Adam Lanza, Not Ryan, IDed as Suspected Gunman

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 14 2012 5:42 PM

"IT WASN'T ME I WAS AT WORK": Social Media Hunt May Have Led to Suspect's Brother

A screenshot of Ryan Lanza's Facebook profile. Ryan was originally identified as the suspected gunman in Friday's school shooting, but officials now say the shooter was his younger brother Adam.
Josh Levin Josh Levin

Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

Earlier this afternoon, in the rush to identify the perpetrator of the Newtown school shooting, bunches of Twitter users (including the Slate Twitter account) rushed to link to the Facebook profile of someone named Ryan Lanza. At that time, someone by that name had been identified as the shooter by many, many media outlets. Could this be the same person?


Almost immediately, the Facebook Ryan Lanza’s friends began posting screenshots of his account. "Fuck you CNN it wasn’t me," this Lanza wrote on Facebook. He also posted: "I’m on the bus home now it wasn’t me" and "IT WASN’T ME I WAS AT WORK IT WASN’T ME."

Now, hours later, the New York Post, the AP, and others are reporting that the shooter’s name is Adam Lanza, not Ryan Lanza. And it appears that the Ryan Lanza Facebook account that was passed around immediately after the Newtown shooting belongs to the suspect’s brother.

According to public records searches, Ryan and Adam Lanza have both lived at 36 Yogananda St. in Newtown. A Nancy Lanza is also listed at that address. News reports indicate that Nancy is the mother of Ryan and Adam, that she worked at Sandy Hook Elementary as a teacher, and that she is presumed dead. The Hartford Courant is reporting that, in addition to the 26 victims found at Sandy Hook Elementary School, "another person was found dead at 36 Yogananda St. in Newtown." The Courant does not identify the person found dead at that address, but CBS News and CNN are now reporting that Lanza's mother was found dead in her home.

Public records searches also show that the same Ryan Lanza who lived in Newtown has recently shared an address in Hoboken, N.J., with people named Jessica O’Brien and Michael Shapiro. The circulated screenshots of Ryan Lanza’s Facebook account show responses from a Jessica O’Brien and a Michael Shapiro. In response to Lanza posting "Everyone shut the fuck up it wasn’t me," O’Brien wrote: "Do you need anything ready for when you get home? Can I set anything out for you to grab and go? Anything else I can do L". In response to Lanza writing "Fuck you CNN it wasn’t me," Shapiro wrote "this is batshit insane" and "how the fuck do they jump to such a conclusion with zero evidence."

This post, originally published at 5:22 p.m., was updated at 5:42 p.m. to include the reports that Lanza's mother was found dead in her home.


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