Newtown School Shootings: After Confusion, Suspect Is Named As Adam Lanza

Dec 14, 2012
Originally published on December 14, 2012 5:40 pm

As details emerged about the tragic shooting deaths of more than 20 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school today, law enforcement sources first named Ryan Lanza as the suspected gunman. But that account, reported by NPR and other news outlets, was later called into question by reports that identified Lanza's younger brother, Adam, as the suspect.

Update at 7:28 p.m. ET: Suspect's Identity Confirmed.

Federal law enforcement officials have confirmed to NPR that the Newtown school shooting suspect is Adam Lanza, 20. Authorities are executing search warrants at the Lanza home in Newtown, the officials say. As we reported earlier, police say the assailant died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Officials have not yet formally announced the suspect's identity.

Our original post follows:

At a 3:30 p.m. ET news conference, Connecticut officials declined to identify the gunman. Here's a look at how the confusion developed, and why NPR and others were left waiting for an official police announcement of the suspect's name:

The gunman's body was found among the dead inside the school building in Newtown, Conn., as Mark reported in an earlier post. Within hours, CNN, NPR and other news organizations cited police sources who named Ryan Lanza, 24, as the suspect.

Shortly after those reports were broadcast, the Facebook profile belonging to Ryan Lanza was deleted; in its place, many fraudulent profiles were created in the same name. And elsewhere, reports began to emerge claiming that Ryan Lanza's brother, Adam, 20, was actually the suspect whose body was recovered at the crime scene.

The question was also fueled by claims on Twitter from people who said they were friends with Ryan Lanza on Facebook — and that he had posted a simple declaration on his profile page in which he allegedly stated, "It wasn't me I was at work it wasn't me."

According to reports published by The New York Post and elsewhere, Ryan Lanza, 24, was questioned by police Friday. According to The Newtown Patch, Ryan Lanza "told friends that he thinks his developmentally disabled brother may have committed the crime."

We'll update this post with more information about the case; law enforcement are slated to give another update shortly after 6 p.m. ET. And Mark is following the story in the post he's been updating since the awful news emerged this morning.

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