NEWTOWN, Conn. — The gunman in the Connecticut shooting rampage shot his mother four times in the head before going to the school and gunning down 26, authorities said Sunday as details emerged suggesting that Adam Lanza had planned an even more gruesome massacre but was stopped short.
Lanza blasted his way into the building and used a high-powered rifle to kill 20 children and six adults, including the principal who tried to stop him, authorities said.
The unthinkable bloodshed might even have been worse. Gov. Dannel Malloy said Lanza shot himself when he heard police coming. Authorities said they found multiple 30-round magazines and hundreds of bullets at the school, enough ammunition on him to carry out significant additional carnage.
"There was a lot of ammo, a lot of clips," State Police Lt. Paul Vance. "Certainly a lot of lives were potentially saved."
As President Barack Obama prepared a visit and churches opened their doors to comfort a grieving town Sunday, federal agents fanned out to dozens of gun stores and shooting ranges across Connecticut, chasing leads they hoped would cast light on Lanza's life.
Among the questions: Why did his mother, a well-to-do suburban divorcee , keep a cache of high-power weapons in the house? What experience did Lanza have with those guns? And, above all, what set him on a path to go classroom-by-classroom, massacring 6- and 7-year-olds?
Malloy offered no possible motive for the shooting and a law enforcement official has said police have found no letters or diaries left behind that could shed light on it.
Vance on Sunday officially identified Lanza as the shooter.
Lanza shot his 52-year-old mother, Nancy, to death at the home they shared Friday. She was shot four times in the head and found in her bed wearing pajamas, said a state official who was not authorized to disclose details of the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.