FORMER classmates of Adam Lanza, 20, identified in local reports as the gunman behind the worst school shooting in American history, have described a quiet loner they barely remember speaking during his time at high school.
They spoke of a smartly dressed, intelligent pupil who was nervous and rarely seen in the company of others.
Lanza, who is reported to have lived with his mother Nancy, did not appear in the Newtown High School yearbook of 2010. A comment on his entry read “camera shy”.
“I never saw him with anyone,” former classmate Olivia DeVivo said. “I can’t even think of one person that was associated with him.”
Another former classmate, Joshua Milas, described him as “probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius. We would hang out, and he was a good kid. He was smart.”
A former school bus driver in the town, Marsha Moskowitz, said she remembered the Lanza boys. “You know the trouble kids, and you figure, ‘Pfft, that one’s going to be trouble.’ But I never would have thought that about them,” she told local media.
Catherine Urso, who was attending a vigil Friday evening in Newtown, Connecticut, said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style. “He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths,” she said.
He belonged to the school technology club and hosted computer gaming parties.
Lanza is reported to have lived with his mother in an upmarket part of Newtown, Connecticut. The house is five miles from Sandy Hook School, which some reports said he had attended in his youth. He went on to Newtown High School, but seems to have made few friends. He apparently had no Facebook profile and his electronic footprint was minimal.
Lanza was “obviously not well”, a relative told American media, and police are investigating whether he suffered from a personality disorder. A New York Times report said several high school classmates believed Lanza to have Asperger’s syndrome. But his aunt, Marsha Lanza, said he had been raised by kind, nurturing parents, who would not have hesitated to seek counselling for their son if he needed it.
Lanza’s elder brother, 24-year-old Ryan, had moved to New Jersey after graduating from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. He now works for the accountants Ernst & Young and is helping police with enquiries, although he has reportedly had no contact with his brother since 2010.
The parents divorced in 2009, having separated at least three years earlier. His father, Peter Lanza, moved to Stamford, Connecticut, and remarried three years later.
Both Lanza sons are said to have been deeply affected by their parents’ separation and divorce in 2009. Neighbours say they were left depressed, but their mother had continued to work to protect them.