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U.S EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Lanza feared son, Adam, was ‘getting worse’; told friend ‘he was burning himself with a lighter’ and that she was 'losing him'

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The 54-year-old woman was shot several times in the head by her son, the coroner's office reports, making her the first victim of a rampage that would claim 27 lives. ‘She was having trouble reaching him,’ pal says.
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By <span style="font-weight: bold">Matthew Lysiak , Kerry Wills </span>AND <span style="font-weight: bold"> Stephen Rex Brown </span>
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Dec 17th, 2012


Less than a week before her son would launch his horrifying attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun-loving mom Nancy Lanza knew “she was losing him” and that “he was getting worse.”

A drinking buddy of Lanza’s told the Daily News that her son Adam had long been troubled and rarely came up in conversation.

“She just looked down at the glass and said, ‘I don’t know. I’m worried I’m losing him,’” said the bar pal, who asked not to be named, of the ominous conversation at the watering hole My Place in Newtown, Conn.

“She said it was getting worse. She was having trouble reaching him.”

<span style="font-weight: bold">GUNMAN ADAM LANZA LEARNED TO SHOOT FROM HIS GUN-COLLECTING MOM</span>
Adam, who killed Nancy Lanza, 54, before unleashing a nightmarish attack that killed 20 children and six others at the school Friday, was prone to hurting himself, the drinking buddy said.

“Nancy told me he was burning himself with a lighter. In the ankles or arms or something,” he recalled of a conversation they had about a year ago. “It was like he was trying to feel something.”

Authorities say Adam, 20, the 20-year-old shot himself as police stormed the school that had become one of the most horrifying crime scenes in recent memory.

In hindsight, the conversation last week over craft beers could not have been more foreboding, the friend said.


“It was weird. She never really talked about (Adam),” he said. “She mainly talked about her oldest kid (Ryan). I knew about the other one, but she never spoke much about him.

“She looked disturbed. She was looking down at her glass and kind of talking slowly,” he added.

Nancy’s morose disposition could not have been more was totally out of character.

“You have to know Nancy to know how weird that was,” he said. “She was just always so full of life.”

As she lamented her son’s deteriorating mental state, the drinking buddy took a phone call. When he started chatting with her again, the subject had changed and Nancy was acting her normal, happy self.

<span style="font-weight: bold">IN TRAGEDY, HEROISM AND SACRIFICE</span>Lanza’s anonymous pal had nothing but fond memories of the die-hard Red Sox fan who had season tickets to Fenway Park.

“She was a country girl” who loved to hunt with a falcon that would scare game she’d blast out of the sky, he said.

She had “at least a dozen” firearms — mainly larger rifles,” the friend added. He said he didn’t know anything about the pistols.

“Adam learned how to shoot a rifle by the time he was 9 years old,” said the friend, who added that he never met the disturbed kid. “They would go to the range.”

But she was no reckless gun nut.

“Nancy was a responsible gun owner,” the friend said. “It was important that she teach her son how to responsibly use a firearm.”

Her relationship with her ex-husband, Peter Lanza, was strained.

“She didn’t talk about him a lot, but I knew they didn’t get along,” the friend said.

Nancy knew that a mother’s love was not enough for her youngest, emotionally detached son.

“I asked her if she was getting him help, and she said she was,” the friend recalled.

The owners of the bar where the fateful conversation took place also disagreed with the notion that Nancy Lanza was a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein who taught her son how to kill. Their customer of 17 years was not that reckless.

“She was a strong, kind, caring and loving person,” said John Tambascio, the co-owner of My Place. “There was nothing odd or weird about her.”

Mark Tambascio, the other owner of the bar, said caring for her troubled son was Lanza’s full-time job.

“She was very much involved in his life. She tried to get as much help for him as she possibly could,” he said. “She didn’t work at the school. She gave all her time to him.”

"As he got older it got harder for her — getting him into regular society, living on his own, having a regular job.

Despite Adam’s struggles, the brothers said they could never have imagined such evil was boiling inside of him.

“She wanted him to succeed in life. There was never any impression that he was violent or had outbursts,” John Tambascio said.

Asperger's Syndrome - which has been eyed as a possible cause of Adam Lanza's callous attack - is not an adequate explanation, Mark Tambascio said.

"Tons of kids have Asperger's and they know the difference between right and wrong," he said. "I think he must've been quite disturbed."

Another acquaintance of Lanza's, Jim Leff, recalled her as an uncommonly generous person. His most memorable encounter with her, which he described on his blog, involved her overhearing a conversation he was having with a friend regarding a loan.

"We discussed drawing up a letter of agreement, and that I'd hold the title to his little sailboat as collateral," Leff wrote. "Nancy overheard the discussion, and, unblinkingly, told him she'd just write him a check then and there.

The Tambascio brothers plan to memorialize their regular customer through a brass plate bearing her name on the back of a barstool.

“Nancy was a single mother raising two sons — one of them with a disability — but you never heard her complain about that,” John Tambascio said. She was tough and proud of them. She had maybe a few nerves about the younger one, but you never heard her say, ‘Oh, woe is me.’”
 

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“Nancy was a responsible gun owner,” the friend said. “It was important that she teach her son how to responsibly use a firearm.”

nope. gotta disagree. a responsible gun owner would keep all guns locked up. and if she knew her kid had mental problems, she would have made sure he had no access to those guns. its nice that she let the kid have access at a young age, but a responsible gun owner would make sure that when those guns were out of the safe, the person handling them would be properly supervised and mentally competent. this is her fault. its her picture that should be splashed up all over the place, not her kids.
 

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Pumpgun, I see what your saying, but I'm wondering how many of us actually do "keep all guns locked up"? I know I don't, and I've thought about this many times, but not sure what the answer is. Even just for home protection, if I wake up in the middle of the night and find myself in the position of having to defend my home and protect my family, I don't want to have to run to a safe or even fumble with lock boxes or trigger locks. I guess maybe we all have to try to figure out what works for our situation. Unfortunately, mrs Lanza didn't.
 

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Does anyone find it odd that the reporter states "drinking buddy". Are they trying to make her sound like a lush.

Yes, we are responsible gun owners but all drink ourselves senseless.
 

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to answer your question pap, i keep all my guns in a heavy duty safe that only i have the combo to. i have teenagers in my house unsupervised at times. i trust them completely, yet i still keep all my guns locked up. in my situation, i do not feel the need to have a gun nearby for protection. i feel the risk outweighs the benefit. i have other means of protection that cannot be used irresponsibly by others. if i lived in a situation where i felt a gun was needed handy, i would own a combo lock safe or biometric and keep it close by. there are ways to defend yourself and still keep your home safe from accidents and irresponsible behavior. too many people let their kids have full access to their guns, forgetting that even great kids will be kids at times. and if you have mental issues in the home, even more precaution needs taken, even disarming yourself if necessary.
 

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Great answer pump. I'm going to have to do something I guess, just for peace of mind. My kids are grown and have been out of the house for a couple years now, and I've gotten lax. But now I got remarried and have a 12 year old step son in the house, who is a GREAT kid, but- like you said, still a kid.
 

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those little biometric bedside safes look nice for handguns. one of these days i will invest in one. wouldn't work for a long gun though.
 
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