The Most Heartbreaking New Detail From the Ongoing Newtown Investigation

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Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 18 2013 1:50 PM

The Most Heartbreaking New Detail From the Ongoing Newtown Investigation

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State police are expected to release their final report soon

Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Connecticut police are expected to release a long-awaited report soon detailing their investigation into exactly what happened on the day of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting, but the Hartford Courant's Dave Altimari and Steven Goode have worked their sources to put together a rather chilling preview of some the investigation's major takeaways. You can, and should, go read the full Courant report, but below you'll find a sampling of the more noteworthy revelations, from details about the sophisticated technology investigators are using to reconstruct the gunman's path to the latest heartbreaking revelation in a tragedy full of them.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

One note before we start: the paper's reporting is based largely on unnamed sources familiar with probe, so keep in mind that there's always a chance for some of the findings' nuances to have been lost along the way. We'll have a more complete picture when the police release their final report.

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Lanza May Have Been Planning to Ambush Police: Adam Lanza parked his car with the passenger's side facing a small brick wall near the school's front entrance, and left a shotgun leaning against the passenger's side door. Given that, police believe that he may have been setting himself up to ambush police officers. "The spot gave him potentially a perfect line of sight to shoot at unsuspecting police driving down the long driveway, around a curve and into his line of fire," the paper reports. "It also provided him cover since the school and woods were behind him."

He Shot His Mother at Close Range: Investigators believe that Lanza began his rampage by shooting his mother, Nancy, in the head four times with a 22-rifle. The gun, the paper reports, "was pressed directly against her forehead and found at her bedside." The bedroom shades were still drawn when police arrive, suggesting to police that she was killed in the day's pre-dawn hours.

The Police Set Up Their Command Center Before Clearing the Room: Two school employees—a secretary and a nurse—who had taken shelter in a closet in the principal's office when the shooting began remained there for "several hours" unbeknownst to the state police who were using the office as their command center.

Authorities Are Piecing Together Lanza's Movements With the Help of an Open Phone Line: State police and the FBI are using "sophisticated sound technology" to reconstruct the path of Lanza's rampage. The secretary in the main office who originally called 911 never hung up the phone, and it is the sounds recorded via that open line that investigators are using to plot the timeline of his actions.

And, Finally, There's This Heartbreaking Paragraph:

Through interviews with surviving children, sources said, investigators learned that some of [Victoria Soto's first-grade] students were holding hands in the far right hand corner near the chalkboard, away from Lanza's initial line of fire. When Lanza stopped firing because his gun jammed, student Jesse Lewis yelled for kids to run. Lewis was shot to death. Six of the children ran past Lanza to safety.

Much more over at the Courant.

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