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After unspeakable tragedy, a search for answers
Residents and faith leaders were sure to reflect Sunday on the mass shooting and what meaning, if any, to find in it. Obama planned to attend an interfaith vigil—the fourth time he will have traveled to a city after a mass shooting.
On Dec. 15, overflow crowds packed St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. The Rev. Richard Scinto, a deacon, gave a homily.
“In the past 48 hours I’ve said the phrase ‘I don’t know’ about 1,000 times,” he said. “That not knowing has got to be the worst part of this whole thing.”
At St. John’s Episcopal Church, 54-year-old Donna Denner, an art teacher at an elementary school in nearby Danbury whose classroom was locked down after the shooting, said she feels the same way she did after 9/11 but isn’t sure the rest of the country does.
“I don’t know if the rest of the country is struggling to understand it the same way we are here,” she said. “Life goes on, but you’re not the same. Is the rest of the country—are they going about their regular activities? Is it just another news story to them?”
The rifle used was a Bushmaster .223-caliber, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak about it and talked on condition of anonymity. The gun is commonly seen at competitions and was the type used in the 2002 sniper killings in the Washington, D.C., area. Also found in the school were two handguns, a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm.
A law enforcement official on Dec. 15 said authorities were investigating fresh leads that could reveal more about the lead-up to the shooting. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Ginger Colbrun, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, said earlier there was no evidence Lanza was involved in gun clubs or had trained for the shooting. When reached later in the day and asked whether that was still true, she said, “We’re following any and all leads related to this individual and firearms.”
Dean Price, director of the Wooster Mountain State Range—a shooting range in Danbury—said two ATF agents visited the range Friday night and stayed into the early morning looking through thousands of names on sign-in logs.
He said that he had never seen Adam or Nancy Lanza there and that agents told him they did not find their names on the sign-in sheets.
Law enforcement officials have said they have found no note or manifesto from Lanza of the sort they have come to expect after murderous rampages such as the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007 that left 33 people dead.
Education officials said they had found no link between Lanza’s mother and the school, contrary to news reports that said she was a teacher there. Investigators said they believe Adam Lanza attended Sandy Hook many years ago, but they had no explanation for why he went there Friday.
Authorities said Adam Lanza had no criminal history, and it was not clear whether he had a job. Lanza was believed to have suffered from a personality disorder, said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Lanza had been diagnosed with Asperger’s, a mild form of autism often characterized by social awkwardness.