Newtown Update: New Information Contradicts Earlier Reports; Was Adam Lanza Targeting One Teacher? [REPORT]
The latest Newtown update calls into question almost every theory that's come before. According to new information released by the police this week, it now seems plausible that the 20-year-old shooter, Adam Lanza, was actually targeting a specific teacher.
Previous reports have speculated that Lanza, who took the lives of 20 children and seven adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, targeted the school because his mother had worked part-time there. Another theory was that the shooting was, in fact, random. And that because Lanza was allegedly mentally disturbed he may have not had a clear ulterior motive.
Now, though, information is coming out that before Lanza ever entered the building he opened fire on various cars in the parking lot including that of Lauren Rousseau, the 30-year-old teacher who died with 15 of her students.
Rousseau's classroom was the first classroom entered after killing the principal and school psychologist in the front office. Police, friends and family of the victims have desperately been trying to understand why a shy man who would slink in and out of classrooms and the barber shop would be driven to commit such a brutal massacre.
In an effort to solve the ongoing puzzle, Adam Lanza's DNA will be studied by geneticists looking for possible abnormalities or mutations that could have increased a tendency toward violence. The hope is that the DNA will reveal clues as to why the 20-year-old shooter opened fire. But some observers worry that the findings could be too troubling - or even prompt expecting parents to become frantic over genetic testing.
The study, which experts say could be the first of its kind, was requested by Connecticut Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver and will be conducted by geneticists at the University of Connecticut.
Carver "asked for help from our department of genetics," according to University of Connecticut spokesperson Tom Green, and the university is "willing to give any assistance they can."
Now scientists are concerned that Newtown residents will grasp at whatever information is released, even if it's not fully conclusive. "Given how wide the net would have to be cast and given the problem of false positives in testing it is much more likely we would go ahead and find some misleading genetic markers, which would later be proven false while unnecessarily stigmatizing a very large group of people," Harvard Medical School's Dr. Harold Bursztajn told ABC News.
Dr. Heidi Tissenbaum of the University of Massachusetts medical school agreed. "The problem is there might be a genetic component," she said, "but we don't have enough of a sample size."
There are additional problems associated with the study. Lanza was allegedly diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism. Autism advocates and organizations are concerned that a so-called mutant gene could then be incorrectly associated with Asperger's. There has been so much misinformation and confusion regarding the shooting and Lanza's motives, that any finding could be isolated as the one-and-only answer to the puzzle.
Multiple doctors and professors have gone on record saying that there is no definitive link between Asperger's and violence. Yet many panicked parents not familiar with the Autism spectrum have blamed Asperger's for the massacre.
Since the horrific shooting on Dec. 14, parents and teachers have been looking for a motive to the seemingly random killings. But hopes were dashed when police discovered that Lanza had irreparably damaged the hard drive on his computer by smashing it with a blunt object like a hammer.
Family and friends say that Adam Lanza's problems became far worse when his parents divorced after 18 years in 2008. Librarian Shelley Cudiner told the Daily Mail: "He was always weird but the divorce affected him. He was arguing with his mother. He was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode."
"You definitely noticed [a problem]. He was needy, his neighbor Justin Germak, 17, said. "He struggled to be social."
In an effort to move forward in a positive way, the Mayor of Stratford has suggested the town rename the elementary school for Vicki Soto, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Soto, 27, grew up in Stratford and lived there as an adult.
"In the days since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, the stories of bravery and heroism by Stratford's own Victoria Soto have been both heart-wrenching and abundant," Mayor John Harkins said in a statement. "She gave her life protecting children, and we must make sure her sacrifice is never forgotten. Over the last couple of weeks, I have met with Victoria's family and discussed how the town can recognize her in a meaningful and appropriate way. Her family has shown amazing strength and resilience in remembering and honoring Victoria's life."
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