In the aftermath of yesterday's utterly devastating mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, not much has come out about Peter Lanza, the father of alleged shooter Adam Lanza. But we now know how Lanza, a vice president of taxes for GE Energy Financial Services, learned about his son's connection to the horrific shooting: he only found out after a reporter for the Stanford Advocate asked him about it at his home Friday afternoon.
Lanza has been divorced from Adam's mother Nancy—whom Adam is believed to have murdered in their home—since 2009. Below, you can read Maggie Gordon's account of confronting him Friday afternoon:
Peter Lanza drove up to his home, a brick ranch on a quiet street, a few hours after his son allegedly killed 26 people and himself at a Newtown elementary school and moments after police left his property.
"Is there something I can do for you?" he asked me, after stopping his blue Mini Cooper in his driveway and rolling down the window. He wore a blue-and-white striped button-down shirt, his hair neatly parted to side.
I told him I was a reporter for the Stamford Advocate, and I was surprised that no click of recognition flash across his face. So I continued, explaining that I'd been told someone at his address had been linked to the shootings in Newtown.
His expression twisted from patient, to surprise to horror; it was obvious that this moment, shortly after 1:30 p.m. Friday, was the first time he had considered his family could have been involved. He quickly declined to comment, rolled up the window, parked in the right side of the two-car garage and closed the door.
As part of their parental agreement, Adam was to live primarily with his mother, with Peter permitted "liberal visitation and vacations." His attorney, Gary Oberst, told the Daily News: “He was very upset that he was getting divorced, but he didn’t want to take it out on anybody." He added that he was particularly generous with monetary payments:
“He did more than he had to with the divorce,” said Oberst. “When he came in to consult with me, I said, ‘This is what your obligation is.’ He said, ‘That’s not enough. I want to do more.’ ”
One anonymous "family source" described the Lanzas as “lovely, very generous people who were very kind to each other during the divorce.” Neighbors noted that 52-year-old Peter Lanza had only recently moved in with his new wife, Shelley Cudiner. Cudiner has lived in that neighborhood for a decade, but neighbors don't seem to know her very well: "I literally know nothing about them. We've been here 10 years, and they've been here longer than that; they're just not very friendly," said one neighbor.