“I’M THE DEVIL!” With those chilling words, ADAM LANZA set the stage for his brutal slaughter of 26 innocents in a Connecticut school.
Haunted by voices ordering him to kill and convinced the world was coming to an end, the 20-year-old devil worshipper and violent video game fanatic left macabre clues to his murderous plan on Internet chat rooms, websites and a chilling diary he kept on his computer, authorities say.
AS a reeling nation mourned, investigators are frantically trying to determine whether anyone else was aware of Lanza’s homicidal plan and if an imagined accomplice could be real, sources say.
Meanwhile, The ENQUIRER has gone behind the scenes, conduct ing extensive interviews with sources close to the investigation, Lanza’s former classmates and other insiders, to learn the real reason why he snapped on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the sleepy community of Newtown.
“Lanza was a very bright but troubled young man who’d turned to the dark side,” said a Department of Justice insider in Washington, D.C., close to federal investigators working with Connecticut authorities.
“Investigators believe he kept a diary on his computer of all the bad things that had happened to him and built up such hate in him, and why he had so much pent-up rage against his mother. His diary entries would have reeked with his need for revenge against school kids because he never fit in while he was in school.
“We believe he had also anonymously visited suicide chat rooms on the Internet, as well as other chat rooms and websites appealing to devil worshippers, computer hackers and other computer geeks.
“On the Web, Lanza may have revealed parts of his chilling plan, but not the gory extent of it. He may have dropped clues as to what he planned to do – and may have even sought an accomplice.
“A Russian-made, semi-automatic tactical shotgun was found in his mother’s car outside the school. Although he was a socially inept loner in real life, he was comfortable communicating on the Web. And investigators believe he could have left the weapon there for an accomplice, real or imagined.
“Police fanned out around the school in the minutes after the shooting, searching for an accomplice. In fact, days later they still haven’t officially ruled it out. ”
Incredibly, it appears that Lanza hinted at his murderous intentions on a popular hacker website two nights before his rampage. The message, obtained by The ENQUIRER, was posted by a user named “iKTatjYX,” whom authorities suspect was Lanza, and stated: “I’m going to kill myself on Friday and it will make the news, be watching at 9am.”
When a respondent asked “iKTatjYX” where he was based, the reply was: “I live in Connecticut, that’s as much as I’ll say.”
Under the message was a disturbing image of the bodies of the students responsible for the 1999 massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
When he carried out the killings, “Lanza was dressed in black, similar to his heroes Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold,” noted the Department of Justice source. But Lanza apparently tried to cover his online tracks, smashing two computers at his home to smithereens before his killing spree, authorities say. “Those computers held all of his secrets,” said the DOJ source. “Authorities have collected all the pieces and hope to reconstruct the computers so they can retrieve the information they contained.”
Meanwhile, The ENQUIRER has learned that Lanza’s mother Nancy – who kept an arsenal in their home – pushed him over the edge.
“Nancy Lanza was a member of the Doomsday Preppers movement, which believes people should prepare for the end of the world,” said a family insider.
“She was telling Adam that the world was ending on Dec. 21, as the Mayan calendar predicted, and that’s what set him off!”
Investigators also believe Lanza targeted his mother because she compared him to his successful older brother Ryan, a certified public accountant who worked for a leading accounting firm.
Lanza discussed his plans for killing his mother in Internet chat rooms, investigators believe, perversely describing how he wanted her to see the bullet that would end her life coming at her.
In the end, Lanza – who suffered from the developmental disorder Asperger’s Syndrome – shot his mother in the face four times with her own gun while she slept, authorities say. Then he drove her black Honda Civic to Sandy Hook Elementary, forced his way in by breaking a window, and, armed with a .223-caliber Bushmaster assault rifle, began spraying dozens of bullets into a group of first-graders, killing 20 of them as well as four teachers, the principal and school psychologist.
“Lanza wanted those poor innocent children to suffer simply because they attended the same school that he did,” explained the DOJ source.
“He must have heard voices telling him that they needed to die or else they’d grow up to be just like the kids he couldn’t get along with at school. In his warped mind this was the answer.
“Adam believed he was the personification of evil, and he must have said, ‘I’m the Devil!’ as he fired his gun.”
A former classmate confirmed Lanza’s devil worship, describing the deranged killer’s page on an Internet website.
“It had the word ‘Devil’ on it in red Gothic-style letters against a black background,” Trevor L. Todd, 20, told The ENQUIRER.
“It gave me the chills. It was just so weird.”
When police arrived at the school, they found Lanza dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was carrying his older brother Ryan’s identification.
“It was Adam’s final act of revenge,” said the DOJ source. “Jealous of his older brother’s success, he wanted news to go out to the world that Ryan was the killer – not him.”
Authorities have now pieced together a profile of Lanza as a computer geek with few friends who lived in a twisted fantasy world.
Olivia Devivo, his classmate at Newtown High School, said Lanza talked about “aliens and blowing things up. I never saw him with anyone,” she added. “I can’t even think of one person that was associated with him.”
In third grade, Lanza struggled on the local youth baseball team, according to former classmate Todd.
“Adam was the last to be picked because he wasn’t a good player,” Todd recalled. “Some kids made fun of him. He’d always get put in the outfield where he wouldn’t see a lot of action. I remember one time he was hit by a pitch that knocked him over. Someone said he didn’t feel any pain.”
Lanza was just as awkward back in high school, Todd said.
“I never saw Adam with a girl, let alone talk to one,” he said. “He just wasn’t cool, even in the way he dressed. He wore stiff collared shirts and high-waisted khakis. He carried a black briefcase while other kids had backpacks.”
In his sick fantasy world, Lanza also believed he was the reincarnation of a Japanese samurai warrior like the ones in his favorite video game, “Dynasty Warriors,” The ENQUIRER has learned.
After his parents separated, Lanza began to act out, sources say.
“He would have tantrums,” said Ryan Kraft, who baby-sat for Adam. “They were much more than the average kid.”
His mother eventually home-schooled him and he enrolled at Western Connecticut State University in 2008 and 2009, where he earned a B average.
But in recent months, his mental condition began to deteriorate, sources say, and he started harming himself, burning parts of his body with a lighter.
“This tragedy could have been averted if Adam’s mom put him in a mental facility,” said the DOJ source.
“But the truth is, she couldn’t. After divorcing his father, and with her older son going off to make his own life, she couldn’t bear being alone. So she never had Adam committed.”
ENQUIRER team covering Newtown tragedy – Senior Editors: Alan Butterfield, Larry Haley; Senior Reporters: Michael Glynn, Rick Egusquiza; Correspondent: Robert Hartlein; Photo Director: Ray Fairall; Photo Editor: Chris Visoke; Contributing Photo Editor: Matt Carrington; Design Director: Martin Elfers; Writers: Susan Baker, Christine Reed; Editorial Assistant: Patti Gonzalez; Director of Research: Mireya Throop; Researchers: Laurie Miller, Barbara Koskie, Stephanie Keiper, Alison Rayman