Lawmakers call for Newtown investigation report

Neil Heslin, whose son was killed in the Newtown shooting, testified at a legislative gun-control hearing in January.
Neil Heslin, whose son was killed in the Newtown shooting, testified at a legislative gun-control hearing in January. Photo by Sara Miller.

After details began to leak from the ongoing police investigation into the Sandy Hook shooting, lawmakers — including Gov. Dannel Malloy and House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero — have called on the Chief State Attorney’s Office to release an official interim report of the investigation’s findings thus far.

The lawmakers’ demands came after several incidents over the last few months in which state police leaked details of the investigation to news sources outside the state before providing the same information to state officials. Mark Dupuis, a spokesman for the Chief State Attorney’s Office, said that while a complete report will likely not be released until June, the office has agreed to share some details of its investigation with the Legislature this week. He added that it has not yet been determined on which day and in what form the information would come.

“Like many others, I was disappointed and angered to learn that certain information about the Newtown shooting had been leaked, specifically with concern for the victims’ families who may have been hearing this news for the first time,” Malloy said in a press conference last week.

The governor’s demand for an interim report came on the heels of a presentation that state police officer Col. Danny R. Stebbins delivered this month to police in New Orleans, which included new details about the shooting. In the presentation, Stebbins discussed at great length Newtown shooter Adam Lanza’s preoccupation with other incidents of mass murder and methodical approach of preparing his weapons. In order to ensure that he would not run out of bullets, for example, Lanza purportedly taped together multiple 30-round magazines.

An interim report, Cafero and other Republican lawmakers have said, would help shape the bill they are currently negotiating, which contains proposed legislation to tighten gun laws, strengthen the state’s mental health care system and bolster school security. The bill is widely expected to contain legislation restricting the sale of assault-style semi-automatic weapons, limiting the legal size of ammunition magazines and instituting a universal background check system for gun purchasers.

But Malloy added that he was “bewildered” by Cafero’s suggestion that additional information would impact the legislation under negotiation.

“We know for a fact that on Dec. 14, a very disturbed young man took a military-style rifle with high-capacity magazines into a school and murdered 20 innocent children and six innocent adults,” Malloy said. “We know he had access to that weapon and others, although they were registered to someone else.”

Cafero and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney could not be reached for comment.

However, Rich Burgess, president of gun rights organization Connecticut Carry, said he doubts that the legislators will take into account any information that an investigation into the shooting might reveal. He said that the specifics of the case suggest that Lanza would have found a way to circumvent any gun-control legislation put in place to prevent a massacre such as the one he committed. Instead, he said, lawmakers are simply taking the opportunity to push an agenda they always supported.

“The kid shot his mother in the face,” Burgess said. “To think that somebody as methodical and intelligent as he reportedly was would be deterred is ridiculous. But that won’t change the Legislature’s mind. They’ve already made their decision.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams told reporters late last week that, in light of the information expected to be released this week, the Legislature has delayed a vote on its omnibus bill until after Easter.

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