Monday, May 19, 2014

Sandy Hook School Shooting Analysis Part 3: The Deadliest Minute in Mass Shooting History

Sandy Hook School Shooting Analysis Part 3: The Deadliest Minute
In this analysis series, I am going to put to writing my analysis as I first discussed Sandy Hook: The Deadliest Minute.  This series of blog posts will examine the shooters gear up and a step by step analysis of the shooting according to the report and other relevant evidence.

Part 1 - Sandy Hook Shooting Analysis: The Gear

Part 2 - Sandy Hook School Shooting Analysis: The Animal Attacks - Room 10 is first.

Adam Lanza, hereinafter referred to as "shooter", is standing in Room 10. Having followed his pattern of ejecting one live round in loading the weapon, he has 29 rounds in his rifle. It is about 9:36 am.  He heads out of Room 10, continuing eastward and runs to Room 8.

Room 6 - Similar restroom to Room 8
Room 8, consisting of two teachers and 16 children, is in a panic and trying to cram themselves into the small restroom in the south west corner of the classroom.  The restroom is very small, closet sized restroom; according to the report it is 4'7" X 3'6". The restroom door swings inward, making the door nearly impossible to close. An inward swinging door and a restroom crammed full of kids was a deadly combination in this instance.

There are reports from the children that throughout the shooting, the shooter was angry and was yelling while he was shooting.  The angry man was coming.  The door closes behind him as he enters.

This wasn't a target shooting session requiring skill or marksmanship, it was a matter of pulling the trigger at close range.  No one could miss.

Before we try assimilate what happens after the shooter opens fire, let's analyze the data.  It is important to understand that what happened in Room 8 was a massacre of war crime proportions; however, to get there we analyze backwards from the data released by the Connecticut State Police. 

There were 80 casings in Room 8. This indicates the shooter fired 80 rounds inside that classroom.  There were three magazines on the floor of Room 8.  One magazine was empty.  One magazine had 10 rounds remaining. One magazine had 13 rounds.  There was one live round on the floor.  1, 2

If we observe the position of the casings, as noted by the dots in the image below, and understand the above data, the picture of what happened becomes clear.

The shooter entered Room 8 marching to a firing position and opened fire. He fires all 29 rounds from his magazine into the teachers and children and ejects the empty magazine.  Rounds pierce one body and enter the next or slap into the tile wall.   Instinctively, those still alive are cowering under the withering fire.  At the rate of fire heard on the 911 calls, firing the 29 rounds likely took about 10-15seconds.

He quickly loads another magazine into the weapon. In doing so, he ejects a live round on the ground. He fires 19 more rounds.  The rifle stops firing, likely suffering a condition called a "failure to feed", whereby the magazine fails to feed the next round into the chamber.

To remedy the failure to feed, the shooter ejects the magazine with 10 rounds remaining.  He is advancing as he fires. The shooter is firing quickly, aiming for heads and chests.

The shooter has ranked dozens of mass murders based on kills on a spread sheet. This killing has been his obsession for years.  He wants kills, he wants to be in the records, and firing at close range, he ensures his victims are shot dead.

Loading a third magazine, at near point blank range, he fires 17 rounds. The weapon again stops firing.  He ejects that magazine with 13 rounds remaining.  He loads a fourth magazine and fires 15 more rounds before the the weapon again stops firing.

That represents the eighty shots fired as indicated by the eighty casings in the room, matching the physical evidence as provided in the report. The dust from the tile walls, hammered with rounds as they piece the bodies, has coated the rifle with a white power.

Both teachers, Lauren Rousseau and Rachael D'Avino are dead and laying just on the outermost section of the doorway of the small closet sized restroom. The teachers died attempting to shield the children.  Fourteen first grade children are dead: Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Green, Madeline Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski,  James Mattioli, Grace Mcdonnell, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, and Caroline Previdi. Ben Wheeler has a pulse and is breathing; however, he is unconscious. He will be carried to an ambulance by an officer and will be pronounced dead at Danbury Hospital.  The sole survivor of the massacre in Room 8, a girl, had been hiding in the corner of the restroom playing dead. She is uninjured.  A witness statement in the report who saw the girl rescue reports she is completely covered in blood and flesh. 

The devastation takes less than 2 minutes and is the deadliest minute of mass shooting history.

I need to digress for a moment because the subject of the victims and their wounds serves as a source of confusion.

Just what carnage is wrought firing 80 rounds into a pile of first graders? Since it is truly unimaginable, our mind cannot accept the truth.  We can't believe it. We can't understand it. We can't grasp it. Those who saw it will never recover from it.  How can the human mind fathom it? This is an inhumane inhuman atrocity.

The truth is the 5.56mm round is designed to kill people. That is it's purpose.

First, start from the beginning.  This round has been the primary service round for our military since the 1960's. Over 50 years of service.  Police forces nationwide utilize this weapon.  Many of our allies, those that can afford it, utilize this weapon.  Why? The round is highly effective at dispatching it's target and has withstood the test of time and war.  The AR15 style weapon firing this round is extremely accurate, effective, and deadly. Here, the shooter is firing at near point blank distances. He cannot miss.

The victims, all shot multiple times with "kill shots" are dead.  In first responder terms, they suffered "wounds incompatible with life", another term used is "Black", a term taken from from the mass casualty trauma tag put on victims without respiration during a mass casualty incident.  These are the "clean" terms to describe little bodies that have been torn to pieces by an effective weapon.

I believe some may not be aware of the damage caused by this round. Some imagine a gun shot like on TV, cartoons, or a spaghetti western.   These same  people wonder why these victims were not taken to helicopters.  The truth is, the Animal didn't just kill them. He over-killed them.  Just as he shot his mother in the head 4 times; just as he stood over the bodies of Hochsprung and Sherlach and fired multiple times into them, long after they were obviously dead, he shot the victims in Room 8 three to eleven times, and they were very dead.

 I debated whether to put some links to wounds caused by a 5.56 mm round; I decided to do so because it is important to this event.  Do you want the truth? Can you handle the truth?  Take these photos and  apply these 3-11 of these wounds over these little six year old bodies, to their head, their chest, their stomachs, and you get your answer. 

 Click Here 1      Click Here 2     Click Here 3    Click Here 4     Click Here 5
Click Here  6    Click Here 7

This is the horrific scene these first responders faced, and still face everyday in post traumatic condition.  There was no saving these victims. There was nothing the responding police and EMS could do except limit exposure of the carnage by ensuring limited access to the scene.  Ambulances  were not needed for these teachers and children. They were dead.

The air inside the room would be nearly unbreathable due to the gun powder.  The shooter retreats to the hallway, gasping for breath, overjoyed at the success of his mission.  Based on his extensive study, he knows this is going in the record books, he will be famous. Instinctively, he heads east; he wants to go to his next target, he wants to kill more children. However, his rifle is not operational. He can hear the police sirens in the parking lot and coming from a distance and knows the police are closing in.  In the hallway, he is attempting to get his rifle in operation.

The shooter ejects four live rounds on the hallway floor in an attempt to get this overheating rifle into operation before he finally discards the magazine on the floor. There were 11 rounds left in the magazine.

The shooter then retreats back into Room 10.  He surveys the scene and takes in the devastation he has caused, planned for over two years.   He looks again at Victoria Soto, Jessie Lewis, and the others dead on the floor.   He puts a new magazine of 30 rounds into his weapon and finally gets it loaded. The police are coming.  On chat forums he has mocked mass shooters who were 'stupid enough' to allow themselves to be captured. He will not suffer that fate.

He moves to the area of Room 10's restroom. Huddling inside the restroom are a first grade boy and a girl.  Luckily for them, he wont turn the door knob.  Slightly disoriented. He starts firing again.  He fires 15 rounds in staggered succession.  Some of hi
rounds strike the Christmas decorations on the windows. 

Again, the rifle stops firing.  Angrily, he discards the weapon onto the floor, there is 1 round in the chamber and 14 rounds in the magazine.   49 rounds were fired in his two trips into Room 10, evidenced by the 49 casings documented officers.  34 rounds were fired in his first trip and 15 rounds in his second trip.

The shooter pulls his Glock-20 10mm pistol from the drop holster on his leg. The pistol is jammed from previous firing. This could be caused by the weak, anorexic stature of the shooter and an effect known as "limp wristing"; whereby the force holding the weapon is not enough to secure the weapon as it cycles another round.  The shooter ejects four live pistol rounds onto the floor of Room 10, in frustration, unable to load the weapon, before he finally getting a round to seat.  He puts the pistol to the back of his head, satisfied with his mission, and fires in an upwards trajectory.  Parts of his brain spray the paper at the top of the white board displaying yet more Christas decorations, near Victoria Soto's writing of the date, December 14, 2012.

Several responding officers heard the final volley of shots and those shots and the suicide shot are recorded on two 911 calls: Janitor Rick Thorne's call and the parent in Room 9.  The Animal falls dead at 9:40:03. The rampage is over.

The school is completely silent. The shooters body in the fetal position near the doorway.  Hair and blood are on the hole in his hat. The smell of gun power wafts through the halls.

Newtown officers are making their way into the building.  They see two bodies in the north hall way and a man in the south hallway, the janitor Rick Thorn. He is on the phone with dispatch. He relays the police message that there are "two down". Their radios are not transmitting well inside this building.  The officers see and immediately recognize the casings on the ground. They know their bullet proof vests are of little use versus the weapon being used in the school.  In active shooter formation, they press in, waiting to be ambushed. Soon, the rescue begins.




Riversong said...

Thanks for your effort in creating the best forensic analysis of the shooting event (and thereby undermining the sociopathic Hoaxers).

One suggestion, however, the links to "graphic" gunshot wounds would be more credible if they were clearly labeled as .223 bullet wounds and not simply random screen grabs.

Riversong said...

I've also recreated the entire Sandy Hook event at

CW Wade said...

At some point last year I became aware of your blog and reviewed your work. It's good to see someone do fact based analysis. Thank you for stopping by Riversong!

Anonymous said...

In the autopsy of the shooter it says a intraoral wound wouldn't that be a gun in the mouth suicide as opposed to the back of the head? I'm guessing it could be back of the head depending on angle? said...

the autopsy is not a publiclly available document. I believe you mighylt be talking about something else...

Anonymous said...

Ok it was from this- CFS-12-00704597 page 2 at the bottom Adam Lanza Carver gunshot wound of head suicide intraoral gunshot wound with extensive injury to skull and brain. That's the report I was speaking of. Sorry for the confusion.

Anonymous said...


According to more than one news source, sometime during the rampage the Animal pounded on the door to the music room and yelled "Let me in!" As the door was locked, he was unsuccessful in killing the teacher and class of children therein.

I imagine this happened after the massacre in Room 8 and before he reentry into Room 10, but can't say for sure.

Might be worth adding to your timeline.

Unknown said...

Should I click on the graphic photos I'm honestly kinda scared...

Anonymous said...

They are definitely gruesome. If you can handle blood & flesh, then it may be worth knowing exactly what kind of injuries those poor little children endured, and what first responders witnessed. Very different from what's portrayed in movies.