Although the names of all the victims of Friday's disturbing and devastating Connecticut elementary school shooting have now been released, investigators have yet to reveal the “very good evidence,” that will be able to “paint the how, and more importantly, the why” behind alleged shooter Adam Lanza's horrific shooting spree. Details around Lanza, 20, are still sketchy, but a portrait is starting to emerge of him based on quotes from friends, neighbors and acquaintances—and it presents him as a shy, "weird" kid who was very bright, but was also very troubled.
There has been an outpouring of quotes from random neighbors across various media: "Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were five years old," wrote neighbor and former classmate Timothy Dalton on Twitter. "As horrible as this was, I can't say I am surprised." "[Adam] was not connected with the other kids," family friend Barbara Frey told ABC; an anonymous relative also told them that Adam was "obviously not well." Classmates describe him as carrying a black briefcase and speaking very little. He also wore a kind of uniform: khakis and a shirt buttoned up to the neck, with pens lined up in his shirt pocket.
The NY Times described him like this: "He did all he could to avoid attention, it seemed." Unlike his brother Ryan, who was mistakenly identified as the shooter for a time Friday afternoon, Adam had no Facebook, and seemingly no web footprint. He didn't appear in his high school yearbook in 2010; his spot on the page read, “Camera shy.” Some classmates speculated that he didn't actually graduate. Matt Baier, who knew him in high school, said he was deeply uncomfortable in social situations; he and several others noted that it was their understanding he had Asperger’s syndrome. “It’s not like people picked on him for it,” Baier noted. “From what I saw, people just let him be, and that was that.”
Olivia DeVivo, another former high school classmate, described him as a loner: “I never saw him with anyone. I can’t even think of one person that was associated with him.” She also said fellow classmates weren't surprised that he was the shooter: “They said he always seemed like he was someone who was capable of that because he just didn’t really connect with our high school, and didn’t really connect with our town.”
“I know he had issues,” Beth Israel, whose daughter went to school with Lanza, told the Post. “He was a really troubled kid. I think he had learning disabilities.” She added: “He was just a weird kid. He was a very quiet kid, a shy kid, maybe socially awkward." Neighbor Justin Germak echoed those sentiments: “You definitely notice it,” Germak said. “[He was] kind of, like, needy. I wouldn’t say antisocial, but struggling to be social.”
“This was a deeply disturbed kid,” a family insider told the Daily News. “He certainly had major issues. He was subject to outbursts from what I recall.” They added: “He was smart. He was like one of these real brainiac computer kind of kids.” Another family friend told them Lanza had a condition “where he couldn’t feel pain.: “A few years ago when he was on the baseball team, everyone had to be careful that he didn’t fall because he could get hurt and not feel it,” said the friend. “Adam had a lot of mental problems.”
Dan Holmes, a friend of Adam's mother, told the Post that Nancy Lanza was outwardly concerned about her son: "She would often talk about her son having social issues. She told me he was a brilliant kid and very book smart but that he was very awkward around people and wanted to be by himself," he said. "He was a very fearful kid." A CNN anchor said on air that she had confided in friends that she recently left her job in order to concentrate on taking care of her son.
Marsha Lanza, who is Adam's aunt and Nancy's ex-sister-in-law, told an ABC affiliate that Nancy had pulled Adam out of Newtown's public school system because she was unhappy with the school district's plans for her son. She added that Nancy had once been a classroom aide at the Sandy Hook school.
Not everyone had negative things to say about him: “We would hang out, and he was a good kid,” Joshua Milas, who had not seen Lanza in a few years, told The Associated Press. “He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius.” Another former classmate said he was "just a kid," while a former bus driver said he was "very polite."