Sandy Hook Elementary school gunman Adam Lanza may have been motivated by a horrific 2011 mass shooting in Norway, as the 20-year-old plotted his own massacre.
Law enforcement officials investigating Lanza’s tragic December shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 children and six educators dead at the school said that Lanza saw himself as a competitor to Anders Breivik, the Norwegian man who killed 77 people in series of attacks in 2011, in a sick imagined mass-murder contest.
Two officials said evidence had been uncovered suggesting that Lanza was determined to top Breivik’s death count. The officials added that investigators had found credible evidence that Lanza was probably even obsessed with Breivik.
They also found evidence that Lanza had zeroed in on Sandy Hook Elementary School because he felt it was the “easiest target” with the “largest cluster of people.” Both killers also used American-made .223-caliber assault rifles.
Breivik armed himself with a Ruger Mini-14 rifle. Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15. On July 22, 2011, Breivik detonated a car bomb and then opened fire at a youth camp killing 69 people.
He then surrendered to police when they arrived at the camp and, in August, was sentenced to 10 to 21 years in prison, the longest allowed under the law. During his own massacre, Lanza, who may have been mimicking a gory scenario in one of the violent games he loved to play, may have gone on to kill even more people, but he turned one of his guns on himself as police closed in on the school.
The troubled 20-year-old has been described by family friends as a lonely young man who isolated himself in his bedroom for hours, sometimes days, playing graphically violent video games.
However, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police dismissed the report, calling it speculation. “It’s inaccurate ... said Lt Paul Vance. “We are dealing with a deceased shooter and trying to rebuild history.” Vance, however, did not dismiss the notion that investigators may have looked at the Norway shooting. “We’ll look at everything,” Vance said. “One thing leads to another.”
The Norway Massacre
Breivik, a 33-year-old Norwegian on a mission to expel Muslims from Europe, set off a car bomb that killed eight people outside government headquarters in Oslo July 22, 2011. He then killed 69 others in a shooting rampage on Utoeya island, where young members of the governing Labor Party had gathered for their annual summer camp. During his case in court, Breivik said he acted out of “goodness, not evil” to prevent a wider civil war, Breivik vowed, “I would have done it again.” He compared his attacks to the US dropping atomic bombs on Japan during World War II. “They did it for something good, to prevent further war,” Breivik said. He denies criminal guilt, saying he was acting in self-defence, and claims the targets were part of a conspiracy to “deconstruct” Norway’s cultural identity.