Shooting Suspect's Motive Remains a Mystery

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP/NBC News
    Authorities man a triage area in Newtown, Conn., where Adam Lanza (inset) opened fire inside an elementary school in a shooting that left 27 people dead, including 20 children. (AP/NBC News)

    The suspect in the Connecticut school shootings is Adam Lanza, 20, the son of a teacher at the school where the shootings occurred, a law enforcement official said Friday.

    His mother, Nancy Lanza, is presumed dead.

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    The name of the suspected shooter shocked Marsha Moskowitz, a former bus driver in Newtown who used to drive him and his older brother to school.

    "They were very nice, polite boys," she said. "They would always say good morning and good night to me." 

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    Law enforcement officials initially believed that Lanza's 24-year-old brother, Ryan, was the shooter based on evidence at the school scene. But when authorities went to Ryan Lanza's Hoboken, N.J. home to search it, Ryan Lanza was there, and said he was not involved.

    He indicated his brother may have had his ID and that he had a history of mental illness, a senior official told NBC 4 New York.

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    A friend of Ryan Lanza's, former Jersey Journal newspaper staff writer Brett Wilshe, told the AP he "got really scared" when he began hearing the media reports about Ryan Lanza, and sent him a message on Facebook asking what was going on and if he was OK.

    Lanza's reply, according to Wilshe, was something like: "It was my brother. I think my mother is dead. Oh my God."

    A law enforcement official said the suspect drove to the scene of the shootings in his mother's car. Three guns were found at the scene — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols — and a .223-caliber rifle. The rifle was recovered from the back of a car at the school. The two pistols were recovered from inside the school.

    The weapons were legally purchased and registered to Lanza's mother, two law enforcement officials told NBC News. 

    Police were at the Stamford, Conn. home of Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, through the night Friday. Neighbors said they didn't know much about Peter Lanza's family and only said he seemed to be a nice man. 

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