it “could mask schizophrenia”.
Mr Lanza, an accountant living in Connecticut, said he considered changing his name to distance himself from his son’s actions and recalled a recent nightmare about Adam, experiencing the killings from the “perspective of his victims” in the dream.
He spoke of two “gut-wrenching” meetings with victims’ families and said that he would never disclose details of Adam’s funeral.
Still struggling to understand his son’s actions, Mr Lanza said that he constantly thinks about what he could have done differently and wished that he had pushed harder to see his son. “How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he’s my son? A lot,” he said.