Skip to Content

Could Adam Lanza’s motive for last week’s sickening Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have been fear of being committed to a psychiatric facility?

Nancy Lanza, the 20-year-old’s mother, was in the process of having her son committed when he went on the killing spree, a lifelong family acquaintance said.

A senior law enforcement official also confirmed that Adam Lanza’s anger over his mother’s plan is being investigated as a possible motive for the massacre.

Lanza killed 28 people – himself, his mother, six adults and 20 children – in Newtown, Conn., marking one of the worst mass murders in recent memory.


“From what I’ve been told, Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” said Joshua Flashman, 25.

Flashman grew up not far from where the shooting took place.

“Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry.”

“I think this could have been it, what set him off.”

It’s unclear whether Adam’s mother, Nancy Lanza, was really filing that specific paperwork, because court officials say that such records are sealed.

She would have had to go through a protracted process to acquire legal rights to commit an adult to a hospital or psychiatric ward against his will.

As for ties to the school, Nancy Lanza was not a teacher, as was initially reported, but she reportedly volunteered with kindergartners there for years.

Flashman said that Adam “believed she cared more for the children than she did for him.”

On the day of the massacre, Nancy was Adam’s first victim at the house were they lived.

Flashman said Nancy was good friends with the school’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and psychologist, both of whom were killed during the incident.

Adam had also reportedly cut off communication with his father, Peter, in 2010. It’s unclear if he kept in touch with his older brother, Ryan Lanza, 24.

Investigators’ efforts to gain insight into the deeply disturbed mind that planned and executed this massacre have been exhaustive, and not without roadblocks.

Police believe Adam Lanza’s hard drive may have been damaged by the killer in the days leading up to the shooting, rendering its data unreadable.