Sandy Hook Report Released, But Still No Motive for Shooting

Many details are released, but the explanation for the shooting remains as elusive as it has been for the past year.

By Patch Local Editor Davis Dunavin.

In the state's final report on the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, released Monday, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky says no motive may ever be found for what led to the deaths of 20 children and six educators.

Titled "Report of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury on the Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012," the 44-page document covers police response for both sites, autopsy results, a timeline and information on the shooter, gleaned from scores of interviews.

Investigators note that a computer hard drive recovered from Lanza's home has yet proven unreadable.

"He had a familiarity with and access to firearms and ammunition and an obsession with mass murders, in particular the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado," the report said.

The report also states that Lanza acted alone, and no evidence exists that Lanza had taken behavior-altering medications that would explain his actions.

An attached appendix includes ballistics descriptions, photographs and floor plans of Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda.

But the report does not contain "thousands" of pages of police documents concerning the shooting. The full report is being redacted and will be available "before the anniversary of this tragedy," according to the Connecticut Department of Criminal Justice.

"It is not the intent of this report to convey every piece of information contained in the voluminous investigation materials developed by the Connecticut State Police and other law enforcement agencies, but to provide information relevant to the purposes of this report," Sedensky writes in the introduction.

With the issuance of the report, Sedensky concludes, the investigation into the shooting is now closed. But the question of why Lanza committed the acts may never be answered, he says.

"The obvious question that remains is: 'Why did the shooter murder twenty-seven people, including twenty children?'" Sedensky writes. "Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively, despite the collection of extensive background information on the shooter through a multitude of interviews and other sources. The evidence clearly shows that the shooter planned his actions, including the taking of his own life, but there is no clear indication why he did so, or why he targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School."

The shooting took place over less than 11 minutes, the report shows.

"We Cannot Make Sense of Why It Happened"

Sedensky and state police reportedly met with victims' families last week to provide them with details from the report. First Selectman Pat Llodra told Patch she had not seen the report prior to its release, nor did she want to.

"Yes, we have read the report," wrote Donna Soto, mother of victim Victoria Soto, on her Facebook page Monday. "No, we cannot make sense of why it happened, we don't know if anyone ever will. We don't know if we will ever be whole again, we don't know if we will go a day without pain, we don't know if anything will ever make sense again."

Soto described the report as another blow to the family, one that did not answer any of their questions.

"While others search for the answer as to why this happened, we search for the how," she wrote. "How can we live without Vicki? How do we celebrate Christmas without Vicki? How do we go on every day missing a piece of our family? Those are the questions we seek the answers for. There is nothing in the report that will answer those for us."

"Longer Than Any Of Us Would Have Liked"

Many elected Connecticut officials, including Gov. Dannel Malloy, had questioned the slow response time of the report, coming nearly a year after the shooting. Sedensky was silent on the delay even as some details from the report began leaking to the press.

In May, Malloy originally called for patience as some legislators began demanding the report. But by November, he said his "statements have changed," telling reporters the report could help to bolster school security statewide.

"This has gone on longer than any of us would have liked and certainly is not representative of how I would have handled the timing of this report," Malloy told reporters in Farmington earlier this week. "It needs to get out. It needs to get out this week, next week. It needs to get out."

As state officials were crafting the report, details leaked to some outlets, including the Hartford Courant and The New York Post. In March, the Post ran details from a speech by Col. Danny Stebbins detailing a "sickeningly thorough … spreadsheet" made by the shooter prior to the shooting, along with other information about the shooter's home life and history.

Information obtained by the Hartford Courant in October apparently revealed details about what happened in Sandy Hook Elementary School during and after the shooting, including the fact that first-grader Jesse Lewis apparently yelled for other students to run for safety during the shooting.

In the report itself, Sendesky repeatedly notes the time required for accurate information-gathering during the investigation, saying police followed 40 unsubstantiated "leads" that came from the public.

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