Newtown police reaffirm that they had no early warning about Sandy Hook
NEWTOWN - A man apparently lied to the FBI when he claimed he knew of a threat by Adam Lanza to kill his mother and Sandy Hook schoolchildren years before the troubled youth actually committed the massacre, police said.
The unidentified man’s claim that he warned Newtown police in 2008 about Lanza’s threat was investigated by federal officials, who “found that it could not be true,” said Newtown Police Chief James Viadero, citing a prosecutor’s report.
The claim was among scores of statements about the 2012 slayings of 26 first-graders and educators that the FBI released last week in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
The man’s claim made headlines last week because it suggested that there had been missed warnings about Lanza’s intentions, and that had it been heeded police might have averted the worst crime in Connecticut history. But the credibility of the statement was difficult to weigh, because it had been heavily redacted, as were all the documents in the FBI report.
The claim surprised the Newtown Police Department, which said it had no record of anyone calling in 2008 to make such a claim.
It wasn’t until Viadero requested more information from the FBI about the man who made the statement that the chief connected him with someone mentioned in the final report about the Sandy Hook massacre investigation, conducted by Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky.
“[A] man claimed that while in Oklahoma a woman told him about the planned shooting before the shooting occurred,” Sedensky’s report reads. “Federal law enforcement investigated this and found that it could not be true.”
Viadero on Monday said he believed the man in the FBI report is the same man in Sedensky’s report whose story was unfounded.
“[T]he referenced report spoke of the same information as in the FBI report, identifying it as emanating from Oklahoma,” Viadero said.
Sedensky on Monday supported the chief’s conclusion.
“There were a lot of claims out there that had to be tracked down and investigated and addressed in my report, and this was one of them,” Sedensky said.
The FBI would not address statement specifically, but expressed concern for many who are grieving in Newtown.
“The FBI’s release of investigative information on the Sandy Hook tragedy was made through the Freedom of Information Act provision as required by law,” said Patricia Ferrick, special agent in charge at the FBI New Haven office, in a prepared statement. “However, I understand that doing so renews the anguish for the victims’ families as well as for our community.
“Even though the documents are meant to stand on their own, I want to assure the community that all information received and allegations made before, during, and after the tragedy were thoroughly investigated,” Ferrick said.