Sandy Hook killer’s dad says Asperger not reason for rampage

A memorial set up to honor 20 six-year-olds who were killed by 20-year-old serial killer, Adam Lanza. Photo via Voice of America.
A memorial set up to honor 20 six-year-olds who were killed by 20-year-old serial killer, Adam Lanza. Photo via Voice of America.

The father of one of the most notorious serial killers in U.S. history has decided to speak out. Peter Lanza, the father of the 20-year-old perpetrator who  shot 20 first graders and six staffers in December 2012, marking one of the most shocking and heartbreaking losses America has ever experienced, has broken his silence. Peter Lanza revealed his most intimate thoughts on the senselessness of the slayings in an interview he gave the New Yorker in March.

Just days before Christmas in December 2012, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. and gunned down an entire classroom of youngsters, killing every single child, most of them a mere 6-years-old, in one of the school’s first grade classrooms.

Peter used several adjectives to describe Adam during the interview, such as “awkward”, a “little weird” and more to the point, “evil.”

Although Peter states that he and his son had a good relationship when Adam was younger, he explained that his son had become progressively more withdrawn and disconnected after he started high school. Eventually Adam was homeschooled and refused to see his father. Peter, who divorced Adam’s mother, Nancy, some three years before the mass murders said that his ex-wife liked to indulge Adam and tended to do everything for him. He believes Adam’s psychotic behavior may have been exacerbated by his isolation.

Although Peter says Adam was a “normal weird little kid”, he insists Adam had a great sense of humor and used to be quite talkative until he reached his teenage years when he completely shut down. Adam’s difficulty in relating to people and forming friendships was explained after he was diagnosed with Asperger, a form of high functioning Autism. Peter says that the diagnosis does not explain Adam’s actions however.

Peter told the New Yorker, “Asperger’s makes people unusual, but it doesn’t make people like this.”

Peter speculates that his son may have had schizophrenia but that he and his ex-wife may have missed his more serious comorbidities because they focused so much on his Asperger diagnosis. Adam was diagnosed with Asperger when he was 13-years-old, but Peter insists that his awkward behavior and diagnosis “veiled a contaminant.”

The most shocking and perhaps understandable confession from Peter came at the end, when Peter revealed that he wished Adam had never been born.  Peter says it’s taken him a long time to come to terms with that opinion, but that when you think about what he [Adam] became — a person who was unrecognizable to Peter, that “there’s no question…there can be only one conclusion,” with Peter explaining that one of the most difficult aspects was coming to terms with who Adam was with who he ultimately became.