Father of Adam Lanza Speaks Publicly About Newtown Massacre

Mar 10, 2014

Credit State of Connecticut

For the first time since the Newtown school shooting, the father of gunman Adam Lanza is speaking publicly. Peter Lanza told The New Yorker magazine, in an extensive interview by Andrew Solomon, about his relationship with Adam.

Peter Lanza described his son as "just a normal little weird kid" early in life. But he also showed signs of having trouble, being hypersensitive to touch and obsessively washing his hands. He was diagnosed with sensory-integration disorder. From the article:

Adam Lanza was never typical. Born in 1992, he didn’t speak until he was three, and he always understood many more words than he could muster. He showed such hypersensitivity to physical touch that tags had to be removed from his clothing. In preschool and at Sandy Hook, where he was a pupil till the beginning of sixth grade, he sometimes smelled things that weren’t there and washed his hands excessively. A doctor diagnosed sensory-integration disorder, and Adam underwent speech therapy and occupational therapy in kindergarten and first grade. Teachers were told to watch for seizures. Still, photos show him looking cheerful.

Adam Lanza.

The elder Lanza suspects his son may have been schizophrenic. Adam showed signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to a doctor. 

Peter Lanza told Solomon that what his son did couldn't get "any more evil." 

"With hindsight," Lanza told Solomon, "I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he'd had the chance. I don't question that for a minute. 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."

Solomon asked Peter Lanza how he would feel if he could see his son again. Lanza responded:

“Quite honestly, I think that I wouldn’t recognize the person I saw,” he said. “All I could picture is there’d be nothing there, there’d be nothing. Almost, like, ‘Who are you, stranger?’ ” Peter declared that he wished Adam had never been born, that there could be no remembering who he was outside of who he became. “That didn’t come right away. That’s not a natural thing, when you’re thinking about your kid. But, God, there’s no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there. That’s fairly recent, too, but that’s totally where I am.”

Adam stopped communicating with his father about two years before the shooting.

Peter Lanza has spoken with two of the victims' families, hoping to share information that might help them, in the hopes that it might prevent a similar tragedy in the future.