For an update see here
As a parent volunteer on a field trip with my son's middle school on Friday, about 45 minutes from Newtown, the news of this horrifying attack hit close to home. Around lunchtime I heard about a school shooting in Wilton CT. In fact that morning it was reported that a teacher was killed by her husband in Wilton CT but this was unrelated to the Sandy Hook shootings. It wasn't until the return trip, when the bus driver quietly shared what she had heard about the killings, that we recieved accurate information about the mass shooting in Newtown. Listening to the news after I returned home the story only grew more confused. Three days later the only fact that has not been contradicted was the basic information relayed by the bus driver at a little after 1 pm on Friday: 27 killed at a Newtown elementary school (if you exclude the shooter, Adam Lanza, from the count).
Beyond the devastating events of that day, the misinformation in the mass media was truly concerning. One bit of disinfo that particularly troubled me was the news of a second shooter reported by Yahoo and ABC News. There was also video of a student who saw a “victim” laying on the ground in handcuffs in front of the fire department and an onlooker who saw a man wearing a dark jacket, camo pants and handcuffs being placed in the back of a squad car by police. Yet there were no follow ups to these reports. This is troubling to many because in recent highly publicized mass killings, witness claims of another perpetrator (Aurora Theater massacre) or four (Sikh Temple shootings) were ignored after initial reports in the mass media.
In the case of Sandy Hook, however, an alternative news researcher may have pointed the way toward a solution in the mystery of a possible second (or third) “shooter”.
This video was put together by Sheilaalien and posted on her youtube channel. It contains the onlooker’s report of seeing a man in a dark jacket, camo pants and handcuffs who is walked out of the woods by police and placed in the back of the squad car. Included is a snippet of police audio in which an officer is heard to say, “That’s the one that you and I secured. Last name Manfredonia, first Christopher.” When Sheilaalien ran a search for this name in conjunction with Sandy Hook, she pulled up a Los Angeles Times article entitled “Gunman kills 20 kids, 6 adults at Connecticut Elementary School” which reported that Chris Manfredonia was briefly handcuffed by police after running around the school in an attempt to rescue his daughter. The child was later found safe, locked in a small room with a teacher.
I first came across this video on Idaho Picker’s Youtube channel. This researcher believes that there were three shooters based on his examination of the police audio recordings uploaded by Sheilaalien. 48 seconds into the police audio an officer says “I have reports that the teacher saw two shadows running past the building, past the gym…” which he explained was “around back.” At 59 seconds he comes out with this adrenaline rushed outburst: “Yeah we got em. They’re coming at me!”
I’m not sure this necessarily indicates that he saw a second person. He could have seen Manfredonia and assumed the other “shadow” was close behind or maybe he was just careless with tenses. “We got em” and “They are coming…” could as easily refer to a single person. Think how he might answer if you asked him: Where is the perpetrator? A response of “They are coming toward me” would not be grammatically correct but it is common if you think about patterns of speech.
Around 1:34 the officer announces “I got him proned out” as officers continue to sweep the grounds for suspects. Later one cop asks over the radio if another cop is aware that they may have a second unit and the cop he’s speaking to asks for a description. The response is garbled but clearly they are still looking for the “second shadow”. What’s not clear is whether they ever found him. It would be interesting if anyone interviews Manfredonia to find out if he saw any other parents driven by that same impulse to rescue their child. That could easily be the explanation for the second shadow glimpsed by the teacher. Alternately they may have held him prone at the fire department and then walked him over to the police car on what was presumably school property. Overall, it seems likely at this point that there were no other shooters, just frightened parents, unlike the clear accounts of accomplices in Aurora and the Sikh temple shootings.
By some reports, the confusion of guns in this case has been resolved as well. After repeatedly hearing that Lanza carried Glock and Sig Hauer handguns in the school and watching the video of a rifle retrieved by police from the trunk of the mother’s car, it has been confirmed that Lanza also carried a Bushmaster .223 rifle with him. This official claim is backed up by the on the spot police audio linked above: “We do have multiple weapons, including one rifle and shotgun.”
As the police work through the forensic examination, perhaps the major media should conduct a forensic investigation of their own to figure out how they got so much so wrong. Conspiracy theories are not usually spun from the filaments of public imagination. In most cases they are based off of actual, though often obscure, reports in the major media. For as long as the mass media refuses to follow up on the discrepancies in its own reporting as in the Aurora massacre and the Sikh temple shooting, leaving the alternative press with no choice but to investigate, there will be conspiracy theories. Some of those conspiracy theories are undeniably conspiracy fact.
Praying for the children and families of Sandy Hook this season.
I have a link to a more recent article up top, but in the interests of making sure that everyone is receiving accurate information I would like to add here that one of the commenters drew my attention to an obscure report.
“Police Union Seeks Funding For Trauma Treatment,” was published in the Newtown Bee on 12/27. Included at the end is a list of updates in the ongoing investigation. The last one reads as follows:
A man with a gun who was spotted in the woods near the school on the day of the incident was an off-duty tactical squad police officer from another town, according to the source.
The information was attributed to “a reliable local law enforcement source.” The only links that mention this information all refer back to the original Newtown Bee article. According to this local paper there was an out of town, off duty tactical officer (think SWAT team member) in the woods with a gun that day. It is possible that he was the man being chased through the woods in the aerial footage, the man whose rifle officers are seen retrieving, and maybe even the camo pants guy who was walked out of the woods and placed in a squad car, the one who said to parents, “I didn’t do it.” It is possible, but is it true?