NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 14, 2012

School gunman had close family ties to Amesbury, Haverhill


Staff Writer

---- — The man police say killed 26 people, including 20 children, at a Connecticut school today had family roots in Haverhill, Amesbury, and Southern New Hampshire.

Police identified the killer as Adam Lanza, 20, who they said took his own life. His older brother, Ryan Lanza, was taken into custody. Earlier, a police source mistakenly identified Ryan as the killer.

The brothers were the sons of Peter Lanza, 54, and Nancy (Champion) Lanza. The parents were married in Kingston, N.H., in 1981, according to town records. Adam Lanza was born in Kingston in 1992.

Peter Lanza was living in Amesbury when he married and his wife was living in Kingston. The couple lived on Howard Street in Haverhill from 1985 to 1990.

It is not clear when the Lanzas and their two sons moved to Connecticut, where Nancy Lanza was a teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Police say Adam Lanza drove to the school this morning in his mother's car, entered the school and killed 20 children and six adults before committing suicide. CNN reported that Nancy Lanza was found dead at a home in Connecticut, bringing the toll to 28.

It was the second worst school massacre in U.S history.

Several family members still live in the Haverhill area. No one answered the door at the home of anuncle of the suspected killer in Plaistow. When a woman pulled into the driveway, a man yelled from the back, instructing the woman to come inside and not to talk to a reporter outside. Someone then pulled down the shades in the front windows of the house. A short time later, police arrived and asked the reporter to leave.

The shooter's grandfather, Peter Lanza, who died two years ago at age 83, was born and raised in Haverhill and also lived in Plaistow and Groveland. He was an investment broker and insurance salesman with the John Hancock Life Insurance Co. He also played bass in the former Ray Gardella Band, which performed locally at weddings and other social events.