Newtown massacre motives: likely factors behind school-shooting emerge

Adam Lanza.(Photo from user Adam Lanza)
Adam Lanza.(Photo from user Adam Lanza)
Adam Lanza.(Photo from user Adam Lanza)

While Adam Lanza’s intent for slaughtering more than two dozen people last week in Newtown, Connecticut remains unknown, new information has led some experts to suggest possible motives for the massacre.

According to some sources close with the Lanza family, the shooter’s actions may have been triggered by his mother’s insistence on having him committed to a psychiatric facility. The 20-year-old gunman killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, inside their Newtown, CT home before opening fire inside of a nearby elementary school. Twenty-six people, mostly children, were killed by Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary before he took his own life.

Speaking with Fox News, a local man who reportedly grew up close to the school says the shooter’s mother was public with her plans to have her son institutionalized.

“From what I’ve been told, Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” Joshua Flashman, 25, tells “Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry. I think this could have been it, what set him off.”

Additionally, Fox quotes a senior law enforcement official involved in the investigation as saying the shooter was enraged over his mother’s plans for “his future mental health treatment.”

An article published over the weekend by the New York Daily News reportedly cited Adam Lanza’s uncle as saying the shooter was prescribed an antipsychotic called Fanapt, a drug with documented links to causing impulse-control disorder and major depression in some users, as well as other side-effects. By Tuesday, though, the Daily News’ quote had been scrubbed from the site and no verifiable source has been able to confirm that preliminary report.

Whatever caused the bloody massacre, though, one former FBI investigator, Lanza’s actions were very-well planned. According to Mary Ellen O’Toole, an ex-FBI profiler, Adam Lanza’s behavior before and during the Sandy Hook massacre suggests his actions weren’t spontaneous ones.

“He didn’t just snap. This takes a lot of planning,” O’Toole tells The Lookout. O’Toole worked for 15 years as a behavioral analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and says the FBI’s Computer Analysis and Response Team has been working 24 hours a day since last week’s shooting in hopes of making sense of it.

“The FBI is pretty good, we can pull stuff off anything,” she says.

According to O’Toole, Lanza’s actions are typical with mass murderers who’ve skillfully plotted attacks.

“He wanted to accomplish maximum lethality,” O’Toole says. “He was not out of touch with reality. I think he put some security measures in place so he wouldn’t be stopped.”