The Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre
And the “Truthers” Who Pour Salt in the Wounds
Recent Addenda (see below)
Afterword: The Hartford Consensus (The Final Word)
Addendum 1: For those who still think there was something terribly unusual about the response to the Sandy Hook School shooting, I’ve summarized the findings of the After Incident Report on the 2012 Aurora Theater shooting, and the After Action Report on the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, both of which suffered from some of the exact same problems.
Addendum 2: Lists the key findings of the CT Office of Child Advocate investigation, released in November 2014, into the personal, educational, mental health and medical history of Adam Lanza, the possible contributions to the tragedy, and recommendations for better community engagement.
Addendum 3: Details Adam Lanza’s gun purchasing history & on-line personas, which appear to have been his proxy method of acquiring and then sharing knowledge about the best guns to use for mass murders.
Nota Bene: I will gladly publish constructive comments or reasonable questions (which I will do my best to answer), but I will not publish moronic or vulgar comments from the “truther” community which contribute nothing but a venomous hatred for truth and an utter disregard for the pain of the victims’ families and of the survivors (who include all the first responders to this tragedy).
I’m amazed and saddened that, more than three years after this terrible tragedy, this article remains one of the most visited of the more than 100 I’ve published here, with search terms such as “sandy hook hoax” and “was sandy hook real”. But it also makes me feel that the enormous amount of time I put into researching, writing and updating this article may be worthwhile if it allows readers to understand the horrible truth about the event and the terrible untruths at the core of the “Truther” movement.
WARNING: Since I’m still getting the occasional moronic comment from “truther” acolytes, in spite of my polite notice above, I will henceforth publish their email addresses and encourage readers to send frank opinions about those who continue to propagate the hateful nonsense that there was no killing at Sandy Hook in 2012.
HALL OF SHAME 2016:
- “James” email@example.com (“Is this really all the ‘evidence’ you can gather up to prove that a MASS shooting occurred? That’s really sad and pathetic; please do not take offense to that statement. I’m sure you worked hard on it, you probably had to. It’s just that, there is so much better evidence from the other side, I mean that it was a hoax; like tens of hundreds times more evidence. “)
- “Craig” Spencer345@outlook.com (There were cctv cameras in Sandy Hook. Where is the footage? Where were the 600 people who were evacuated? Where was the medevac helicopters? Final police report no Adam Lanza DNA on the weapons. Its like JFK all over again.)
- The person who hides behind the handle of Zephyr or Zephyranthos (http://twitter.com/Zephyranthos) is one of the most persistent purveyors of malicious falsehoods about the Sandy Hook massacre: “Where are you, now that Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, the top Connecticut trauma surgeon who participated in the autopsies, made it clear that most victims could have survived?” [Dr. Lenworth Jacobs was allowed to review, but did not participate in, the Sandy Hook victim autopsies, and his report – the Hartford Consensus – “revealed injuries in 26 victims that were immediately lethal”, and he published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, November 2013: “Unfortunately, a rapid response for medical care would not have saved those victims.”] Zephyr also claims that the Newtown Police Department “executed the suspect and wasted precious time dealing with the aftermath of that, when they could have been using those precious moments to provide hemorrhage control.”
- “I’m an EMT myself and have been involved in LE for a long time,” claims the appropriately named Toxic Nut (firstname.lastname@example.org), “and there is no way that anything in this whole story follows SOP, or just plain common sense. Best of luck to you, to keep the truth hidden.”
- email@example.com used the common scam of attempting to post a lengthy comment, beginning with a complimentary sentence, followed by paragraphs of the typical misinformation and misdirection that is the stock-in-trade of the conspiracy nuts who prefer ungrounded fantasies to the self-evident and thoroughly-documented truth.
HALL OF SHAME 2017: [I was really hoping this malicious nonsense would stop, but alas…]
- Jack Low (firstname.lastname@example.org) was the first New Year conspiracy nutcase who, while trying his best to sound reasonable (see his comment below), has swallowed a number of thoroughly debunked false claims and then has the audacity to claim a skeptical “open mind”.
- Arabella (email@example.com) pretends to be a UK student of criminology, but then asks questions which any cursory study of this tragedy would have easily answered, with at least two of her questions based on demonstrable falsehoods or willful ignorance. This has become the modus operandi for Hoaxers: disguising their malicious propagation of lies by asking “innocent” questions.
On the morning of December 14, 2012, one of the most horrific and deadly school massacres occurred in the quiet suburban community of Sandy Hook Connecticut. It was the second deadliest mass shooting by a single person in American history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, and the second deadliest mass murder at a US elementary school, after the 1927 Bath School bombings in Michigan. What made this event unique, however, was that most of the victims were first graders who were killed by multiple (from 3 to 11) gunshots.
Newtown is located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, about 60 miles outside New York City. Violent crime had been rare in the town of 28,000 residents; there was only one homicide in the town in the ten years prior to the school shooting. This, however, is not unusual for school rampage shootings, as very often the first response is “we never expected this to happen here”.
The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, diagnosed with “profound Autism Spectrum Disorder” & symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder six years earlier, and a former student of Sandy Hook Elementary School, had shot his mother four times in the head as she lay asleep in her bed. He then drove his Honda Civic to the school, parked in a “no parking” zone and shot his way through the plate glass next to the newly-hardened glass doors which can be opened only by buzzers in the office, once visitors are screened via non-recording closed-circuit TV.
When the school principle, Dawn Hochsprung, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach left a meeting to investigate, they were shot dead, and lead teacher Natalie Hammond was wounded. Lanza then entered two first grade classrooms and killed 20 five- and six-year-old children (two of whom died en route to the hospital), and four more teachers.
Lanza entered a first-grade classroom where Lauren Rousseau, a substitute teacher, had herded her first grade students to the back of the room and was trying to hide them in a bathroom. Rousseau, behavioral therapist Rachel D’Avino, who had been employed for a week at the school to work with a special needs student, and fifteen students in Rousseau’s class were killed. Fourteen of the children were dead at the scene; one was transported but declared dead at the hospital. The family pastor of a six-year-old girl who survived said that she did so by playing dead. Most of the children’s bodies were in a pile in a tiny bathroom where they had gone to hide.
Lanza then entered another first-grade classroom where teacher Victoria Leigh Soto had concealed some of the students in a bathroom and some of the other students were hiding under desks. Soto was walking back to the classroom door to lock it when Lanza entered and killed her. As Lanza reloaded the gun, nine children ran past him and were able to leave the school (six of them and a school bus driver took refuge at the nearby home of 69-year-old retired psychologist Gene Rosen). Anne Marie Murphy, a teacher’s aide who worked with special-needs students in Soto’s classroom, shielded six-year-old Dylan Hockley with her body, trying to protect him from the bullets that killed them both.
Thirty-five EMTs responded to Sandy Hook Elementary School from the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the largest volunteer ambulance squad in the state, with more than 2,200 calls and more than 30,000 person-hours logged every year.
Thirty-nine officers and members of the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company responded, in addition to seven support personnel and one junior firefighter.
Within minutes of the first 911 emergency call, officers from the Newtown Police Department and Connecticut State Police arrived on scene, later followed by personnel from the FBI, ATF, and US Marshals Service. Connecticut Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman showed up within hours. Police scouted the perimeter, then entered and swept the school from two directions, and set up a triage area outside the school doors. Others set up an area at a nearby fire station where parents could be reunited with their children, and cordoned off a designated area for the news media.
Jeffrey Silver, a Newtown police officer since 1999, headed up operations at the Newtown Emergency Operations Center (EOC), three miles from the school, which transformed quickly from an emergency response center into an investigative operations center. Investigators from a number of agencies set up shop at the center, combing social media websites for clues. A judge was on hand to sign off on search warrants.
While this active-shooter mass-casualty event succumbed to the “fog of war”, generalized confusion and chaos that is typical of almost all such fast-moving and emotionally-charged events, the police, EMS and fire personnel responded quickly, acted appropriately, and in spite of courageous efforts, were simply too late to prevent the mayhem or save the victims, except for the two adults with gunshot wounds who survived. The primary problem created by the rush of first responders, terrified parents and the media, was the traffic congestion on Dickerson Drive, the only access road to the school. But, in spite of the difficulties that presented, it did not affect the outcome – which, as is too often the case, was already written by the fates and determined by the firepower that Adam Lanza brought with him to this well-planned act of what expert Jonathan Fast, PhD, calls “ceremonial violence“.
Dressed in black, the six-foot-tall 112-pound Adam Lanza carried 30½ pounds of weaponry, including the Bushmaster XM15-E2S with ten magazines and 301 rounds of ammunition, a SigSauer P226 9 mm handgun with six magazines and 116 rounds, and a Glock 20SF 10 mm handgun with six magazines and 90 rounds. In just six short minutes, Lanza expended 154 rifle rounds and had another 147 remaining when he took his own life one minute after the first police officer arrived outside the school.
Yet, almost immediately following the event, conspiracy theories began to spread in cyberspace almost as quickly, and with almost as harmful effect, as the .223 caliber (5.56mm) bullets flying from Adam Lanza’s Bushmaster AR15-type assault rifle (gun apologists will insist that an “assault rifle” is only the fully-automatic carbine used by the military, but it is an appropriate term for the civilian knock-off that has been marketed aggressively through commando imagery and military descriptions by the US gun industry, which was the first to use that term in the civilian market).
At best, these “truthers” are certain that there was something terribly wrong with the response to the shooting incident – something that required a massive cover-up, including the passage of new laws limiting public access to juvenile crime scene depictions. The most pernicious of these, however, insist that the event was staged by “crisis actors” and that no one really died, with the goal being the infliction of more gun-control laws by the Obama administration.
Americans have an unusual fascination with conspiracy theories, in part because our nation was founded on a Grand Conspiracy Theory, articulated in the Declaration of Independence and accepted by all the Founding Fathers, and because – at least since the JFK assassination, which the overwhelming majority of Americans never believed to be the result of a crazed lone gunman – there has been a great deal of research into the many very real government-inspired conspiracies and cover-ups, from the “surprise attack” on Pearl Harbor to the neocons’ “New Pearl Harbor” of 9/11.
However, while every war since the Spanish-American war was “sold” to the American people by false-flag “terrorist” or enemy attacks or other lies, and while JFK, MLK and RFK were all killed by their own government intelligence agencies and covert partners, some events that are so obviously just plain tragedies are assumed to be conspiracies by those with too much time and too little experience and common sense. The Sandy Hook massacre was one of those.
So, after extensive personal investigation and study of this event (as well as many other school rampage shootings), I offer a summary and overview of The Real Story.
As to my own credentials, I have been a volunteer firefighter, off and on, for 30 years, a volunteer EMT for 20 years, a Wilderness EMS Instructor and an ambulance training officer, a technical rope rescue instructor for 14 years (including mountain rescue, ice rescue, fast-water rescue, cave rescue, and industrial rescue), a Wilderness Search & Rescue Technician and instructor for 10 years, a municipal Emergency Management Coordinator during Y2K in a small town next to a nuclear power plant and below a hydroelectric dam, and a Critical Incident Stress counselor. I have training and experience in mass-casualty events and triage, and helped train doctors, nurses and paramedics as well as a FEMA urban search & rescue team.
My rope rescue training web site is aVERT: a Vertical Emergency Response Training.
In an active-shooter scenario, the first responsibility of police officers is to secure the scene, locate and neutralize the shooter(s), evacuate survivors if possible to do so safely while preserving the crime scene as best as possible, and then methodically search both indoor and outdoor spaces so that the site can be “cleared” of threats.
Since the 1999 Columbine High School rampage shooting event, in which police officers waited for a SWAT team before making entry to the building, it’s become standard practice for the first responding law officers to attempt to enter and neutralize an active threat, though some departments require a minimum 3-person “active shooter formation” which protects the flanks and rear and leaves no responder alone without assistance.
It is standard operating procedure for EMS units and personnel to stage outside the “hot zone” until the area is cleared for safety by law enforcement officers. When rapid patient assessment and extrication is necessary, only tactically-trained medics with ballistic vests are allowed to enter a hot zone before clearing.
Unlike with ordinary untimely deaths that require a physician or medical examiner to declare death, in a mass-casualty event, whether natural disaster or man-made, the START (Simple Triage And Rapid Treatment) system is implemented which allows trained EMS personnel to quickly ascertain whether victims are dead (no pulse or respiration after opening the airway), “walking wounded” (green tag), have injuries that can accommodate delayed treatment (yellow tag), or in need of immediate life-saving intervention such as airway or bleeding control (red tag).
Police Personnel Involved with the Event:
Newtown 911 Dispatcher Bob Nute
Newtown Dispatcher Jennifer Barocsi
Responding Newtown Police Officers (IC = incident command)
- Lt. Christopher Vanghele 4 (initial IC until CSP arrived)
- NPD Officer Jason Flynn D6
- NPD Officer Leonard Penna D5 (school resource officer at Newtown Middle School)
- Detective Jason Frank D2
- Officer William Chapman 98 (from the NPD station)
- Officer Michael McGowan 67 (from the NPD station)
- Sgt. Aaron Bahamonde S4
- Officer Scott Smith 92
- Detective Dan McAnaspie
- Detective Joe Joudy
- Officer Tom Bean
- Sgt. David Kullgren S6
- Capt. Joseph Rios
- Officer Liam Seabrook 95
- Chief Michael Kehoe 1
Connecticut State Police
CSP Dispatcher Brennan
CSP Dispatcher LaPrade
CSP Dispatcher Nadeau
CSP Centralized Dispatch 911 Sgt. Roach
Responding CSP Troopers (TFC = trooper first class)
- TFC Carlo Guerra 420
- TFC Ken Cournoyer 1315
- TFC Patrick Dragon 705
- TFC McGeever 837
- TFC Kick 811
- TPR Katrenya 555
- TFC Cipriano 1383
- TFC Benecch: 1413
- TFC Blumenthal 690
- TFC Gregg 701
- TFC Poach 668
- Sgt. Deltorto 101
- Sgt. William Cario 149
- Sgt. Roden 174
- Lt. Michael Hofbauer 040
- Lt. (MSgt.) Michael Davis 098
Among the law enforcement first responders, there were two EMTs (CSP Sgt William Cario and TFC Patrick Dragon), and one Registered Nurse (CSP Sgt. William Blumenthal). Six and a half minutes after his arrival at the school, and after the shooter’s body and those of his victims were found, Sgt. Cario switched to a medic role, put on gloves and performed the first patient assessments. Approximately 11 minutes later, Sgt. Cario escorted three tactical and highly-trained paramedics into the school to perform four additional rounds of patient assessment and triage, including the use of heart monitors.
Paramedic and Director of Danbury Hospital EMS Matthew Cassavechia, tactical Paramedic and Danbury EMS supervisor John Reed, and Paramedic and Assistant Fire Chief Bernie Meehan were the three triage officers. The legal presumptions of death were made by this team, using the SMART Triage System protocols. Cassavechia operated as the senior medical person on scene and maintained phone contact with Danbury Hospital Medical Control Physician Dr. Pat Broderick, under whose medical authority the paramedics operated.
The final determination of cause and manner of death was made the next day by the Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner, who set up a temporary morgue in an army field tent at the school. As deceased victims were removed from the school building, the Chief Medical Examiner sought to make positive identification of the victims through photos, school records and personal and clothing descriptions, so that waiting parents could be properly notified.
On Saturday, December 15, 2012, all of the victims were transported to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in Farmington for autopsies, which were performed that same day. The cause of death for all of the victims was determined to have been gunshot wounds from the .223 caliber AR-type rifle; the manner of death was determined to have been homicide.
Evidence collected during the autopsies was turned over to CT Division of Major Crimes (CDMC) and forwarded to the Division of Scientific Services for examination. Carefully documented chain of custody records were kept of all crime scene evidence removed from the school.
Radio Call Log (times in 24-hour format – hour : minute : second)
Black 911 Operators
Blue Newton PD Radios
Red CT State Police
Violet Newtown Fire Department
SHES Sandy Hook Elementary School
9:30:00 Front door is locked. Entry requires being buzzed in by the main office personnel.
9:30:00 Parent arrives for the gingerbread house event and has to be buzzed in.
9:34:00 The first gunshots are heard by gingerbread house parent (approx. 15 shots).
9:35:00 A parent arrives at school and notices nine children (from room #10) running down the sidewalk.
9:35:39 First 911 call to Newtown PD is received from school nurse’s office after shooter leaves office.
9:35:43 First 911 call to the CSP Centralized Dispatch comes in.
9:35:56 Newtown Police in station depart for scene.
9:36:06 Newtown Police Department dispatcher broadcasts that there is a shooting at SHES.
9:36:17 School Janitor Rick Thorne connects to 911 NPD.
9:36:38 Dispatch: “The front glass has been broken in front of the school. They’re unsure why.”
9:36:49 911 call from school reports that SHES is in lockdown.
9:37:27 “All units, the individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire.”
9:37:38 Connecticut State Police are dispatched to SHES for active shooter.
9:37:39 Sgt. Kullgren, Officer Chapman and Officer McGowan enroute to SHES in three-car convoy.
9:37:40 Sgt. Kullgren orders officers to drive up Crestwood – other cars are staging in driveway.
9:38:00 Teacher Deborah Pisani calls 911 CSP to report shooting and that she’s shot in the foot.
9:38:43 Parent in conference room #9 calls 911 CSP to report she’s with 5 other adults, one of them shot twice.
9:38:44 Same parent reports that shooter might be outside the door and that 100 shots were fired.
9:39:13 Sgt Kullgren and Officer Chapman arrive at SHES and park on the driveway near the ball field. All arriving NPD officers report hearing gunfire.
9:39:26 Sound of six gunshots on open line to Rick Thorne.
9:39:34 Officer McGowan encounters unknown male running along the east side of SHES with something in his hand, starting rumors of more than one shooter.
9:40:03 Last gunshot is heard on 911 CSP call (believed to be the final suicide shot in classroom 10).
9:40:03 Ambulances requested to stage at Methodist Church. “I will need two ambulances at this time.”
9:40:05 Officer Penna arrives, parks his cruiser on Dickinson Drive and runs to front of SHES.
9:40:15 Sgt Bahamonde arrives in the driveway of SHES.
9:40:46 Officer McGowan has man (father of 1st grader) in custody on east side near playground.
9:40:51 CSP Sgt Cario, McGeever, Kick, Katrenya, Cipriano, Benecchi, Blumenthal, Gregg, Poach & Zullo responding.
9:41:07 Information is relayed that location of last known gunshots is in the front of the building.
9:41:54 CSP dispatch requests all available units to SHES.
9:42:27 Officer Seabrook enters Dickinson Drive.
9:42:39 Officer Penna calls out the license plate of the shooter’s car as he runs past.
9:42:47 Lt Vanghele and Officer Seabrook arrive at SHES
9:42:47 Sgt Kullgren handcuffs parent Christopher Manfredonia in playground.
9:43:16 CSP Sgt Roden, Cournoyer, Dragon, Sgt Deltorto en route.
9:43:33 Officers Chapman and Smith complete a check of the perimeter (west and south side).
9:43:33 Chapman reports “That party in custody 4901 (code for unfounded)”
9:43:50 “We have one female in Room 1 with a gunshot wound to the foot; ambulance remain up a staging.”
9:44:09 A2 dispatched
9:44:13 A3 dispatched
9:44:47 Rick Thorne in the west hallway is still on the phone with Newtown 911 – hears entering officers.
9:44:47 Lt. Vanghele, Sgt. Bahamonde, and Officer Penna enter through boiler room.
9:44:50 Sgt Kullgren, Officers Seabrook and McGowan enter a south east door and move to west hallway.
9:45:00 Bodies of two victims found in front hallway – officer radios for assistance.
9:45:10 Lt Vanghele, Sgt Bahamonde, and Officer Penna, verbally engage with Rick Thorne in hall.
9:45:17 Officers Chapman and Smith complete perimeter search and stand by front door.
9:45:20 Lt. Vanghele tells a female student to get back into classroom 8.
9:45:51 Sgt. Bahamonde: “OK, I need units in the front of the school. I’ve got bodies here. Let’s uh get ambulances.”
9:46:06 “Roger, safe to send EMS in?”
9:46:14 “We’ve got an injured person in room number 9 with numerous gunshot wounds.”
9:46:23 CSP Lt. Hofbauer, Lt Davis and Sgt Cario arrive at SHES.
9:46:44 “Alright to send in EMS?”
9:46:48 CSP Sgt. Cario and Lt. Davis enter through broken window.
9:46:49 “Stage them at the driveway, between the firehouse and the school, please.”
9:46:52 CSP Lt. Hofbauer enters through window.
9:46:57 Dispatch: “A2, A3 and the medic, stage at the rear parking lot, Sandy Hook fire house”
9:47:00 CSP set up perimeter around school and soon begin evacuating children.
9:47:02 “S4, the building is not secure, so we can’t have anybody, uh, ambulances coming in.”
9:49:00 A2 is at staging area
9:49:16 Sgt Bahamonde, CSP Kick & CSP Sgt. Cario run to playscape area on report of possible suspect.
9:49:22 A3 is at staging area
9:49:58 CSP Sgt. Cario, Officer Smith, Officer Chapman, and CSP Lt Davis enter conference room #9.
9:50:28 CSP Det Dragon arrives on scene, runs to the front entrance with medical kit.
9:50:29 Newtown Police Detectives McAnaspie and Joudy arrive on scene.
9:51:31 CSP Lt. Davis, CSP Sgt. Cario, Officers Chapman and Smith enter room #10: “We’ve got one suspect down.” – Officer Smith finds two students hiding in the bathroom of room #10.
9:51:31 Officer Penna enters room #8 and finds one student, tells her to stay while he clears the hallway.
9:52:42 CSP Katrenya: “Newtown‘s reporting one suspect down, the building has not been cleared.”
9:53:00 CSP Sergeant Cario begins EMS treatment & triage.
9:55:07 Paramedics 5D2 & 5D5 on scene
9:55:28 Officer Penna: “be advised we have multiple weapons including one rifle and shotgun.”
9:56:16 Officer Chapman carries injured student from room #10 across parking lot toward FH.
9:57:08 CSP Lt. Davis requests EMS to stage at the scene – injured being evacuated. Officer Penna hands off uninjured girl from room #8 to CSP McGeever in the front lobby.
9:57:40 CSP McGeever runs with girl across the parking lot toward the Sandy Hook firehouse.
9:57:43 “A2 is proceeding to the scene on the request of police department.”
9:58:35 Officer Smith carries two students to the parking lot, puts them down and runs with them to firehouse.
9:59:48 CSP Kick drives gunshot victim from room #9 in his cruiser to the fire station.
10:00:45 Teachers and student run across parking lot with CSP Keane to the firehouse.
10:02:10 Lt Vanghele and CSP Sgt. Cario drive “John Doe” to Fire House – ambulance staging.
10:02:13 “Newtown, this is A3: we just had a patient brought to us by a police car.”
10:03:29 Children evacuated to firehouse.
10:03:40 I got a paramedic coming…(Cario leads three tactical paramedics into SHES)
10:05:47 More children evacuated to firehouse.
10:05:50 Officers Smith and Seabrook check the roof of SHES.
10:06:08 Children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:06:46 Adults from conference room #9 escorted to firehouse.
10:07:01 “Paramedics over to the fenceline to the left of the school as you come in, for an injured party coming out.”
10:07:13 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:08:19 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:08:27 “A2 is transporting one patient [“Jane Doe from room #10] to Danbury Hospital.”
10:08:35 Teacher Nancy Hammond is in “Front of vehicle, not secured.”
10:08:37 CSP Keane requests that the entrance to the parking lot of the school be closed off by the SHFD.
10:08:52 Sandy Hook Fire Department arrives and stages in the northeast portion of the SHES parking lot.
10:09:11 [Newtown] Sergeant Kullgren will be commanding officer.
10:09:15 401 [Chief Bill Halstead] will have command for fire.
10:09:29 More children evacuated to firehouse.
10:10:05 CSP O’Donnell: “we have uh multiple in the double digits of death here…so it’s not good…we have…we’re still clearing rooms…we have one suspect… one suspect down…deceased…but we think there is a second shooter we’re not sure… there’s multiple casings and magazine clips and weapons all around the building here.”
10:10:29 “We have a command post set up at the rescue truck.”
10:10:31 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:10:36 Roof is cleared.
10:11:00 I got multiple ambulance personnel coming in, can we create that staging area within the School parking area?
10:12:00 Negative Newtown, any ambulances coming in will have to stage at Sandy Hook firehouse and we’ll call em up.
10:14:44 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:15:20 CSP O’Donneell calls to report clearing of rooms #23 and #24.
10:15:48 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:16:40 “Attention EMS units going by the garage: please pick up the MCI kit.”
10:16:51 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:17:02 “405 to 410, what’s the status of your patient?”
10:17:07 “Gunshot wound to the left foot, need transport, but she’s conscious and alert.”
10:17:26 CSP O’Donnell calls to report searching back of building.
10:17:26 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:18:05 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:19:35 Members of Statewide Narcotics Task Force Northwest Office arrive on scene.
10:21:08 CSP Lt. Davis “…just be advised we may have two shooters”
10:21:08 “A2 is off at Danbury.”
10:21:51 401: “I want you to set up a triage area there at the firehouse.”
10:22:44 CSP Deskman Loomis: “All cars responding to the scene… it’s still active”
10:23:21 “We need to get MCI kits to school parking lot – we’re setting up triage.”
10:24:05 “I want you to set up the quad, to transport and stage it at Sandy Hook school parking lot.”
10:24:58 Newtown Lt Vanghele escorting Kaitlin Roig’s class (room #12) from the northeast corner of SHES.
10:26:19 “A2 returning from hospital – do you need us on scene?”
10:26:22 CSP Sgt Covello: “All Western District Major Crime personnel to go to the scene”
10:26:55 New Haven FBI en route to the scene.
10:29:05 Fire Department establishes a perimeter of cones to keep bystanders back.
10:29:17 CSP Sgt O’Donnell calls CSP to inform that first search complete and second search beginning.
10:29:43 “I can’t get the quad up here – the road’s blocked too much.”
10:30:13 CSP Emergency Services Unit (ESU) arrives at the SHES.
10:31:33 CSP Sgt O’Donnell calls dispatch to inform that he’s removed 18 students and teachers from library closet. Dispatcher advises O’Donnell that there’s still students and a teacher in the kitchen closet.
10:32:59 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:33:03 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:33:24 More children evacuated from NE corner of school.
10:34:23 “Be advised, you have incoming 3 AMR, 2 Champion, 1 Southbury and 2 medics.”
10:35:13 405 to EMS Command: “I want your medics; bring automatic defibs to the Sandy Hook school.”
10:36:00 Newtown and all responders on scene, the scene is not active”
10:36:05 “This is 702 – I have EMS command.”
10:37:46 “All incoming ambulances go with traffic – hold all others.”
10:38:21 “Right now we have six rigs…seven rigs at the firehouse.”
10:50:00 Newtown Police Chief Kehoe announces command post at firehouse.
10:50:17 Officer McGowan forms a team to respond to Lanza residence.
10:52:03 A3, at this time you can go back to the station and standby.
10:52:15 Sgt. Kullgren requests a floor plan of SHES for a complete search.
10:58:19 Sgt. Kullgren requests Monroe K9 team and Officer Figol’s K9 to report for additional searches.
11:01:58 Officer McGowan and team are at Yogananda Street evacuating neighboring homes.
11:03:32 Officer Greco reports he has a description of the shooter from children at PD.
11:09:28 “I have ambulance on the road on Riverside – do you have a patient for them?”
11:09:36 “Affirmative, they need to bring a gurney into the triage area.”
11:15:25 “We’re sending someone down there with the quad, we’ll get ’em/him through.”
11:16:47 Officer McGowan announces perimeter is set up at Lanza home and surrounding homes evacuated.
11:17:18 “Loading right now – gonna be transporting momentarily.” – Derby 4K9 to Bridgeport Hospital
11:25:27 Chief Kehoe has School Superintendant act as liason to parents at CP.
11:30:23 CSP SWAT, K9s and others are doing fourth full sweep of school.
11:31:42 State Attorney arrives at PD.
11:40:00 Western District Major Crime (WDMC) van stages at firehouse
11:40:04 “The superintendent of schools on scene at firehouse, she’s set up in an office in the building.”
11:40:39 Second Command Post is set up at Fairfield Hills EOC.
11:43:48 Emergency Service Unit (ESU) is en route to Yogananda Street.
11:45:36 Public Information Officer (PIO) is set up at Treadwell Park to the east of SHES.
11:46:14 Officer Penna: “There are no video cameras that record. The only camera they have is to let people in with the call button, which does not record.”
11:46:14 WDMC van stages at school and team does walk-through (14:12 – 14:26)
20:35:00 bodies of victims removed
Victim Removal & Command Log
(abridged event log showing extrication during active clearing of scene)
[with my explanatory commentary in brackets]
9:38:00 Deborah Pisani calls 911 (CSP dispatch) to report shooting and that she’s shot in the foot, with 2 adults.
9:40:03 Amblances requested to stage at Methodist Church. “I will need two ambulances at this time.”
9:43:50 “We have one female (Pisani) in Room #1 with a gunshot wound to the foot; ambulance remain up a staging.”
9:44:09 A2 dispatched
9:44:13 A3 dispatched
9:46:13 A2 is staging.
9:46:14 “We’ve got an injured person (Hammond) in room #9 with numerous gunshot wounds.”
9:46:57 Dispatch: “A2, A3 and the medic, stage at the rear parking lot, Sandy Hook fire house”
9:49:00 A2 is at staging
9:49:22 A3 is at staging
[EMS personnel are kept out of “hot zone” as per standard protocol.]
9:51:31 Officer Penna enters room #8 and finds a child, tells the student to stay in the room while he goes to room #10 to make sure the hallway is secure.
[Civilians kept behind doors until shooter is neutralized]
9:51:31 The Active shooter formation of CSP Lt Davis, CSP Sgt Cario, Officer Chapman, and Officer Smith enters room #10. Officer Smith: “We’ve got one suspect down.”
[Unkown whether there is more than one shooter.]
9:53:00 CSP Sergeant Cario begins EMS treatment & triage – rooms #9, #8, #10.
9:56:16 Officer Chapman carries injured student (“Jane Doe”) from room #10 across parking lot.
9:57:08 CSP Lt. Davis requests EMS to stage at the scene – injured being evacuated.
9:57:40 Officer Penna hands off (uninjured from room #8) girl to CSP McGeever in the front lobby, who runs with girl across the parking lot toward the Sandy Hook firehouse.
9:57:43 “A2 is proceeding to the scene on the request of police department.”
9:58:35 Officer Smith carries two students (from room #10) to the parking lot, puts them down and runs with them to firehouse.
9:59:48 CSP Kick drives (Hammond) from room #9 in his cruiser to the fire station staging & triage area.
10:02:10 Lt Vanghele and CSP Sgt. Cario drive student “John Doe” to Fire House – ambulance staging.
10:02:13 “Newtown, this is A3: we just had a patient (Hammond) brought to us by a police car.”
[Police perform all evacuations, of both injured and uninjured, while they are still clearing the scene.]
10:03:40 “I got a paramedic coming…” (Cario leads three medics into SHES for patient assessment)
10:07:01 “Paramedics over to the fenceline to the left of the school as you come in, for an injured party (Pisani) coming out.”
10:08:27 “A2 is transporting one patient (“Jane Doe”) to Danbury Hospital.”
10:08:35 [Hammond is in] “Front of vehicle, not secured.”
[Injured survivors are brought to ambulances and transported to hospitals.]
10:08:37 CSP Keane requests that the entrance to the parking lot of the school be closed off by the FD – “we don’t need any more people in here we’re just trying to set up a safe perimeter and remove all the students”.
[Congestion on school drive was less problematic than civilian vehicles getting through.]
10:08:52 Sandy Hook Fire Department arrives and stages in the northeast parking lot for EMS triage.
10:09:11 [Newtown] Sergeant Kullgren will be commanding officer.
10:09:15 “401 [Fire Chief] will have command for fire.”
[Formal Integrated Incident Command gets established.]
10:10:05 CSP O’Donnell (by telephone): “we have uh multiple in the double digits of death here… we’re still clearing rooms… we have one suspect down…deceased… but we think there is a second shooter
[Question of additional shooters persists.]
10:10:29 “We have a command post set up at the rescue truck.”
10:11:00 “I got multiple ambulance personnel coming in, can we create that staging area within the School parking area?”
10:12:00 “Negative Newtown, any ambulances coming in will have to stage at Sandy Hook firehouse and we’ll call em up.”
[Scene is still “hot” and EMS personnel and apparatus are still kept at secondary triage area.]
10:16:40 “Attention EMS units going by the garage: please pick up the MCI kit.”
[Mass Casualty Incident tarps and tags are brought in with the expectation of additional live victims who never appear.]
10:21:08 “A2 is off at Danbury (with “Jane Doe”).”
10:35:13 405 to EMS Command: “I want your medics; bring automatic [Defibs] to the Sandy Hook school.”
[Heart monitors are used to establish death after initial triage assessments.]
10:36:00 Newtown and all responders on scene, the scene is not active”
[It took an hour from first gunshots to finally clear the scene of threats.]
10:36:05 “This is 702 – I have EMS command.”
10:38:21 “Right now we have six rigs…seven rigs at the firehouse.”
10:50:00 Newtown Police Chief Kehoe announces command post at firehouse.
[Additional Incident Command elements are established after all threats eliminated.]
11:17:18 “Loading right now – gonna be transporting (Pasani) momentarily.” – Derby 4K9 to Bridgeport Hospital
[Final patient (green tag) is transported to hospital.]
11:30:23 CSP SWAT, K9s and others are doing fourth full sweep of school.
[Even after “all clear” is announced, law enforcement continues to make sure nothing has been missed.]
11:36:00 Dr. Robert Solstice, attending ER physician at Danbury Hospital confirmed that the two children were DOA.
[Even rapid extrication and treatment was insufficient to overcome grave injuries.]
11:40:39 Second Command Post is set up at Fairfield Hills EOC.
[Investigation phase commences.]
20:35:00 bodies of victims removed
[All victims cleared from scene on first day for identification and autopsy.]
A2: Paramedic Robert Valletri, Marty Folan, John Burke, Catherine Dahlmeyer (omitted from log) – transported “Jane Doe” to Danbury Hospital
A3: Paramedic Daniel Bradley, Kenneth Lerman, and Laurie Veillette – transported Natalie Hammond and “John Doe” to Danbury Hospital
Derby 4K9: Brian Mezzapelle & Jennifer Oliwa – transported Deborah Pisani to Bridgeport Hospital
AMR A325: Mark Hughson & Jose Diaz – dispatched to Lanza house on Yogananda Street for DOA, no transport
Concern about Secondary Shooters
From the time the unknown male was encountered by the Newtown police outside of SHES until after the staff and children were evacuated, all responding law enforcement operated under the belief that there may have been more than one shooter and acted accordingly.
For example, K-9 units were brought in to search the area and officers were posted to act as lookouts to ensure the safety of those evacuating the school building. Some civilians were located in the areas surrounding the school as the searches and evacuations were taking place. Some of those individuals were treated initially as suspects and handled accordingly, including being handcuffed, until their identities and reason for being there could be determined.
Some of these detentions included:
1. the initial unknown male who turned out to be parent Christopher Manfredonia with a cell phone in his hand
2. two reporters located in the woods around SHES, who were held at gun point by Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) officers until their identities could be determined
3. a man from New York who was working in a nearby town and went to SHES after an application on his cell phone alerted him to the situation at the school. He drove to the firehouse and went up to the school on foot. He was taken from the scene of the school in handcuffs and later to Newtown Police Department, where it was determined that he did not have a connection to the shooting and had gone to SHES to see what was going on.
The concern that there may have been more than one shooter was based upon a number of factors:
1. the initial police encounter with the unknown male outside SHES
2. reports by school personnel on a 911 call of seeing someone running outside the school while the shooting was ongoing
3. the discovery of two black zip-up sweat jackets on the ground outside of the shooter’s car
4. the discovery of an Izhmash Saiga-12, 12 gauge combat shotgun and ammunition in the passenger compartment of the shooter’s car, which an officer moved to the car’s trunk for safety purposes
5. shell casings that were located outside of the school
6. the apparent sound of gunfire coming from outside of the school (which must have been an echo)
Stopping the active shooter was the first priority. Once that occurred, the location and treatment of the victims, the search for additional shooters, and the safe evacuation of the school were of primary importance. The collection of evidence and the preservation and documentation of the crime scene, while important, were secondary to safety and the assessment, treatment and evacuation of the injured.
It was one minute and 39 seconds from the first gunshots to the first 911 call from the school nurse who came out from hiding once Lanza left her office.
It was 27 seconds from the first 911 call to Newtown dispatching its police department, and only 19 seconds from dispatch to the first NPD officer responding. It was a minute and 32 seconds from the Newtown dispatch to the State Police dispatching of its forces for an active shooter event at the school.
It took 2 minutes and 54 seconds from the time of dispatch for the first Newtown police officer to arrive and stage on the road just behind the school. 13 seconds later, two more Newtown officers stage on the school entry road next to the ball field. Arriving police officers report hearing gunfire.
Thirty-four seconds after Officer McGowan arrived, he encounters and arrests a man running along the east side of the school with something in his hand. It turns out to be a worried parent with a cell phone, who is handcuffed and then released.
One minute and 3 seconds after the arrival of the first police officer, the last shot is heard, later thought to be Adam Lanza’s suicide shot to his head.
Within four and a half minutes of arrival, Officers Chapman and Smith complete a perimeter check of the school.
When the first report of a gunshot injury is called in, two Newtown ambulances are dispatched within seconds.
Less than six minutes from arrival, two 3-man active-shooter formation teams enter the school from different sides. At six minutes, the first two bodies are found in the front hallway. At seven minutes and 13 seconds after first arrival, the first Newtown ambulance arrives and stages in a safe zone.
Seven minutes and 23 seconds after first Newtown police arrival, the first three state troopers arrive, and 15 seconds later two of them enter through the broken front window, with the third right behind them.
Eight minutes after first police arrival, the troopers set up a perimeter and begin evacuating children from the school. At five minutes 11 seconds after first entry, a four-officer team enters conference room #9 and finds Natalie Hammond bleeding on the floor from gunshot wounds to her hand and leg.
At six minutes 44 seconds from first entry, the same team enters classroom #10 and finds “one suspect down”, but no one is sure there aren’t more shooters.
At eight minutes 13 seconds, CSP Sergeant Cario switches to an EMS role and begins applying quick “combat dressings” to the wounds of Natalie Hammond, and then does triage on the other victims.
At eleven minutes 29 seconds from first entry, Officer Chapman carries an injured girl from classroom #10 toward the fire house ambulance staging area. All medical personnel are staged in the safe zone since the school is not yet cleared of possible threats.
At fifteen minutes from first entry, Trooper Kick drives the injured Natalie Hammond to the EMS staging area in his cruiser. At 17 minutes 23 seconds, Sgt. Cario and Lt. Vanghele drive the gravely injured student “John Doe” to the EMS area and place him in an ambulance.
Almost a half hour after the first gunshots are heard, 28 minutes after the first 911 call, 27½ minutes after the police were dispatched and 19 minutes after first entry was made, three tactical paramedics are escorted into the front of the school by CSP Sgt. Cario to do an official triage and assessment of each gunshot victim, all of whom have already been triaged and determined to be dead by Sgt. Cario, who has 32 years of EMS experience.
Thirty-three minutes after the first 911 call, CSP Trooper Keane requests the Newtown Fire Department close off the school entry road as parents are starting to flood in and get in the way of a still-active threat event. Children and teachers are continuing to be evacuated, one classroom at a time, to the fire house.
Thirty-three and a half minutes after the first 911 call, an integrated command system begins to be established, with Newtown Sergeant Kullgren assuming police command, Fire Chief Bill Halstead assuming fire command, and EMS command and triage area set up in the school parking lot at about 48 minutes, under the mistaken belief that there will be more patients.
At 45 minutes from 911, it was still believed that there might be a second shooter, and it was a full hour after the first 911 call that the scene was declared “cleared” by the police teams, after the perimeter, the roof and every room had been inspected at least once. At the two hour mark, SWAT and K-9 teams were doing a forth sweep of the entire school to make sure nothing was missed.
By that point the school superintendent, the state attorney, the Western District Major Crime (WDMC) Unit and an Emergency Services Unit (ESU) were setting up at the school or command post, the FBI was en route, and a secondary command post was established at the Newtown Emergency Operation Center to coordinate the investigation. Eleven hours after the first gun shots rang out, the victims’ and shooter’s bodies were removed from the crime scene and brought to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).
Once a command post was set up in the Sandy Hook Firehouse, Major Meraviglia (CO of CSP Western District) took command of the crime scene, Major McLean (CO of CSP Central District) oversaw all other operations including securing the Lanza residence, Major Hyatt (CO of the CT Bureau of Criminal Investigation) assumed command of victim/family services.
Crime scene processing for such a complex event required a full week.
Day 1 15:46 – 01:00 Crime scene processing and removal of victims, ballistic evidence, and shooter’s body
Day 2 10:00 – 22:00 Evidence collection & documentation, trajectory documentation, personal effects documentation, drying of victims’ clothing in tent. After identification and processing, all victims’ bodies were transported to the OCME in Farmington CT, shooter’s body was transported to OCME after all firearm & ballistic evidence was processed
Day 3 12:00 – 00:45 Systematic search of rooms #8 & #10, blood spatter documentation
Day 4 10:00 – 00:20 Trajectory & blood spatter documentation, processing of victims’ clothing
Day 5 10:00 – 19:45 Complete processing of victims’ clothing, identifying & organizing personal effects from classrooms
Day 6 10:00 – 21:00 Documenting EVAC plans, locate and document intercom system
Day 7 10:00 – 21:30 Final documentation, complete organizing personal effects, video & photographs, transport evidence to WDMC evidence room
A little before noon, after the shooter had been neutralized, the crime scene cleared of possible additional threats, the injured transported to hospitals, the rest of the victims determined to be dead, the remaining students and staff evacuated, and a fourth and final sweep of the school completed, a more formal Incident Command System was implemented to respond to grieving parents, the inquisitive media, the need to protect the crime scenes (both the school and the Lanza house), and to initiate the forensic and criminal investigations.
This is exactly how the Incident Command System – developed in the 1970s by the US Forest Service to better coordinate large-scale, dynamic, multi-agency emergency events and efficiently and effectively allocate resources while keeping the communication and command scope manageable – was intended to function.
Initial responders rely on their usual chain of command and protocols, often coordinated by well-trained dispatchers, until the event expands and complexifies to the point of requiring a more formal hierarchy of command, control and communication.
Once formal command centers are established, with the highest-ranking officials from each department working together to coordinate the ongoing response (which may last many hours or days), functions are assigned according to need, including command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance and administration, as well as investigation and intelligence.
As is evident in the aerial map above, by noon a central incident command post was set up remotely from the crime scene at the Newtown Emergency Operation Center (EOC), which had communication and planning facilities. A Public Information Office (PIO) was set up in the nearby Treadwell Park to keep the media informed while also keeping them away from the active scene. The Newtown Firehouse continued to be used to reunite parents with their children and for civilian grief counseling, while a temporary morgue and other investigative units were located in the school parking lot.
While no response is perfect, and every such event is followed by both intra-agency and inter-agency debriefings and incident reviews to determine lessons learned and areas for improvement, the Sandy Hook school rampage shooting response was unexceptional. The primary deficiency was the failure to immediately control traffic on Dickenson Drive, the only access and egress route to the school, but that was ordered by the state police 22 minutes after their arrival on scene and implemented by the Sandy Hook Fire Department.
To get a sense of the tension and horror of the crime scene during its first moments, I’ve excerpted a good part of CSP Sergeant Cario’s interview report (all responders, all witnesses and all survivors were interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation).
From Connecticut State Police Sergeant William F. Cario’s report (5/6/2013):
I remember entering a conference room to the right, Room #9… There was a woman motionless to the left of the door…and I knew she was alive (I believe she was crying quietly)… saw blood around her. Her breathing appeared good, her head and torso appeared uninjured, and I observed bleeding at her left leg. I told (her) I would be back…
The next room that I remember entering was Room #10… I recall feeling that this was a high risk entry… I did not know the status of the shooter until I ran past his body… The shooter appeared to be of small stature and I did not know if he was a victim, but I then recognized a handgun near his head and another handgun secured on his person. My immediate impression was that he had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head… I do not recall the specifics of his injury, but I recall that his injury was not consistent with life and I did not check him for vitals or remove the weapons from him.
The first victim I came to in Room #10 was an adult female… I observed another adult female near a child a distance away. There were also a number of child victims in the room. I remember moving quickly among the bodies, checking for signs of life and I triaged their injuries. Some had injuries which were obviously not consistent with life; others took a little more time. It was my assessment that all victims in Room #10 were dead or gravely injured.
…my next memory is entering Room #8… I observed the bodies of two adult females lying on the floor… there was an open door in the southwest corner of the room. I initially thought this was a closet. As I approached the door, I was initially unable to comprehend what I was looking at. As I stared in disbelief, I recognized the face of a little boy on top of a pile… I then began to realize that there were other children around the little boy and that this was actually a pile of dead children… I recall that many had horrific injuries.
…I decided that my services were best utilized if I worked in an EMS capacity as others worked to clear the building. (I have been active in EMS rescue associations and have held the certification of EMT or EMT Intermediate for more than 32 years). As I ran down the hall, I made a general statement that the injured should be brought to the front of the school for transport. I ran out the front of the school to TFC Kick and asked for his first aid kit as he had the only vehicle near the school. During this time I believe I first learned that there were two jackets outside the suspect’s vehicle and there were suspicions of a second shooter… I grabbed the kit and told TFC Kick to leave the keys in his car as well as to call for two additional cars to come up to the school to evacuate the injured, as we could not yet call ambulances in. TFC Kick called for additional patrol vehicles to the scene and I ran back into the school with his first aid kit (CSP radio time: 09:53).
My assessment was that I needed to treat the injured woman in Room #9 first. That woman had serious injuries but had a good prognosis if I could control her bleeding. The others all appeared to be dead or gravely injured on my initial assessment. I entered Room #9, donned gloves, and proceeded to treat the injured woman as Msgt. Davis covered me from the door. Msgt. Davis asked the victim for a description of the shooter and the victim, although very emotional, reported that the shooter was wearing black and had a mask. That was not what we had observed in Room #10. Msgt. Davis then directed a local officer to cover me while he left with the information about a possible second shooter.
At one point I borrowed a knife from the local officer and cut the pants from the left leg of the female victim. I quickly bandaged her left leg and left hand, apologizing for the combat medicine and telling her this was just to get her to the ambulance. Not knowing how many patients I would treat, I tried to conserve medical equipment.
As I was bandaging the woman’s hand, CSP Detective Patrick Dragon entered and identified himself as an EMT..
Det. Dragon and I placed the woman in [a wheeled office] chair, one of the females in the room asked “Should we follow you out?” I said it was not safe, we needed to evacuate the victim, and that they would be safe where they were… I wheeled the woman out the front door and stopped near TFC Kick’s car. TFC Kick and I assisted the female victim into TFC Kick’s right front passenger seat and I directed Kick to drive her out to the ambulances.
…I remember standing at the triage point at the front of the school and being frustrated. Det. Dragon or I had carried a little boy out of the building and I was attending to him near the curb outside the front doors.
This victim came from Room #8. He was the only victim to be removed from Room #8. The cruiser that I had TFC Kick call for never arrived because all of the cruisers in sight belonged to personnel engaged in the search of the school. The troopers arriving were coming in on foot because the flood of parents was causing a log jam at the entrance to the driveway. I then observed Newtown Police Lieutenant Chris Vangheli outside a black SUV near the front of the school. I told him I needed to get a victim to an ambulance and needed a ride. He agreed and looked in the passenger compartment to make arrangements. Seeing that the cargo area was empty, I told him to open the rear hatch. I picked up the boy and climbed into the back of the SUV, telling Lt. Vangheli to leave the hatch open. Lt. Vangheli sped to the end of the driveway, having to drive up over curbs and swerve around the rush of parents. I kept speaking to the injured boy although he was completely unresponsive. I knew his condition was grave, but he was still breathing and had a pulse.
Looking down the driveway, I observed only two ambulances on scene. While I have no specific recollection of Newtown Officer Chapman carrying out a young female victim, I remember knowing that we had three victims in serious or critical condition and only two ambulances… I observed a paramedic arriving in a fly car… [and] explained that I was an EMT and we might have as many as 20 injured and that it was not safe for him to enter the school yet. I told him that the ER needed to be made aware… He directed me to put the boy into a nearby ambulance… When the door opened, I was relieved to see that the female [adult] patient was already in the ambulance and was alert. There was a male and female attendant in the back of the ambulance. The male said “we already have a patient”. I climbed in, told him that the female would make it to Danbury Hospital with bleeding control, and that I had a child [redacted] and that the paramedic was aware. I put the boy down on the right side bench seat of the ambulance and left.
My next recollection was that when I returned to the school I went back to Room #8… had to check for possible survivors… I asked if anyone had access to a phone with a camera, as I was about to disturb the crime scene… My images of checking the children in the bathroom are not clear. I recall that the sight of the pile of children was unimaginable, and that some of the children had horrific injuries [redacted]. I know that I began to systematically check for signs of life and remove the children. I remember calling into the pile in the hope that a survivor would answer, and that I was watching and hoping to see movement. I pulled the children out of the pile one by one. As I did, I placed their bodies on the floor in the aisle of the classroom. I started nearest the bathroom and placed the children in a row leading toward the entry door. I had no specific memory of how many children I removed.
[redacted] remember being disappointed as I worked my way down to the bathroom floor without finding any survivors. I stopped when I had three children left on the bathroom floor. I could access them and confirmed that they were dead. I had no room outside the bathroom for any more bodies, and I could not justify disturbing the crime scene further to remove the remaining three children. I tried to count the number of dead between rooms #10 and #8, but my mind would not count beyond the lower teens and I kept getting confused.
The northern corridor of the school was still being cleared as I finished removing children from the bathroom in Room #8. I believe I re-checked the victims in Room #10, and I next went to Room #12. I remember saying that we needed to search the rooms again to check every area where a child could hide. I then heard a noise from the southwest corner of the room and recognized that a wheeled bookcase was likely concealing a bathroom. I froze when I heard the noise and Lt. Vangheli looked at me. I moved toward the bookcase announcing “State Police”. I pulled the bookcase aside and exposed the bathroom door. I could hear children talking and continued calling to them. An adult female voice asked for a badge. I couldn’t get to my badge, but Lt. Vangheli pulled his off and it was passed under the door. One of the children said “It is the police” after the badge went under the door. The female voice then said something about us needing a key to get into the room. I tried to talk her into opening the door as one of the members of the CSP ESU ran out to find a key. I believe the ESU trooper was TFC Faughnan. After telling us to get a key, the bathroom became very quiet and I became suspicious that something was wrong. TFC Faughnan arrived with a key which he handed to me. I was so anxious that I bent the key in the lock. I was able to push the door in only a few inches before there was resistance. I realized that the children were packed so tightly into the bathroom that I could not open the door. Most of the children in the bathroom appeared to be frightened and were crying. I had to squeeze the children out of the bathroom one by one and passed them off to waiting police officers and troopers. The last one out of the bathroom was the teacher, Kaitlin Roig. She was very emotional and I had to persuade her to come out. The troopers then worked together to get the children out of the building as a group.
As we ran across the parking lot with the children, I began to realize that my uniform was soiled with blood and tissue from Room #8. I didn’t want the children or parents to recognize this and I broke from the group. As I walked back toward the school, I passed a triage station. I asked the EMS personnel for a towel to wipe off my uniform. Several just stared at my uniform, but one stepped up with a towel to help me clean myself. As I was disposing of the towel, Paramedic Matt Cassavechia approached me. I have known Cassavechia for many years and recognized him as the head of EMS for Danbury Hospital. Cassavechia asked me how long it would be until he could get into the building. I told him the building was not yet secured, that all the injured were out, and that numerous dead persons remained in the school. Cassavechia said “You know I’ve got to get into the building.”
I realized that, at some point, those victims presumed dead would have to be officially pronounced dead. We also needed to impact the fewest number of EMS personnel and that we needed to preserve the integrity of the scene. Looking around, I recognized two other senior paramedics that I believed had the experience and training to handle this situation tactically. I told Cassavechia I would bring himself, Paramedic Bernie Meehan, and Paramedic John Reed into the front of the school, which was secured at that point. They were told to bring minimal equipment. As we walked to the school, I tried to prepare them for what they were about to see. I told them of the number of victims and the nature of the wounds. I told Cassavechia, “This will be the worst day of your llife.” We entered at the northeast corner of the building and I announced their presence. I walked them west down the corridor and brought them to Room #8. They were told the locations of the victims and several troopers were assigned to remain with them for cover as well as to protect the integrity of the scene.
I then became part of a team following ESU [Emergency Service Unit] personnel as they cleared the building… made a complete loop [and] returned to the lobby area… I asked that all personnel involved in the initial response into the school be relieved and kept together in a group to watch and care for one another as we had been affected by what we had seen and done… Eventually, the initial responders were brought back to Troop A to meet with STOPS [State Troopers Offering Peer Support] personnel for a debriefing.
Several of the veteran law enforcement officers, as well as the highly-experienced tactical paramedics expressed their disbelief, disorientation and sheer horror in regard to the nature and extent of injuries on the tiny victims of this all-too-real tragedy. This horror prompted parents, authorities and CT legislators to keep the photographic and descriptive evidence confidential, lest it become grist for the internet mill.
That many Americans insist that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, and that every first responder, all school staff, the families of the victims and the surviving children, and all investigative authorities as well as most of the media are complicit in a conspiracy and cover-up, simply defies common sense, reason and the universal ethical standards of any society.
There are more than enough legitimate reasons to challenge the actions, responses and behaviors of police forces and law enforcement officers in the United States. But the Sandy Hook active-shooter mass-casualty event was precisely what should give us reason to praise those first responders – whether police, fire or EMS – who rush towards an active threat while civilians are running away. The responders are also victims of a horrific event like this one, and some never recover from what they saw, heard and smelled. To claim that the response was so bungled as to require a comprehensive cover-up, or to deny that this event even occurred is to willfully pour salt into the emotional and psychological wounds of every person who was effected by the experience of 12/14/2012.
As followers of this blog know, I have been tireless in exposing some of the most blatant official conspiracies and cover-ups, particularly of the Kennedy assassinations and the 9/11 events – two false-flag actions that changed the world for the worse. But those of us who choose to become “vox clamantis in deserto ” (as Ed Abbey famously described himself) – the voice crying in the wilderness – have a moral and civic obligation to separate the wheat from the chaff, to discern which events are True Conspiracies and which are simply tragedies from which we must learn life’s terrible lessons.
As the final word on whether any difference in the response would have altered the outcome, Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, who was asked to review the Sandy Hook victim autopsies, called together a group of experts to analyze the response and come up with a set of recommendations to increase the likelihood of survival in future active shooter mass casualty incidents. The committee met in Hartford in April 2013 and drafted the Hartford Consensus.
The report stated:
“An analysis of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, CT, in December 2012, by two of this article’s authors – Dr. Carver, Connecticut’s Chief Medical Examiner, and Dr. Jacobs, the Chair of the State of Connecticut Committee on Trauma, who was deputized to participate in the review – revealed injuries in 26 victims that were immediately lethal. However, two women at the event sustained injury to an extremity and survived. Survival from an extremity injury is not unusual. Injuries to the extremities or torso may be survivable if treated in time (minutes are critical at this stage), but may lead to hemorrhagic death if treatment is delayed.”
“Unfortunately, mass-casualty shooting may create scenes that remain unsafe for extended periods of time, increasing the likelihood that victims who are not immediately killed will die from a lack of medical care.”
In an article in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, November 2013, Dr. Jacobs wrote:
“The incident at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT was a different scenario. The shooter used a semiautomatic weapon with high velocity ammunition; more than 150 rounds were fired in less than 5 minutes. Twenty-six individuals were shot and died almost immediately. Unfortunately, a rapid response for medical care would not have saved those victims.”
Aurora Theater Shooting Follow-Up Report
A 188-page document was released on 10/8/2014, offering 80 recommendations for improvement in the City of Aurora’s response to the July 20, 2012 Century 16 theater shooting (many of which have already been adopted), but it also concludes that the outcome “could not have been better in terms of lives saved and rapid arrest”.
The report, prepared for the City of Aurora by the TriData Division of System Planning Corporation of Arlington VA, was finished in April, but was not released until October because of “a court-imposed gag order on information connected with the case, which has not yet come to trial”.
Overall, the report praised the responders and the response because:
- All victims with survivable serious wounds were rapidly triaged, transported to nearby hospitals, and recovered (in part, due to the fact that one of the first responding police officers was a SWAT paramedic who was able to do the in-theater triage).
- The first police unit arrived in less than two minutes from the first 911 call, and multiple units arrived within three minutes.
- The first Fire Department unit arrived in five minutes and 30 seconds and immediately engaged in patient care near the main entrance of the theater.
- Multiple improvised explosive devices at Holmes’ Paris Street apartment were disarmed by an interagency bomb task force, with no harm done to the building occupants or first responders.
- All five area hospitals receiving victims provided outstanding emergency care without having much forewarning to prepare for the influx of 60 victims, most with gunshot wounds and many in critical condition.
- The Public Safety Communications Department handled 6,000 calls instead of the 1,500 on a typical day, and was instrumental in alerting nearby jurisdictions to render mutual aid.
- Police quickly set up a family reunification center at Gateway High School, with excellent cooperation from Aurora public school officials.
- Victims and their families were treated with respect and given exceptional care by the Aurora Police Victim Services Unit.
- The Coroner’s Office and Aurora Police helped speed confirmation of the deceased victims’ identities by having a police forensic analyst use an innovative practice – taking just two fingerprints from each deceased victim while still in the theater, and matching them against driver’s license records.
- The general public was kept informed through a series of press conferences and press releases.
The primary critical findings were these:
1) Failure of police and fire officials to establish a single, unified command area within the first hour after the shooting. This resulted in officers on scene radioing independently for medical assistance without coordination. “This resulted in duplicate requests, unnecessary radio traffic and an inability to control and prioritize use of EMS resources.” Field commanders and dispatch at times called for “all available units”, either police or ambulances, rather than asking for a staged response to prevent congestion and maintain availability of secondary resources.
2) Ambulance access was not identified or maintained, and ambulances could not get through the “maze” of vehicles and curbs to get close to the theater. Police officers generally could not move police vehicles not assigned to them because the cars are not keyed alike. Of the patients taken to the hospital, 27 went in police cars and 20 went in ambulances, with 3 patients loaded in each of two ambulances. Most of the critically wounded were transported by police without waiting for commander approval, which was against protocol (but almost certainly saved lives). During and after the incident there was controversy over whether fire and EMS personnel should have entered the theater, and should have gotten closer to the victims outside the theater, but they were getting mixed and contradictory messages from police. There was also confusion about whether on-line medical control from hospital physicians was necessary to determine not to attempt resuscitation of “black tag” patients inside the theater (it is not required in a mass casualty triage event).
3) Communication problems: “In spite of a fully interoperable radio system” the police department “was unable or did not know how to communicate with the fire department”. In the initial, critical minutes of response, triage and transport, no procedures were in place to ensure face-to-face contact or direct communications between police and fire incident commanders. Some critical messages were either not successfully relayed to recipients or not understood. The communication problems were exacerbated by the large volume of radio traffic. Mutual aid agencies could not be patched in to Aurora scene police radios, and the problem was compounded by lack of a designated staging area and staging officer.
4) EMS was staged a quarter mile away and there was “no clear message” that the scene was safe for EMS and fire personnel to enter the theater. At the shooting scene, first responders were unaware a suspect had been arrested and that the scene was no longer “hot”. Though some PD units were calling for EMTs, other PD units were preventing their access.
5) While the first police unit arrived on the scene within two minutes of the first 911 call, the shooting was over by that time and no police units carried tactical medical kits. Because the incident occurred during a police shift change, 14 police units were on scene within five minutes, and 55 units were on scene within 15 minutes, cluttering the scene and exacerbating command-and-control as well as communication problems.
Boston Marathon Bombing Follow-Up Report
- The multitude of police vehicles parked in the roadway delayed the pursuit of the second suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and he was able to make it approximately one-half mile down the road before abandoning the vehicle on Spruce Street, fleeing on foot and eluding capture.
- At 12:51 AM, wounded Transit Police Officer Donohue was loaded into a Watertown Fire ambulance for transport, but egress from the area was challenging given the numerous police vehicles parked in the vicinity and blocking street access. To allow for the two paramedics to remain in the rear of the ambulance with the patient, a Watertown PD officer drove the ambulance to Mount Auburn Hospital, the nearest medical facility, approximately two miles away from the shooting scene but without a trauma center. Officer Donohue had to be resuscitated upon arrival at the hospital, but the medical team at Mount Auburn was able to save his life.
- It took nearly 40 minutes after the bombings for an ad hoc Unified Command Center (UCC) to be established at the nearby Westin Hotel. However, UCC leadership soon learned that the hotel lacked the capabilities and equipment to support the activities of an emergency operations center, such as large quantities of phones, phone jacks, electrical outlets, computer equipment, and other resources necessary to support emergency operations.
- The medical system activated to support the Marathon…was able to quickly adapt and transition from a system designed to support runner casualties to one that was able to respond to a mass casualty incident involving large numbers of critical patients… But it still required nearly 40 minutes for all critical (red tag) patients to be identified and readied for transport.
- Although it was known at the scene that the IEDs did not contain contaminants, this information was not transmitted to the hospitals. This slowed down the intake process, as hospitals had to make ad hoc determinations about whether or not to decontaminate incoming patients.
- In contrast to the press conferences, which were well managed and provided periodic coordinated messages, there was no coordination or validation of messages delivered by numerous agencies and organizations through social media. This led to some misleading or incorrect information being widely distributed through social media outlets.
These significant problems, several of which were similar to problems with the Sandy Hook response, were in spite of annual comprehensive, multijurisdictional, multi-disciplinary planning, enhancement of the medical system with an enlarged medical tent at the finish line, and an 80-person command center that included state and local law enforcement, fire services and EMS, the MA Emergency Management Agency, the MA Department of Public Health, the MA National Guard, the American Red Cross, the FBI, and the US Department of Homeland Security – at MEMA Headquarters in Framingham to coordinate public safety, public health and EMS activities across jurisdictions, and provide situational awareness during the marathon.
Report of the CT Office of Child Advocate
The Office of Child Advocate investigates all child deaths in the Connecticut for lessons on prevention. In the case of the Newtown shooting, its report focused on Adam Lanza and how his “personal, educational, mental health and medical trajectory can inform public health systems.”
The report from the 16th month investigation was released to the public on 11/21/2014. While it assigns sole responsibility for the massacre to Adam Lanza, and avoids apportioning blame anywhere else, it reveals is a tragic history of a mother who devoted her life to an increasingly troubled boy, who began exhibiting signs of developmental and mental problems from age 2, but did so by protecting Adam from the world rather than helping him adapt to it.
Nancy Lanza, at least since 2005, when Adam was 13 and she pulled him out of school because of acute anxiety attacks and apparently manipulated, or shopped around for, a psychiatrist who would do her bidding and keep Adam at home where he was more “comfortable”, repeatedly questioned or refused professional advice and gave in to Adam’s problematic desires and phobias.
She declined a more comprehensive psychiatric examination at the hospital, declined a recommended referral to a special therapeutic school for adolescents, quickly discontinued prescribed anti-depressant medication when Adam rejected it, and acted against advice to keep Adam in a social setting to prevent a downward spiral into isolation and alienation.
As the 3rd Addendum makes clear, Nancy Lanza also enabled Adam’s terminal violence by purchasing for him every gun he asked for, from his 18th birthday onward – guns that, it turned out, Adam had been researching as most appropriate for a mass murder.
Key Findings and Recommendations
- AL presented with significant developmental challenges from earliest childhood, including communication and sensory difficulties, socialization delays, and repetitive behaviors. He was seen by the New Hampshire “Birth to Three” intervention program when he was almost three years old and referred for special education preschool services.
- The Newtown Public Schools also provided some special education services to AL when he was in elementary school, but services were limited and providers did not identify any communication or social-emotional deficits
- AL’s social-emotional challenges increased after fourth grade.
- There were early indications of AL’s preoccupation with violence, depicted by extremely graphic writings that appeared to have been largely unaddressed by schools and possibly by parents.
- AL’s anxiety began to further impact his ability to attend school and in 8th grade he was placed on “homebound” status through his education plan – a placement for children that are too disabled, even with supports and accommodations, to attend school.
- AL had several sessions with a community psychiatrist between age 13 and 15, though there are no medical records regarding this physician’s treatment. Through brief correspondence with the school the psychiatrist supported Mrs. Lanza’s desire to withdraw AL from the school setting in 8th grade.
- The district provided little surveillance of AL’s homebound status, which lasted an entire school year.
- Recommendations from the Yale Child Study Center, where AL was evaluated at age 14 (AL’s 9th grade year), offered prescient observations that withdrawal from school and a strategy of accommodating AL, rather than addressing his underlying needs, would lead to a deteriorating life of dysfunction and isolation.
- Medical and education records reflect repeated reference to AL’s diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
- Records indicate that Mr.Lanza made efforts after the Yale Child Study evaluation to seek treatment, appropriate care coordination, and education planning for AL.
- Yale’s recommendations for extensive special education supports, ongoing expert consultation, and rigorous therapeutic supports embedded into AL’s daily life went largely unheeded.
- AL’s resistance to medication recommended for treatment of his Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders appeared to be reinforced by his mother. According to records, AL disagreed with his Asperger’s diagnosis and may not have understood the benefit of individual therapy.
- Once AL was diagnosed, AL’s education plan did not appropriately classify his disabilities and did not adhere to applicable guidelines regarding education for students with either Autism Spectrum Disorders or Emotional Disturbance.
- Though AL showed initial progress in 10th grade with the school’s plan to incrementally return him to the school environment, his progress was short-lived. By the spring of that year, AL had again withdrawn from most of his classes and had reverted to working on his own or with tutors.
- AL’s parents (and the school) appeared to conceptualize him as intellectually gifted, and much of AL’s high school experience catered to his curricular needs. In actuality, psychological testing performed by the school district in high school indicated AL’s cognitive abilities were average.
- AL completed high school through a combination of independent study, tutoring, and classes at a local college.
- Records indicate that the school system cared about AL’s success but also unwittingly enabled Mrs. Lanza’s preference to accommodate and appease AL through the educational plan’s lack of attention to social-emotional support, failure to provide related services, and agreement to AL’s plan of independent study and early graduation at age 17.
- AL and his parents did not appear to seek or participate in any mental health treatment after 2008. No sustained input from any mental health provider is documented in AL’s educational record or medical record after 2006.
- Though AL was profoundly impaired by anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, his parents may not have understood the depth or implications of his disabilities, including his need for ongoing support.
- AL’s pediatric records from age 13 to 17 note his obsessive compulsive behaviors, markedly underweight presentation, psychiatric diagnoses, and repeated homebound or independent study, but records don’t clearly address AL’s need for mental health treatment, and often note during high school years that no medication or psychiatric treatment was being provided.
- AL’s adult medical records do not reflect awareness or diagnosis of ongoing mental health issues.
- AL progressively deteriorated in the last years of his life, eventually living in virtual social isolation.
- AL stopped communicating with his father in 2010 and did not respond to numerous emails Mr. Lanza sent between 2010 and 2012 seeking to spend time with him.
- AL became increasingly preoccupied with mass murder, encouraged by a cyber-community – a micro society of mass murder enthusiasts with whom he was in email communication.
- Examination of AL’s communications during this time, while suggesting depression and, at times, suicidal ideation, does not suggest the presence of psychosis (loss of contact with reality).
- AL, who over the years engaged in recreational shooting activities with both of his parents, retained access to numerous firearms and high capacity ammunition magazines even as his mental health deteriorated in late adolescence.
- In the waning months of AL’s life, when his mother noted that he would not leave the house and seemed despondent, it is not clear that any measures were taken to curtail his access to guns or whether the family considered AL’s potential for suicide.
- AL was anorexic at the time of death, measuring 6 feet tall and weighing only 112 pounds. Authors cannot determine what concerns were raised by his mother regarding his eating ability or habits, or his continued emaciation during this time.
- In the wake of Mrs. Lanza’s stated plan to move out of Sandy Hook in 2012, and perhaps stimulated by fears of leaving the “comfort zone” of his home, AL planned and executed the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
- In the course of AL’s entire life, minimal mental health evaluation and treatment (in relation to his apparent need) was obtained. Of the couple of providers that saw AL, only one – the Yale Child Study Center – seemed to appreciate the gravity of AL’s presentation, his need for extensive mental health and special education supports, and the critical need for medication to ease his obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
- This report suggests the role that weaknesses and lapses in the educational and healthcare systems’ response and untreated mental illness played in AL’s deterioration. No direct line of causation can be drawn from these to the horrific mass murder at Sandy Hook.
- The dynamics presented in this report reflect common concerns over siloed systems of education, physical health, and mental health care for children.
- Findings in the report strongly implicate the need to assist parents with understanding and addressing the needs of children with complex developmental and mental health disorders.
- Relevant to this report is that a multi-state review conducted by the federal government confirmed that many states struggle with a dramatic lack of effective services for transition-age youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
- While this report focuses on educational, physical and mental health issues, the authors recognize the significant role that assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips play in mass murder. That AL had ready access to them cannot be ignored as a critical factor in this tragedy. Assault weapons are the single most common denominator in mass shootings in the United States and as such, their ready availability must be considered a critical public health issue.
- The likelihood of an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder or severe problems with anxiety and obsessive compulsive tendencies committing an act of pre-meditated violence, much less one of AL’s magnitude, is rare. Individuals with those mental health or developmental disorders are more likely to internalize (that is, to feel distressed emotionally or to be confused, socially inappropriate or inept, and sometimes to harm themselves inadvertently or intentionally) than to externalize (that is, to act out aggressively so as to harm others). In AL’s case, his severe and deteriorating internalized mental health problems were combined with an atypical preoccupation with violence. Combined with access to deadly weapons, this proved a recipe for mass murder. Autism Spectrum Disorder or other psychiatric problems neither caused nor led to his murderous acts.
- While authors describe the predisposing factors and compounding stresses in AL’s life, authors do not conclude that they add up to an inevitable arc leading to mass murder. There is no way to adequately explain why AL was obsessed with mass shootings and how or why he came to act on this obsession. In the end, only he, and he alone, bears responsibility for this monstrous act.
- Systems must facilitate and financially support universal screening for behavioral health and developmental impairments for children ages birth to 21. This is especially necessary within a pediatric primary care setting, with a financial reimbursement strategy to incentivize compliance with screening requirements.
- A child today displaying the types of multidisciplinary developmental challenges AL presented should be referred for thorough evaluation and assessment, including medical, psychological, occupational, speech and language, social-emotional, and neurological testing – evaluation by outside experts should be available to inform clinical and educational decision-making.
Care Coordination and Information Sharing
- Children and their families should have access to quality care coordination, often reserved only for children with complex medical needs, but beneficial for children with developmental challenges and mental health concerns. Care coordination should facilitate more effective information-sharing among medical, community, and educational providers.
Training and Workforce Development
- Teachers, administrators, related service personnel, pediatricians, and parents need access to training and information concerning mental health issues as they arise during the developmental years and in the context of changing environmental expectations.
Support and Engagement with Families
- Providers must have the staffing and financial supports to deliver family-focused support. Services for children and families must be sustained, rather than episodic and periodic. The duration of services must be tied to measurable outcomes rather than predetermined service schedules.
- Effective and sustained family engagement work must be part of mental health treatment for children.
- The role of denial of illness is a relevant theme in this report. While the roots of denial are complex, our healthcare system must address the role that stigma plays in the minimization of psychopathology.
- Parents may be overwhelmed with their own difficulties and the burdens of daily care and support for a youth with significant disabilities. States must increase access to therapeutic services, psycho-education, and peer support for families who have children with specialized needs.
- Systems must be ready to respond supportively and appropriately (up to and including a referral to child protective services) when a parent, even with education and resources, appears unwilling or unable to meet the needs of their child.
- A recurring theme in this report is the struggle of a parent whose child has a severe disability to figure out how to alleviate his pain and protect him from stress and harm. When the parent has difficulties reaching out to helping providers or feels mistrust in the medical and educational systems, her efforts can become unwittingly destructive of the child’s development and well-being. Our health care and educational systems must become better at reaching these parents and helping the children.
- The goal of interconnection among separate systems within the mental health arena can only be successfully achieved through the integration of schools and their active participation concerning the mental health and wellness of their students.
- Schools should have support and greater flexibility to retain or import therapeutic and other related services (such as occupational therapy and behaviorist services) into the school setting, and funding and reimbursement mechanisms must be strengthened.
- Schools must ensure that they are evaluating children in all areas of suspected disability, including conducting social-emotional evaluations. This is particularly critical for a student with known or suspected ASD, even when academic concerns are neither raised nor immediately evident.
- By asking special education teams to specify a child’s eligibility under a specific (or single) label – meaning what is the “right” disability – there is a tendency for interventions to focus on only one aspect of a child’s learning and development. This focus on “primary disability” may mitigate against a truly comprehensive support system for the child. It is essential that a more holistic approach to identification for special education eligibility that encourages attention to multiple aspects of disability – as was true in AL’s case – be undertaken.
- The state/s should consider an audit of existing homebound practices and procedures, and a needs assessment of the population of students who are currently or who have been placed on homebound within a certain timeframe.
- Much more attention needs to be paid to post-secondary readiness for disabled youth and young adults, with a focus not only on academic skills but the ability to live as independently as possible, with or without community supports.
Increase Expertise and Services to Support Children with Developmental and Mental Health Challenges
- A major issue faced by families is the paucity of services and supports for children and youth, particularly older youth and adults, who have Autism Spectrum Disorders with or without co-occurring mental health challenges. State and local educational and mental health and developmental services agencies must work together to identify current capacity and service delivery needs, training opportunities, and must create capacity-building services at all levels.
- Dramatic workforce development needs, increased technical support, and expertise will be required to help mental health, pediatric, and educational providers meaningfully meet the needs of children with complex developmental or mental health disorders, and their families.
- Schools may not be equipped to provide, or even to import, comprehensive behavioral health or developmental supports to children, and will need significant support to ensure adequate expertise and related services for children with highly specialized needs.
Buried in the Office of Child Advocate report is a 12/11/2012 e-mail about mass murderers sent by Adam to a redacted recipient 3 days before the Sandy Hook shooting, which read in part:
“I just can’t get into vehicular slaughterers. It seem [sic] too mediated, like using remote explosives (too hot). And knives stray too far from the whole “mass” aspect (too cold). The aesthetic of pistols tends to be just right.”
Lanza Gun Purchasing History & On-Line Personas
[Thanks to Reed Coleman of sandyhooklighthouse.wordpress.com]
This chronology seems clearly to implicate Nancy Lanza in providing her very troubled child with firearms for his birthdays and Christmas, likely in response to his requests for the weapons he had carefully researched on-line in gun and mass-shooter forums, and which he used in cyberspace.
March 16, 2010: Nancy Lanza orders an MD Arms 20-round drum magazine for an Ishmash Saiga-12 12-gauge shotgun, via the site Gunbroker.com (see the official Sandy Hook report, Book 7, document 00159951).
March 29, 2010: Nancy Lanza completes the purchase of a Bushmaster XM-15 .223 from Krystopher DiBella at Riverview Gun Sales in East Windsor. This is the rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting more than 2 years later (see official report document 00151485, book 4).
April 10, 2010: Nancy Lanza completes the purchase of an Izmash 12-guage semi-automatic shotgun. Adam Lanza brings this weapon to Sandy Hook 2 years later, but leaves it on the passenger seat of his car. Duct-taped double 10-round magazines are left in his desk drawer, and the 20-round drum is left in his closet (see official report document 00151485, book 4).
April 22, 2010: Adam’s 18th birthday – were these guns his birthday present from his mother? Brother Ryan Lanza told police that the AR15 belonged to Adam (it was registered, however, in the name of Nancy Lanza, as were all the guns in their home).
February 18, 2011: Nancy and Adam Lanza shoot guns at Shooters Indoor Pistol Range in New Milford, CT (see the official Sandy Hook report, Book 7, document 00222826).
March 16, 2011: Nancy Lanza purchases a Sig Sauer P226 9mm pistol. Adam Lanza armed himself with this gun at Sandy Hook less than two years later, but never fired it (see official report document 00151485, book 4).
March 24, 2011: Nancy Lanza sells a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle to an unnamed party, apparently a gun store or pawn shop (see the official Sandy Hook report, book 7, document 00160023).
April 22, 2011: Adam’s 19th birthday – was the Sig Sauer also a birthday present from Nancy to Adam?
December 21, 2011: Paperwork is printed, later found in the Lanza home, entitled “Connecticut Gun Exchange, Glock 20SF 10mm FS 15 round FC”. Presumably, this is the order confirmation for the Glock she finishes purchasing weeks later.
December 25, 2011: Christmas – was the Glock a Christmas present from Nancy to Adam?
January 5, 2012: Nancy Lanza completes the purchase of a Glock 20SF pistol. This is the weapon Adam Lanza would commit suicide with less than a year later (see official report document 00151485, book 4).
Christmas, 2012: Some time before she was killed and Adam went on his rampage, Nancy writes Adam a check, with the memo section reading “CZ 83 firearm”, and the date as “Christmas”.
The On-Line Student of Mass Murder Graduates
As “Kaynbred”, Adam Lanza registered at three gun-enthusiast websites – Glocktalk.com, NortheastShooters.com, TheHighRoad.org – and on Wikipedia (where he registered to edit pages on mass murders, with particular focus on their weapons), as well as at the online game Combat Arms (in which he chose a Glock 23 and tried to unlock the virtual Saiga shotgun).
Just before his 18th birthday, right around the time of the AR-15 purchase, in late February/early March 2010, Kaynbred vanishes from the internet (perhaps because he has completed his research, chosen his arsenal, and submitted his requests to Nancy). The Bushmaster arrived in the Lanza home right in time for Adam’s 18th birthday, as he reached legal adulthood.
At that point, Adam created a new online persona as “Smiggles” and submitted the sum of his research, in the form of the much-noted spreadsheet, to the Super Columbine Massacre RPG forum in March of 2010. Apparently, Adam Lanza no longer considered himself the student of guns and mass murders (as “Kaynbred”), but the master of mass murder (as “Smiggles”) intent on fulfilling his sublimated mission of becoming a military commando.
by Robert Riversong: may be reproduced only with attribution for non-commercial purposes and a link to this page