The FBI’s interview with Ryan Lanza

(a quick note first: I was very hesitant to bring up Ryan Lanza’s name again in connection to the crime he was so publicly and falsely accused of, especially one that took away two members of his family. However, I also consider the information below to be significant, and in any case, the damage has been done as far as the shooter’s brother being caught up in this mess. The privacy ship has sailed, unfortunately.)

(UPDATE 9/5/2014: I’ve posted part 2 of this analysis here.)

Buried in the supplemental materials (Section 13) of the official Sandy Hook report is a curious document: an FBI agent’s summary of an interview with an unnamed witness. 


Among the hundreds of such interview reports in the case files, this one stands out. Whoever was being interviewed knew more about the shooter, Adam Lanza, and his mother Nancy, than practically anyone else short of the shooter’s father Peter (whose name is not redacted in his interviews). They knew which guns Nancy Lanza owned, where they were located in the home, and that Adam Lanza had completed a pistol safety course at a specific gun range.


A few other witness reports have included details that approach this level of familiarity with Nancy’s firearms purchases, but they have all been from people linked to Nancy, who are repeating second-hand information she told them, always noting that she “didn’t like to talk about Adam.” This witness never says that. Instead, he or she offers specific information about Adam’s life and personality, which extremely few people would have knowledge of.


It is particularly significant to note that the interview records this witness as stating that “Adam has no friends, no associates, no girlfriend, but is very ‘computer savvy’, and spends most of his time on his computer.” This is similar to, but distinct from, the many other reports from acquaintances of the shooter who report that they “don’t know if he had any friends” or “doubt he had a girlfriend” or similar. Instead, this witness unequivocally confirms that the Sandy Hook shooter had no associates or relationships at all.

This begs the question of how this person would know the details of the shooter’s social isolation, since if it in fact were so extreme, we would expect that nobody could directly confirm it.

Except for the shooter’s family.

Another noteworthy detail about this report is the date of the interview: 12/14/2012. The day of the shooting. Whoever it was being interviewed, they were so closely linked to the shooter, or the crime scene(s), that they were at or near the top of the FBI’s list in the hours after the shooting.

Given that these files were provided to the State of Connecticut by the FBI as part of their assistance in the state’s investigation of the Sandy Hook shooting, there are confirmations from Connecticut’s side of the contents of the reports. Basically, a receipt for evidence.

The receipts are not arranged or coded in such a way as to know exactly what they correspond to, but they do include names and dates for interview subjects:


“On 12/14/2012, FBI Special Agents Sean P. Lynch, John R. Mulligan Jr. and Todd C. Bina conducted an interview with Ryan Lanza, who is the brother of the shooter in this investigation.”

Of course, December 14th was an extremely busy day for anyone involved in the investigation, and there would have been hundreds of interviews conducted that day. How do we know which interview was with the shooter’s brother?

At this point, it is necessary to turn to supplemental reports from another law enforcement agency, the Hoboken Police Department (filed under Blotter # CH-063484-12 and Case # CH-03669-12).


The only reason that the Hoboken Police Department was involved with the Sandy Hook investigation was that Ryan Lanza lived within their jurisdiction. In the hours after the shooting, as reports circulated that Ryan was responsible, or that he was dead inside his apartment,  the authorities swarmed on that location in Hoboken, NJ. When they subsequently identified him across the street from his apartment building, he was detained at gunpoint, pleading for his life.

Had his brother not been carrying his ID during the shooting, the Hoboken police likely would never have taken Ryan into custody, but rather just scheduled a regular interview, as they did with his father Peter. At the time, Ryan was considered a possible suspect, and every precaution was being taken, including summoning the bomb squad to clear his apartment (with authorities fearing a copycat of the Aurora theater shooter’s efforts to booby trap his own apartment before his rampage.)

This level of attention is apparent in other reports from Hoboken police officers that responded at the same time, to the same location. And in at least one instance, the names of the FBI agents arriving on the at Ryan’s apartment building are listed:



All three of the FBI agents previously noted to have interviewed Ryan Lanza on the 14th (Lynch, Bina, and Mulligan) are noted to have arrived on-scene at this time. The rest of the reports detail how Ryan was brought to the Hoboken Police Department Headquarters for questioning for several hours, then escorted to another location for more questioning and to meet up with his father, all with the FBI still accompanying him.

In other words, there was no time for the agents to go to Connecticut to interview anyone else. They spent the day with Ryan.

Going back to the FBI interview file for a moment, one of the most significant details is that they establish an alibi for the interview subject, via credit card records:


No other interview records take the effort to note an alibi*. And there were never any suspects named/leaked except for Ryan and Adam.

(* = that I’ve seen; I think I’ve read them all, but the report is so bewilderingly laid out that it’s difficult to tell what is and is not a duplicate record)

The Hoboken police, in their reports of the same day, detail the steps the FBI were taking in investigating Ryan:


The detail that the FBI’s interview subject had purchased coffee at Dunkin Donuts, at a specific time, using their credit card, is thus almost certainly the results of the “review of Mr. Lanza’s credit card activity” noted here by the Hoboken Police Department.

Thus, the interview subject has to be Ryan Lanza, absent any other plausible substitute given the information they provided.

Yeah? So what?

So, who cares if this interview record was of Ryan Lanza, or anyone else for that matter? Why is it important?

The answer is that establishing the identity of the interview subject affords credibility for their claims. And some of the claims the interviewee made are very significant, with respect to the ownership of the murder weapon used at Sandy Hook.


(continued soon in Part 2: Custody of the Firearms in the Lanza home. Meanwhile, below is a full copy of the text of the FBI interview report summarized above, for easier reading)

[REDACTED] date of birth {DOB} [REDACTED], residing at [REDACTED] Cell [REDACTED] was interviewed at [REDACTED] on 12/14/2012. After being advised of the identity of the interviewing Agent and the nature of the interview, [REDACTED] provided the following information:

On 12/14/2012 [REDACTED] left his residence for work, [REDACTED], at approximately 8:50am. [REDACTED] purchased coffee at Dunkin Donuts [REDACTED] with his Bank of America Credit Card and arrived at his office at approximately 9:45am.

[long redacted section]

ADAM was diagnosed with Ashberger’s (sic) Syndrome, a form of autism, in approximately the 8th grade. He left high school in either the 9th or 10th grade, and essentially became a “recluse”, shutting himself in his bedroom, playing video games all day. He attended a few courses at Western Connecticut State University, but never attended full time.

[long redacted section]

[REDACTED] stated that ADAM has no friends, no associates, no girlfriend, but is very “computer savvy”, and spends most of his time on his computer. At some point ADAM worked briefly at a computer repair shop in Newtown, but never held any other job, including summer work while in school.

[REDACTED] ADAM became very interested in firearms, and at one point considered joining the military. ADAM enjoyed target shooting [long redacted section]. ADAM

and NANCY owned at least four guns: a black AR-15 semi-automatic .223 rifle, a Lee Enfield .308 rifle, a “semi-automatic” shotgun and a .445cal pistol. [REDACTED]

believed all the weapons had been legally purchased by NANCY, and were registered in her name, but that ADAM actually owned the AR-15, and that all the weapons were kept in a gun safe in ADAM’s bedroom closet.

[REDACTED] advised that ADAM had taken an NRA safety certification course that allowed him to fire the .45cal pistol at the Danbury range, and that to his knowledge ADAM was able to purchase all his ammunition legally.

[REDACTED] advised that ADAM and NANCY had a “close relationship”, and as he had no outside friends, she became the only person ADAM would talk to. Although ADAM spent the majority of his time playing video games, they were non-violent games. His favorite was Super Mario Brother. Although he often became frustrated at not being able to “express himself”, ADAM never became violent. He never used drugs or alcohol, and actually “hated the thought of it”. [REDACTED] could provide no explanation or motive for ADAM’s actions.


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