NEWTOWN, Conn. – The young man who shot and killed 26 people at an elementary school had not had contact with his father in a nearby town for the last two years, despite his father’s repeated efforts to repair the relationship, a family acquaintance said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, students in the trauma-stricken town returned to school amid funeral processions.
The revelation that Adam Lanza, 20, had broken off contact with his father and his brother Ryan, 24, deepened questions into what was going on inside the Lanza household in the weeks and months before the shootings, whose genesis still remains largely unknown.
Increasingly, it appears that few people other than Lanza’s mother, 52-year-old Nancy Lanza, had regular contact recently with him. State officials told reporters Tuesday that she was shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle, most likely while she was asleep, before her son loaded four weapons into her car and drove it to Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Peter Lanza, an executive with GE Energy Financial Services, initially had seen his youngest son weekly after he separated from his wife in 2001, said the family acquaintance.
Adam Lanza’s last known school enrollment was a series of classes at Western Connecticut State University, the last of which he completed in 2009.
The question of why Lanza targeted 20 young schoolchildren among his victims has traumatized this small town, which was struggling Tuesday to return to a normal school schedule even as families were still burying their dead.
A school bus trundled through town toward an elementary school, its young passengers pressing their noses against the windows and peering at the unusual procession passing in the opposite direction: police cars with lights flashing, followed by a hearse carrying a small casket, and a limousine with a sobbing woman in the back seat.
Schools reopened with police guarding entrances, nervous parents wondering how they would make it through the day until their children came home, and funeral processions winding along streets marked with memorials.
There were 26 tiny Christmas trees for each of the 20 first-graders and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On hillsides overlooking busy streets, people had planted 26 tiny flags, and 20 little white angels.
Three more funerals, wakes or other services were held in Newtown for three of the children, and a service was planned in Stratford for one of the slain teachers, Victoria Soto.