Sandy Hook massacre: killer's mother was a 'big, big gun fan'

Nancy Lanza taught her son Adam how to shoot: he then shot her in the face before going on his rampage

LAST UPDATED AT 10:40 ON Sun 16 Dec 2012

THE MOTHER of Adam Lanza, the lone gunman who killed 27 people at a Connecticut school, was a "big, big gun fan" who taught her son to shoot, it transpires. And in the search for a motive, police have established that 20-year-old Lanza had visited the Sandy Hook elementary School on Thursday, the day before the massacre, and got involved in a row with four members of staff. It has also been confirmed that all the dead children were aged six or seven, and included a British-born boy. The 'gun nut' mother: Nancy Lanza, 52, (pictured above) whom her son shot in the face before embarking on his killing spree, loved guns and often went target shooting with her children, the Daily Telegraph reports. She owned five firearms, all of which were registered with the state of Connecticut, according to police records. One of her neighbours recalls Lanza showing him a "high-end rifle" she had just bought. "She was very proud of it," the neighbour said. "She loved her guns." That rifle is thought to be the semi-automatic Bushmaster he used as his primary weapon in Friday's shooting. The Thursday incident: Adam Lanza visited the school and was involved in an altercation with four members of the teaching staff the day before he went on his killing spree, reports the Daily Mail. It is still not clear what made him snap, though investigators are said to have found "some very good evidence" to explain what drove Lanza to kill 12 girls, eight boys and six adults before turning his gun on himself. The British victim: One the 20 children shot dead by Lanza was a six-year-old British boy called Dylan Hockley. It is believed the family moved to Connecticut from Hampshire in January, 2011 and lived in a house almost opposite the home shared by Lanza and his mother. Dylan's parents, Ian and Nicole Hockley, have a second son, eight-year-old Jake, who survived the massacre. Dylan's devastated grandmother, Theresa Moretti, said the family had moved to America for a better life for Dylan.  "They chose that town to live in specifically because the school was so good," she said. "My daughter told me, 'It's safe and lovely here Mum'."   The hero: One of the teachers killed by Lanza, 27-year-old Victoria Soto, has emerged as a hero who saved the lives of her first grade class after coming face-to-face with the gunman. Soto, who had worked at the school for five years, ushered her students into a closet and told Lanza they were in the gymnasium when he confronted her. Lanza shot Soto dead then turned the gun on himself, but the teacher's young students were spared.   The father's story: Peter Lanza, the father of Adam Lanza, has issued a statement saying: "Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are." The tax specialist had divorced Nancy Lanza after 28 years of marriage and remarried. Peter and Nancy shared custody of Adam.  Meanwhile, Adam's 24-year-old brother Ryan, a New York accountant who was mistakenly identified as the gunman immediately after the massacre, has revealed that he had not seen Adam since 2010.     The shooter: More neighbours and former classmates have come forward to support the opinion that Adam Lanza was an intelligent, shy 'nerdy type' who dressed smartly, but always struggled to fit, according to reports. There is no picture of him in his year book, just a caption that reads "camera shy". Former classmates recall him shrinking from teachers' questions and pressing himself against the wall as he made his way down the corridor at school. "Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were five years old," said Tim Dalton, a neighbour and former classmate, on Twitter. "As horrible as this was, I can't say I am surprised." Joshua Milas, who attended Newtown high school with Lanaza, said: "He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius." There are unconfirmed reports that Lanza may have suffered from Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.  · 

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