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Sandy Hook Commission Requests Release of Shooter’s Mental Health Records

(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - After 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School before shooting himself, the call went out, never again.  

It's clear Lanza was mentally disturbed. He covered his bedroom windows with trash bags and communicated with his mother only through email though they lived in the same house.  

The Sandy Hook Commission, charged with finding ways to prevent this from repeating, has had a glimpse of Lanza's mental health history but would like more. Those records are private so they've made a request.

Dr. Harold Schwartz is a mental health expiring on the Commission. "We are working on the possibility that a family member, the father in this case, would provide access to these documents," said Schwartz.

If Peter Lanza releases the records there is much they can learn.

Dr. Schwartz says,  "We want to understand how the diagnosis was made. As many of the details about treatment options provided as we possibly can. What treatment options were followed, What weren't. What might have slipped through the cracks."

The state police released 6,700 pages of evidence from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and the investigation that followed. You would think that would give this commission a lot to work with. But it's less a report and more of a document dump.

There is no way to easily navigate the evidence. It's more than 6,000 pages with little organization.

Mayor Scott Jackson is the Commission Chair.  He says it’s frustrating. "It's value is still cloudy to us because I don't think any one of us has been able to penetrate the entire document. In fact I'm pretty sure of that."

So they have someone working on organizing the information and making it searchable. And they hope to hear from Adam Lanza's father who suffered his own, often forgotten, tragedy that day. Remember, the first person Lanza shot was his mother.

Kathleen Flaherty is a mental health advocate on the commission. "This is a family that has suffered a very profound loss also and it's very painful, I'm sure, for them to come forward and have to share a tragedy that was theirs, too."

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