In Brief

Father of Sandy Hook killer 'wished son was never born'

Adam Lanza went from buying toys for needy children to a mass murderer, says father Peter

adam-lanza.jpg

THE father of Adam Lanza, who killed 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, has spoken out for the first time, saying he wished his son had never been born.

"You can't get any more evil," he told the New Yorker. "How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he's my son? A lot."

Lanza, a finance executive who divorced Adam's mother Nancy in 2009, nevertheless described his son as "just a normal little weird kid" when he was younger. He loved going to Sandy Hook school, said Lanza, and one Christmas he even used his savings to buy toys for children in need.

It was when Adam was at middle school that it became "crystal clear" something was wrong, said his father. Adam was socially awkward, unable to sleep or concentrate and began walking awkwardly.

He was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at the age of 13, but his father said that had little to do with the eventual shootings. "Asperger's makes people unusual, but it doesn't make people like this," he said.

It was just over a year ago, on 14 December 2012, that Adam, then aged 20, shot his mother in the forehead at home before embarking on a murder spree at Sandy Hook and then shooting himself. The massacre shocked America and reignited the debate over gun controls.

Lanza, who had not seen his son for two years at the time of the killings, said he found the idea of Adam not being diagnosed as insane much more devastating than the thought of his being insane.

He added: "With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he'd had the chance."

Forensic records of Adam's online activity show that, in his late teens, he developed a preoccupation with mass murder, yet neither parent knew nor believed he could become violent. His mother Nancy had even taken him on trips to the shooting range.

After the shootings, Peter Lanza shied away from the press, but said he broke his silence because he wanted "people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them".

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