Gunman's Aunt “Baffled,” Says He Was Raised by Good Parents

Marsha Lanza was close with his mother and sent her a Facebook message the morning of shooting

The aunt of the gunman who unleashed the Connecticut school shooting said she can't understand why her nephew would kill his mother along with 20 children and seven adults in the small town of Newtown, Conn.

"Why these kids? Why these innocent little kids," said 57-year-old Marsha Lanza, while talking to reporters outside her Illinois home Saturday. "That just still baffles me."

Her nephew, Adam, is the 20-year-old man identified as the shooter of a deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza, was found dead at her Newtown home.

Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, had not seen Adam since he was 3 years old. But she told NBC Chicago her husband visited him in June. She was closer with his mother, Nancy and corresponded with her regularly.

“I lost it,” she said about turning the radio on in the car so her son could hear the news. “Because at this point, what I was hearing, was that Nancy was not only gone, but P.J., we called him P.J. his name was Peter, was also gone. And that’s just…we loved them.”

She was Nancy's sister-in-law by marriage. Their husbands, Michael and Peter, are brothers. Though Nancy divorced Peter, Marsha still stayed in touch with her.

Marsha described Nancy as a good mother and kind-hearted.

"She gave more than people will ever know," she said.

Marsha sent Nancy a Facebook message Friday morning, before she found out about the shooting, and never heard back. She said there was nothing in their correspondence to indicate anything was amiss.

"She never revealed anything that was critical," Marsha said, adding that Nancy would have told her if something was wrong.

As for insight about her nephew, Marsha said he was a bright boy, who was very quiet and interested in computers. She said Nancy had talked with her about home schooling Adam.

"I know she had issues with school," Marsha said of Nancy's frustration with the school her son was attending. "She eventually wound up home schooling him, because she battled with the school district, in what capacity, I'm not 100 percent certain. If it was behavior or learning disabilities, I really don't know. But he was a very, very bright boy. He was smart."

When asked about whether Adam suffered from Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, Marsha said there had been "chatter about it, but it was never confirmed." She would not answer yes or no to the question.

Marsha also had knowledge of Nancy's guns.

"I think the only reason Nancy may have had them [guns], and for the sake of many more of us in this country, is for self-defense and no other reason," she said. "They were not a violent family."

She added that Peter and Nancy would have sought help for Adam if they suspected any kind of problem.

Her husband Michael, who is in North Carolina, is said to be devastated over the news. He was the last person in their family to see Adam. Lanza said her husband did not notice anything unusual during his visit.

Contact Us