Shooter Adam Lanza Recalled as 'Painfully Shy'

Classmates say he was smart, didn't make many friends

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 15, 2012 6:58 AM CST

(Newser) – Stories about Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza have a familiar theme: He was a smart, quiet, polite kid who was was socially awkward and gave no sign this might happen. Samples of coverage about the 20-year-old, who attended the same elementary school where the rampage took place:

  • Hartford Courant: Ex-classmate Kateleen Soy recalls him as "painfully shy" and a "little hard to talk to," but adds, "I wanted people to know he wasn't always a monster. He became one, but he wasn't always that way." Another, Andrew Lapple, recalls: "He was always carrying around his laptop holding onto it real tight. He walked down the halls against the wall almost like he was afraid of people. He was definitely kind of strange but you'd never think he'd do something like this."
  • Associated Press: "Family and friends remember Adam Lanza as many things—intelligent, nerdy, goth, remote, thin." AP says police officials think he might have had some kind of personality disorder. Ex-classmate Joshua Milas from Newtown High School: "We would hang out, and he was a good kid. He was smart. He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius."
  • Danbury News-Times: "A woman who lives near the Lanza family said Lanza was a 'reserved' and shy youth who appeared to be 'troubled.'"

  • Reuters: Tim Arnone, who went to school with Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary and at Newtown High School, said they were in the AV-club together, "the nerdiest club in the school." He said Lanza was "driven hard" by his parents, who divorced a few years ago, to do well in school. His mom in particular "pushed him really hard to be smarter and work harder in school." A local landscaper adds that she was an avid gun collector who took him target shooting.

An undated photo of Adam Lanza.
An undated photo of Adam Lanza.   (YouTube)
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