Peter Lanza, the father of the man who killed 20 children and six educators in an elementary school in Connecticut, wishes his son, Adam, had never been born because the massacre was an act that “couldn't get any more evil.”
In a series of interviews with the magazine the New Yorker, Peter Lanza broke his silence on the 2012 rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that stunned the nation and resumed a debate about gun control. Lanza said he hadn’t seen his son for two years at the time of shooting and he constantly thinks about what he could have done differently.
“Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was had to be good, because no outcome could be worse,” Lanza told the magazine in an article dated March 17. “You can't get any more evil. … How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he's my son? A lot.”
Adam Lanza, 20, began his killing spree on Dec. 14, 2012, by fatally shooting his mother, Nancy, Peter’s former wife. Adam Lanza then drove to the school where he opened fire, killing 20 pupils, each between 6 and 7 years old, and six adults before killing himself.
Peter Lanza has not commented publicly on the shooting, but according to the magazine contacted reporter Andrew Solomon in September, months before the first anniversary of the shooting. Solomon writes that he met six times with Lanza, an accountant who is vice president for taxes at General Electric subsidiary GE Energy Financial Services.
Lanza has said he will not talk to other media.
Peter and Nancy Lanza separated in 2001 and divorced in 2009. He said he last saw Adam in October 2010. He said he wanted to maintain contact, but Nancy Lanza wrote to say that Adam didn't want to see his father.
Peter Lanza said Adam was 13 when a psychiatrist diagnosed him with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism not associated with violence. But he believes the syndrome “veiled a contaminant” that wasn't Asperger's. “I was thinking it could mask schizophrenia,” Lanza said.
Peter Lanza told the magazine that his son as a young child was “just a normal little weird kid” who used to spend hours with his father playing with Legos.
But as he grew older, Adam's mental health problems worsened, according to Connecticut State Police documents. A Yale University professor diagnosed Lanza in 2006 with profound autism spectrum disorder, “with rigidity, isolation, and a lack of comprehension of ordinary social interaction and communications,” while also displaying symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, the released documents show.
Peter Lanza said his and Nancy Lanza's concerns about Adam increased when he began middle school.
“It was crystal clear something was wrong,” he said. “The social awkwardness, the uncomfortable anxiety, unable to sleep, stress, unable to concentrate, having a hard time learning, the awkward walk, reduced eye contact. You could see the changes occurring.”
Peter Lanza believes his son had no affection for him at the time of the shootings.
“With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he'd had the chance. I don't question that for a minute,” he told the magazine.
He said he wished Adam had never been born.
“That didn't come right away,” Peter Lanza said about the statement. “That's not a natural thing, when you're thinking about your kid. But, God, there's no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there. That's fairly recent, too, but that's totally where I am.”