Criminal Justice

Report: Sandy Hook shooter never got needed treatment despite disabilities dating to early childhood

  • Print

Despite first being evaluated as a 3-year-old, the physically and emotionally challenged, violence-obsessed young man who killed his mother and 20 children and six educators at a Connecticut school never received the comprehensive services he needed, child development experts say.

Adam Lanza was isolated, anorexic and had extreme anxiety, obsessive traits, an autism spectrum disorder and an unusual preoccupation with violence when he shot dozens of people to death on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, says a Friday report (PDF) by Connecticut’s Office of the Child Advocate. Yet he had never been comprehensively evaluated and treated for all of his disabilities, the report says, and received no treatment of any kind for several years before the shooting even as his condition deteriorated.

Instead of dealing with Lanza’s disabilities and getting him the medication he needed, his parents and the school system, perhaps unaware of the extent of his problems, allowed him to withdraw from school. Thus, they accommodated his problems instead of forcing him to work on them, the report continues.

“In the course of AL’s entire life, minimal mental health evaluation and treatment (in relation to his apparent need) was obtained,” it states, noting that Lanza “was completely untreated in the years before the shooting and did not receive sustained, effective services during critical periods of his life.”

The report also says little or no consideration seems to have been given by Lanza’s mother, as the wraith-like man holed up in his room and refused to communicate with her, except by email, in the final months of both of their lives, that he might be suicidal and hence should not be given access to weapons.

Related coverage: “Sandy Hook school shooting report calls Lanza obsessed with mass murder, says he acted alone” “Father of gunman in Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre talks about his ‘evil’ son”

Associated Press: “Report on Newtown Shooter Adam Lanza Cites Unaddressed Signs of Trouble”

USA Today: “Sandy Hook killer carefully planned attack, study says”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.