Five awful minutes: 154 rounds fired, 26 killed

Authorities released chilling details Thursday of Adam Lanza’s troubled life and his horrific assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School, providing tantalizing hints and clues, but no answers about what launched the bloodiest primary school shooting in U.S. history.

Lanza killed 26 children and educators in less than five minutes, firing 154 rounds from a Bushmaster XM15 military-style rifle. He was prepared to kill far more: Police found three more 30-round magazines on him, with another 15 rounds in his rifle.

The first new on-the-record details from law enforcement came in search-warrant documents unsealed by the Superior Court and in a written statement from Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen J. Sendensky III, who is overseeing the investigation.

Saiga 12

A Saiga 12 shotgun

Lanza carried the rifle, extra magazines and two loaded handguns, a 10 mm Glock and a 9 mm Sig Sauer during the attack. He left a loaded Saiga 12 shotgun, which resembles an AK-47 assault weapon, and 70 shells in the passenger compartment of his mother’s 2010 Honda Civic, which he parked in the fire lane outside the school.

The details are likely to whet the considerable appetite for gun control at the General Assembly, especially restrictions on military-style weapons and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

“In some cases, the facts really do speak for themselves, and in this case they only add starker detail to what we already knew,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.

Bushmaster XM15

A Bushmaster XM15

Legislators have not scheduled a vote, but debate is widely expected Wednesday in the Connecticut General Assembly on a bill that would ban the sale of military-style rifles such as the AR-15, as well as magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The XM15 is Bushmaster’s version of the AR-15, the nation’s best-selling rifle.

Lanza killed himself with the Glock in one of the two classrooms he attacked, clad in military gear. Sedensky said a search warrant affidavit incorrectly said he wore a bullet-proof vest and that he died in the middle of three classrooms he attacked.

His mother, Nancy Lanza, was discovered at their home, dead in bed, shot once in the forehead. A rifle was on the floor. There were no signs of a struggle, and a gun safe was unlocked.

The state police affidavits and inventories of the items seized at two crime scenes, the Lanza home and Sandy Hook Elementary, described a home chock-full of guns and ammo, including four weapons in a safe kept in Adam’s bedroom, near a gaming console and clippings of other mass killings.

But investigators offered no detailed narrative and provided scant details from witnesses about what sent him on a mission Dec. 14 to his old elementary school, killing 20 first-grade students and six educators and then taking his own life as police answered frantic 911 calls.

“This is exactly why we need to ban high-capacity magazines and why we need to tighten our assault weapons ban,” Malloy said. “I don’t know what more we can need to know before we take decisive action to prevent gun violence. The time to act is now.”

Anticipating the release of documents, legislators gave up on an effort to bring a gun-control bill to a vote this week.

The Lanzas’ house at 36 Yogananda Street in Newtown, a pale yellow Colonial with dark green shutters, contained guns and ammunition — more than 1,000 rounds in a gun safe and closet, ammo for shotguns, handguns and rifles.

The Lanzas — the affidavit does not specify whom — also had a collection of knives and three Samurai swords.

In one affidavit, authorities quoted an acquaintance describing the killer as a “shut in and avid gamer who plays Call of Duty,” a video game that gives the player the perspective of a soldier on violent missions. The school he attacked was described as “his life” by a witness quoted in the affidavit.

An inventory of items found in the house reflected the mother’s passionate interest in firearms and shooting and the challenges posed by the younger of her two sons, 20-year-old Adam.

His report card from Sandy Hook was in the house. So were emails and documents relating to weapons, including the purchase of a Glock handgun and an NRA certificate awarded to Adam. Police found a holiday card made out to him, with a check made out for a firearm.

Among the books seized, two were about autism: “Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s” and “Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant.”

A third was the “NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting.”

The documents can be read in their entirety here and here.