The Newtown Gunman's Father Gives His First Interview

Until this week, Peter Lanza — the father of Newtown gunman Adam Lanza — avoided the press. But that's all changed with a profile of the family in this week's New Yorker.

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Until this week, Peter Lanza, the father of Newtown gunman Adam Lanza, has avoided the press. That all changed with a profile of the family in this week's New Yorker, based on a series of interviews with Peter. Adam killed his mother, Nancy, Peter's ex-wife, before killing 26 children and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary in December, 2012.

Speaking of his son Adam, Peter said that he has started to wish his son was never born. He added:

"With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he'd had the chance. I don't question that for a minute. The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for (his brother) Ryan; one for me."

It's a startling piece, one that comes over a year after the tragedy in Newtown, after the police report on the investigation went public, along with photographs of the home Adam shared with Nancy. Peter hadn't seen his son for two years before the Newtown shootings, but he described the gunman's childhood to the magazine:

Adam loved Sandy Hook school,” Peter said. “He stated, as he was growing older, how much he had liked being a little kid.” Adam’s brother, Ryan, four years older and now a tax accountant in New York, used to joke about how close Peter and Adam were. They’d spend hours playing at two Lego tables in the basement, making up stories for the little towns they built. Adam even invented his own board games. “Always thinking differently,” Peter said. “Just a normal little weird kid.”

Peter also described meeting with the families of some of his son's victims, saying, "A victim's family member told me that they forgave Adam after we spent three hours talking. I didn't even know how to respond. A person that lost their son, their only son."

At this point, we have thousands of pages of information on Adam Lanza, on the last few months of his life before the shooting. And yet The New Yorker story adds an additional depth of understanding to the people involved in the incident. But like every other bit of information we get on Newtown, it won't answer the question of why Lanza did it.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.