In Brief

Sandy Hook massacre: details emerge about 'loner' gunman

Adam Lanza wrote book about children being slaughtered years before carrying out murders

THE GUNMAN who killed 20 small children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December wrote a book about children being slaughtered when he was younger, according to an investigation into the massacre.

Adam Lanza, 20, was described as a "loner" obsessed with violence and ritualistic behaviour. He killed himself on 14 December 2012 after shooting his mother in the forehead at home and going on a murder spree at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut – a massacre that shocked America and reignited the debate over gun controls.

The report from prosecutors, who closed the case yesterday, provides "disturbing insights" into the gunman but no motive, reports the Washington Post.

A book written by Lanza at the age of ten or eleven was among items seized from his home. Called 'The Big Book of Granny', the spiral-bound manuscript included tales of children being slaughtered and a son shooting his mother in the head. The main character has a gun in her walking stick and shoots people, while another character likes hurting people, especially children.

Lanza was said to be obsessed with mass murders, such as the 1999 Columbine High shootings, and violent video games. He even kept a spreadsheet ranking mass murders.

The report said that he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome - an autism spectrum disorder that is not associated with violence – in 2005 and that he lacked empathy for others. Nobody was allowed into his bedroom, where his windows were covered with black bin bags.

Despite his "significant mental health issues", prosecutors believe Lanza knew what he was planning. He smashed his computer hard drive and used earplugs during the shooting, they said.

The guns he used in the attack had been purchased legally by his mother, who often took her son shooting and, according to the report, had written out a cheque to buy him a pistol for Christmas. Their house also contained knives, swords, spears and other sharp weapons.

Prosecutors found no evidence that Lanza had taken any medication that would have affected his behaviour and said he was "under no extreme emotional disturbance".

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