State Police issue Sandy Hook response report
Newtown - While State Police Troopers responding to Sandy Hook acted in an efficient and heroic manner, a report released Friday states, there is much that can be learned from their response to the shooting
The 75-page report noted that law enforcement personnel were walking around the school and parking lot with rifles and handguns without being “sufficiently identifiable as police officers.”
“This could cause further panic among civilians, a “blue on blue” friendly fire situation, or a decrease in scene security,” the report states.
The document, known as an after-action report, includes a review of officers’ response to the worst crime in Connecticut history, when a troubled 20-year-old Newtown man named Adam Lanza murdered his mother, took her AR-15-style rifle from an unlocked closet, and shot his way into a locked Sandy Hook School, where he killed 20 first-graders and six educators before killing himself.
The report was shared Friday morning with families who lost loved ones in the massacre, and with state police officials, before it was released to the public.
Newtown Police Chief James Viadero was among those who were briefed about the report. Viadero in turn held a short meeting at Newtown police headquarters to share the highlights of the report with his department.
The report does not focus on Newtown police, but on the state police reponse.
The report, which took five years to complete, comes just weeks after the fifth anniversary of the massacre. The report also follows the FBI’s release of a 1,500-page document in October, which included interviews that agents conducted during the investigation.
That FBI document, which was heavily redacted, revealed that Lanza had become so estranged from the world that his one fixation was mass murders. It wasn’t until Lanza withdrew completely into his bedroom for three months that his only friend — his mother — truly began to worry about him, and began sleeping with a gun, the FBI document showed.
Three other reports about the shooting were completed in 2013 and 2014. Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky released a 45-page report in 2013 finding that Lanza acted alone. That same year, state police released a 7,000-page report detailing events before, during and after the event.
In 2014, the state Office of the Child Advocate released a 140-page report documenting opportunities that the Newtown school district and Lanza’s family missed to treat his mental illness, which included Asperger’s syndrome, anorexia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The report found that Lanza alone was responsible for the shooting.
Sedensky’s report in 2013 said it took nearly six minutes for officers to enter the school after they arrived.
Experts have voiced differing opinions about whether those six minutes could have made a difference. Some said if police had arrived at the shot-out front entrance of Sandy Hook School with their sirens blaring -Lanza might have ended his rampage and committed suicide sooner.
When the 911 calls were released in 2013, Lanza is heard firing at least nine rife shots while first responders were setting up a a staging area at the scene.
The release of the recordings came after a months-long battle - first involving the state Freedom of Information Commission and later state Superior Court.
“It’s still happening. I keep hearing shooting. I keep hearing popping,” says Rick Thorne, the school’s acting head custodian on the 911 tape.