Brother of Conn. gunman wrongly cited as shooter

December 14, 2012 9:29:00 PM PST
From Newtown, Connecticut to Hoboken, New Jersey, lawmen launched the probe into the killer, but the identity of the gunman was at first cloaked in confusion.

Not long after Friday's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school, media outlets began reporting the gunman's identity as 24-year-old Ryan Lanza of Hoboken, N.J.

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His name and image quickly spread worldwide as the perpetrator of the nation's second-deadliest school shooting. Facebook and Twitter lit up as people vented their fury at the man they believed was responsible.

In reality, Lanza was at work in New York City when the gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., some 60 miles away.

When authorities first identified Ryan Lanza as the shooter, police descended on the Hoboken neighborhood focusing on his apartment at 1313 Grand Street.

"It's unfolding in front of me like what's going on?" said Vicki Aligo.

Vicki Aligo is a preK special education teacher who was rocked by Friday's massacre.

After school she runs a jewelry store right across from Lanza's building.

"I was crying," she said. "I was thinking about it, and I come in here and then all of the sudden it's like the man is across the street."

"At that point you think wow, we probably passed this guy numerous times and a monster is living in our neighborhood," said Jason Castelluccio.

It was hours before police clarified that the shooter was not Ryan. He was questioned and cleared of any wrongdoing.

A law enforcement official later identified his 20-year-old brother, Adam Lanza, as the culprit. They say he was carrying Ryan's ID.

"They said that there may have been a bomb in the apartment and there may have been a body in the apartment. We were very nervous," said Marissa Cortese.

None of that turned out to be true. Still, police maintained a presence at the building along with FBI agents.

"Such a great area to live in and then we see six or seven cops in your building, and you see this set up; it's not good," said Andrew LaGreca.

When his name was first connected to the shooting, Ryan Lanza posted on Facebook that it wasn't him--he was at work.

Now that he has lost his brother, his mother and knows of the multiple murders of teachers and children in Connecticut, some neighbors feel for him.

"I can't imagine being in his head right now and what he's thinking and what that feels like," said Steve Warjanka.

Police removed a computer from Ryan Lanza's apartment earlier. They have opened the street, but are keeping the building off limits to everyone but residents.

Ryan Lanza was interviewed by investigators but is not believed to have any connection to the killings.


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