Official Report Does Not Tie Sandy Hook Shooting With Video Games

A report on the investigation of last year’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has been released to the public.  The purpose of the report is to identify persons other than the shooter who are criminally responsible for the twenty-seven homicides that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 and indicate if there will be any state prosecutions.

The Connecticut State’s Attorney concluded “that the shooter acted alone and was solely criminally responsible for his actions of that day. Moreover, none of the evidence developed to date demonstrates probable cause to believe that any other person conspired with the shooter to commit these crimes or aided and abetted him in doing so.”  As such there will be no state criminal prosecution as result of these crimes.

Unfortunately, the investigation did not unearth a motive behind the shooting or why Sandy Hook in particular was targeted.  The shooter did attend the school as a child but investigators say it could just as likely be the fact that the school was nearby.

So, how about video games?  Did the shooter play them?  Yes, he did.  He seemed especially enamored of Dance Dance Revolution and went to a local theater nearly every weekend to play for “four to ten hours.”

At home he played a variety of games: Dynasty Tactics, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, Onimusha, Dynasty Warriors, The Two Towers, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Dead or Alive 3, Halo, Halo 2, Lego Star Wars, MechAssault, Mercenaries, MGS2 Substance, Panzer Dragoon ORTA, Shenmue II, Spiderman, Splinter Cell 2, Splinter Cell-CT, Star Wars Battlefront, Star Wars Republic Commando, Tenchu: Return from Darkness, The Return of the King, Worms Forts Under Seige, Left for Dead, Metal Gear Solid, Dead Rising, Half Life, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Shin Megami Tensei, Dynasty Warriors, Vice City, Team Fortress and Doom.  He was also said to be a fan of Super Mario Bros., Phantasy Star Online, Paper Mario, Luigi’s Mansion and Pikmin.

As far as mental health goes, the shooter had Asperger’s Disorder, OCD and anxiety issues.  He refused to take suggested medication or participate in suggested behavior therapies.  That said, the mental health professionals who saw him “did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.”

The shooter had an interest in mass shootings and as reported earlier in the year, did keep a spreadsheet chronicling various mass shootings over the years.  Other notable finds indicating such an interest: internet bookmarks pertaining to mass murder, two videos showing suicide by gunshot, commercial movies depicting mass murders, a computer game titled “School Shooting,” images of the shooter holding pistols and rifles to his head, a five-second video dramatizing children being shot, a document written showing the prerequisites for a mass murder spreadsheet, and a large amount of materials relating to the Columbine shootings and documents on mass murders.  (That’s not to say these were his only interests.  He also had comedy videos, music, internet bookmarks for candy, images of LEGO creations and pics of hamsters.)

All of the firearms involved in the shooting were legally purchased by the shooter’s mother and there’s no evidence to suggest that any of the ammunition was bought by anyone other than her.  The shooter did not have a permit to carry a pistol nor had he ever had one.  His mother did though and shooting was a family pastime; they both shot pistols and rifles at a local range.  The mother reportedly “thought it was good to learn responsibility for guns.”

The State’s Attorney sums up the investigation thusly:

“The shooter had significant mental health issues that, while not affecting the criminality of the shooter’s mental state for the crimes or his criminal responsibility for them, did affect his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others, even those to whom he should have been close.  Whether this contributed in any way is unknown.  The shooter did not recognize or help himself deal with those issues.  He had a familiarity with and access to firearms and ammunition and an obsession with mass murders, in particular the Columbine shootings.”

You can read the Official Sandy Hook Report right here.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    To be fair, I don't think his mother knew the extent of his morbid fascinations.  It's pretty clear she was not allowed in his room.


    Andrew Eisen

  2. 0
    GrimCW says:

    That entirely disregards the fascination with the previous shootings, something the fitness class shooter didn't have. 

    He did have a problem with rejection, and wanted to take it out on those whom he felt rejected him in general (women). Depressed and feeling no other outlet, wanted to go out at take a few of those with him.

    This kid was obsessed with previous mass shootings, and suicides, had an entire back log of information regarding previous ones both physical and digital. Information provided in excessive detail by the news media.

    That obsession, and his own writings and images show what he was thinking. He already had suicide in mind, and plans on how to make it big like previous shooters. Hell, they even outright mention a document on prerequisites for the act.

    Not something a person not planning such a thing would have generally about. All of this built upon previous shootings that the media blitzed, glorified, and have kept detailed records of to the point they constantly come back and make these murderers famous over. This kid has apparently had a long standing fascination with these sorts of killings overall.

    Whether he wanted the attention or not, I'll admit is questionable. But what is clear is his attention to these sorts of killings was not on a healthy level, and his mother should've seen it coming. From the sounds, YEARS ago. And known not to keep weapons in the house within his access. 


  3. 0
    Mrxknown_JG says:

    Sorry, but are there games that a "large segment of the gamer population" does not have that leads to violent actions?

    No matter what games he had indie or mainstream, there isn't even a single game that as soon as anyone plays it will lead them to commit murder or other violent actions.

  4. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    So the list of games he had looks remarkably like the list of games that a large segment of the gamer population would have. There is a healthy mix of violent and non-violent, shooter and non-shooter games in there. So one would really have to omit a lot of information to say that he was obsessed with violent games.

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  5. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Eh, probably the reason it jumped out at me as being worthy of note is this is a type and degree of stress that I have often seen downplayed or outright dismissed by people working with ASD peeps, including therapists.  It is a type of disruption that tends to not get taken all that seriously even though it can have significant impact on the person in question.

  6. 0
    Mrxknown_JG says:

    My point being that whether there was an obsession or no obsession with violent games. The games themselves have no impact on a person's actions.

    It is the mental condition of the person that decides what actions they take.

  7. 0
    Mrxknown_JG says:

    I cannot fathom what went through his mind. He possessed a mind apart from the majority.

    The report suggests to me that his goal was not glory. I do believe it was due to his medical condition, but to what end….

    Having said that, your posts bears to my mind an incident where a man shot and killed women at a yoga class in August a few years ago.

    He had tried to commit the act in the preceding January, but, as he is quoted, "chickened out".

    He had a personal website that seemed average. And yet he had a section blocked by a password.

    Enter the date of the shooting and there is his journal. Chronicling his prior attempt and his feelings of rejection by women. That document suggests he knew police would investigate as usual, but why a website. Anyone could have accessed it after the shooting and they have.

    The journal doesn't seem to state he wanted the public to acknowledge him, but that he felt weakened by women and was frustrated by his lack of success.

    Did he want the public to access that section? Who knows, but unlike the shooter of Sandy Hook this guy left something describing his feelings.

    I just wished these people would seek and receive help. Sandy Hook's shooter refrained from taking his drugs and for that a future for those children are gone.

    People that seek attention do not hide away and stay quiet, they make attempts to be heard. Sandy Hook's shooter, probably, due to his medical condition didn't.

  8. 0
    GrimCW says:

    I love how they'll quickly dismiss that he had a large collection of information regarding previous mass shootings and suicides as though it means literally nothing.

    Despite its oft a common link in each of these shootings, that the person(s) involved nearly have always had some sort of attraction to the over done media attention given to the previous mass shooters. especially of late. These are outright copy cat killers, they want attention and the news media is giving it to them.

    I recall another one where the guy busted into a church and was quoted as saying "this is your columbine" or some such. Thankfully (get this) there was someone there with a firearm that manage to shoot back and prevent much harm to the innocents.

    If the media would stop blitzing these and glorifying the whole thing, these people would have less reason to be doing this. The media attention, combined with the mental health issues, build right up on attention seeking, and the best possible way to get it.

    Now half the world knows this kids name, many know the name of the Virginia Tech shooter, and plenty still know the names of the columbine shooters. Each of their names now listed in history books and taught to people. Forever having made a mark in some way.

    You can't just openly dismiss that reasoning can be easily found within that. In their depressed and whatever else minds, they more than likely see being known and dead as better than living and unknown.

  9. 0
    Mrxknown_JG says:

    No need for the general public to look for a trigger since no one from his family, friends, his medical doctor, or psychologist saw hints of him being a danger to anyone.

    The report clearly stated that. I understand where you are going, but in a case where no one who was treating him saw violent actions or compulsions on his part, then looking for a trigger is fruitless.

    I would like to know if anyone of those people knew of his interest in mass shootings. He had an excel sheet and a document describing how he wanted to organize an excel sheet of those shootings.

    Someone should have know that and I wonder why, if they did, that didn't set off alarms.

    I admit, I feel like it is very easy to close parts of yourself off from others whether intentioanlly or not. So it is very likely no one saw it until it was too late.

  10. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Wait… I think this is the first time I have seen this bit:

    Ms. Lanza was planning to move from Newtown, possibly to Washington or to North Carolina, with Adam. To prepare the house for sale, she intended to buy a recreational vehicle for Adam to sleep in because he refused to go to a hotel.


    *blink* *blink* this… this really deserves more then a side mention.   While aspies vary wildly, I have seen some that go into suicidal spirals at the idea of being removed from their space like that, and it sounds like his isolation and need for controlled space was worse then most.

    If we were going to look for a trigger (no pun intended) I would put money on this one.

  11. 0
    GrimCW says:

    I saw that yesterday on some news channel (don't recall what one, was at work so I barely got a glance)

    They glossed over his obsession with previous shootings, though noted columbine was especially of interest, and then spent a good bit of time going over his list of games and consoles. Showing pictures and listing titles.

  12. 0
    Sean Thordsen says:

    So although this study turned out about how one would expect it – clearly showing he had a history of mental problems albeit not serious but a VERY unhealthy fascination with mass murder and violence I still sadly expect at least some news site to just jump in on the list of video games.  Despite his list being quite diverse a number of buzz word titles and shooting games are on the list and I fully expect somebody somewhere to hare horse blinds on and read it in the most negative way possible.

  13. 0
    ecco6t9 says:

    So other than some mental issues he was like everyone else?


    Forget his meds that day? Someone tamper with his meds? Did a doctor change his meds? Those are the questions we should ask.

  14. 0
    mthiel says:

    I remember when the Virginia Tech report came out, which went out of its way to state Cho did *not* play violent games, a certain lawyer (now ex-lawyer) came here and tried to argue "he didn't have friends, so we really don't know what he was doing in his spare time" and "he removed his hard drive, so he really was obsessively playing violent games, and he didn't want people finding out he was a gamer".

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