See important updates below and see followup post on Mr. Rodia and how he does not appear to have any involvement in the event
In our last post on this tragic topic, we addressed the possibility that the Newtown, CT shooter had help. In particular, the question of the identity and potential involvement of a man in “camo pants” and a dark jacket that was taken into the custody. Another local report stated that police took a man into custody that was seen leaving the school in order to determine of he had any role in the shooting or was just coincidentally walking into the school at the same time. Compelling questions, yes?
Well, it turns out that some of these questions have already been answered. Or, to put it another way, it turns out that some of these questions have already been answered:
Newtown Second Shooter, LIBOR Connection Enthralls Web Conspiracists
Posted: December 20, 2012
The school shooting that left 20 students and six educators dead at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday was one of the most traumatic incidents in modern memory for Americans, and in the frenzied hours after the murders, reporting on the incident was spotty for some very good reasons — unfortunately, this circumstance has given rise to a number of Newtown conspiracy theories on the web including that of a second shooter at Sandy Hook as well as a connection to the global LIBOR scandal.
Before the internet, the horrible incident at Sandy Hook would have been reported and processed far differently — and therein lies a reason for the initial ambiguity. As we reported on the tragedy Friday, it immediately became clear that press knowledge of the events that day was actively being suppressed by first responders. The reason why seemed to become heartbreakingly discernable between one and two PM that afternoon when the number of victims was first reported — and around this time, reports of a second shooter in Newtown began to “fall off” from mainstream news sites.
Several hours after reports of a shooting at Sandy Hook materialized on the web, we learned that 20 children had been killed in the massacre. And it all slid into place as the scope of the grief to come became visible. For those 20 children, 40 parents had to be gathered and assembled — and it seems this correct measure taken to protect the families has helped give rise to Newtown web conspiracies, at least in part.
For many years, it has been standard law enforcement practice to never inform loved ones of deaths or serious accidents over the phone. Cops likely knew Newtown reports would be quickly spread through other means such as Twitter and Facebook, and presumably hoped to spare these 40 parents as well as the families of the six adult women killed the heartache of learning their child, wife or mother had been brutally murdered on a social network.
This cautious approach spread to all areas of the investigation, and media sources reporting on Newtown were subsequently tasked with reporting a breaking story in real time with scant information. Adding to both the confusion and reports of a second shooter at Sandy Hook elementary was the initial chaos at the scene as well as reports Adam Lanza carried brother Ryan Lanza’s identification — possibly leading to the initial misidentification of Ryan Lanza as the gunman.
Below, four of the most prominent Newtown conspiracy theories, and why they don’t wash.
A Second Shooter At Newtown
Above all, this is the most understandable yet still easily debunked aspects of the Sandy Hook Elementary School conspiracies. In the horrible first hours after the Newtown shootings, reports both from eyewitnesses as well as aerial view cameras on the scene seemed to indicate that a second shooter had been chased into the woods near Sandy Hook Elementary and apprehended.
An eyewitness report is often considered irrefutable, but the chaos and confusion that day is more than enough to account for many reports a second shooter was involved. Children who recalled seeing a man with a gun still patrolling after Adam Lanza died by his own hand could easily have confused similarly clad SWAT team members for shooters, particularly given the trauma they witnessed that day.
“Initial reports that a ‘second gunman’ arrested in the woods behind the school was involved in the massacre were later dropped without explanation.”
Several commenters on The Inquisitr have also indicated suspicion over these early reports, and the most simple explanation is that a story of this magnitude would be impossible to suppress. The scene that day was immediately descended upon by press, first responders, terrified school children and grieving parents.
It is in fact a parent that is believed to have inadvertently started the rumor about a Newtown second shooter, via actions any parent can fully understand. The Atlantic comes to the rescue:
“We admit it took a bit of digging to discover that others had figured out that the man in question was most likely Chris Manfredonia, the father of a Sandy Hook student, who attempted to sneak into the school after the shooting started. Police can be heard relaying his name over their radios, but few outlets managed to follow up with that detail.”
[Edit for clarity: The bit of information was a newsworthy addendum that was understandably lost in the massive amount of information since reported from Newtown. The “second shooter” issue also was not really a focal point for reporting after we learned there was one shooter, and at this point, the receding attention understandably given the aspect of the shooting’s timeline serves to “bolster” the intrigue about what was actually a very explainable misunderstanding.
The distraught parent also explains initial reports the shooter was a parent of a Sandy Hook student. Again, none of these things indicate anything other than initial reporting of an incomplete picture that had emerged, a circumstance the Connecticut State Police actively tried to prevent for this reason.]
Even if the Sandy Hook second shooter hadn’t been debunked, how would all those in view of the alleged Newtown second shooter be persuaded to keep quiet about the man who allegedly had a hand in this tragedy? To silence the hundreds present would assume none would ever confide to press, to a spouse or a close friend that the second culprit was kept secret. The sheer impossibility seems its own defense to the second shooter at Newtown claims.
So was the mystery of the “second shooter” solved? Well...not exactly. At this point it appears everyone is still guessing and making inferences, so let’s take a closer look at the accounts of the arrest of the parent.
First, about that man arrested the woods. Was this parent that man? Because, if so, than the parent was also the man with the “camo pants” and dark jacket because as the televised eyewitness reported, they walked the man in the “camo pants” out from the woods. That would certainly provide some sort of explanation, although it would be quite a coincidence that the parent was reported to have attempted to enter the building around the same time as the shooter and was seen running from the building also happened to be wearing camaouflage pants and a dark jacket. Coincidences do happen, though, and it would be inappropriate to rule this out.
Now let’s take a look at the explanation provided for why this parent was near the school and arrested in the first place. It’s a reasonable explanation:
Gunman kills 20 kids, 6 adults at Connecticut elementary school
A man shoots and kills 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
December 14, 2012|By Richard A. Serrano, Alana Semuels and Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
NEWTOWN, Conn. — A gunman massacred 20 children and six adults at a suburban elementary school here Friday morning before killing himself in what appeared to be the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, authorities said.
Sources said Adam Lanza, 20, earlier killed his mother at home and then drove her Honda to Sandy Hook Elementary School equipped with firearms that were registered to one or both of his divorced parents.
Clad in military fatigues and carrying two semiautomatic pistols, he entered the school, argued with someone in the hallway and then opened fire on staff members and children around 9:30 a.m., a law enforcement source said. He focused his gunfire on two rooms. Children huddled in closets and corners as the carnage unfolded.
Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said police searched “every nook and cranny” of the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade campus after receiving a 911 call. He said 18 children and seven adults were found dead at the school — including the shooter — and two other children died at the hospital. Victims’ bodies remained inside the school into the evening as relatives were gathered at a nearby fire station.
Vance did not officially identify the shooter or any of the dead. He said another adult had been killed elsewhere in Newtown, but he did not say whether it was Lanza’s mother. Police are questioning Lanza’s 24-year-old brother, Ryan, of Hoboken, N.J., the Associated Press reported.
It was the deadliest school shooting since 32 were murdered in the 2007 Virginia Tech rampage.
“Evil visited this community today,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday evening. “It’s too early to speak of recovery.”
Chris Manfredonia, whose 6-year-old daughter attends the school, was heading there Friday morning to help make gingerbread houses with first-graders when he heard popping sounds and smelled sulfur.
He ran around the school trying to reach his daughter and was briefly handcuffed by police. He later found his child, who had been locked in a small room with a teacher.
“The whole reason we moved here a year ago is because when you drive down the subdivision, it’s a happy place,” said his wife, Georgeann Manfredonia. “There’s a ton of children here and the families are very kind and supportive.”
And according to the below article, the parent’s wife was also a volunteer in her 6-yr old’s classroom at the school, making it real miracle that her daughter weren’t hurt given the targeting of two classrooms of 6 and 7 yr olds. Could the wife of the arrested parent have been part of the reason there were so many early reports that the shooter’s mother was a volunteer at the school? That would certainly explain a lot of the early confusion.
Also, according to the wife in the below article, when her husband tried to run around the side of the school to reach his daughter the police were already there and that’s when they stopped him and briefly handcuffed him:
Connecticut town tries to cope with shooting massacre at elementary school
By Michael Muskal, Tina Susman and Richard A. Serrano
5:47 p.m. CST, December 14, 2012
NEWTOWN, Conn. — A gunman wearing a bullet-proof vest and toting several weapons stormed through two rooms of a suburban Connecticut elementary school on Friday, firing at staffers and pupils and killing at least 20 children before apparently turning a gun on himself.
About 9:30 a.m, the gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School, where sources said he had a confrontation with a school official. Then the gunman opened fire in just one section of the school, two rooms, police spokesman Vance said at one of his news conferences later in the day.
A third-grader named Alexis told CNN she looked out the window, spotted police officers and heard footsteps on the school roof. Some of the students were so upset, she said, “they got a stomachache.”
A fourth-grade boy was in the gym when he heard pops and bangs. “We thought it was the custodian knocking stuff down,” he told CNN. “We heard screaming … and then the police came in and said, ‘Is he in here?’”
The children were herded into a gym closet, the fourth-grader said, and huddled there until police told them it was safe to leave.
The first calls went out to police by 9:40 a.m. and hundreds of officers from the town police, state police and others responded, authorities said. They began a painstaking search through the building, room by room.
Georgeann Manfredonia, a volunteer at the school, said she spent part of Thursday wrapping presents for the teachers and the school’s principal. Her 6-year-old daughter attends the Sandy Hook.
“When you walk in there, it’s just a happy, happy place,” she said, in a telephone interview Friday with The Los Angeles Times. “It’s a wonderful school run by an amazing principal. She’s just the most positive, energetic person you’ve ever met.
“You always felt safe here. The last crime that took place was years ago,” Manfredonia said.
On Friday morning, her husband, Chris, went to help make gingerbread houses in the first-grade class of the couple’s daughter. As he approached the school, he heard popping sounds, then smelled sulfur.
He attempted to reach his daughter by going around the side of the school. Police had arrived by then, stopped him and briefly handcuffed him.
Georgeann found a neighbor’s child and held that child and her own son. A parent came running out of the school cradling a little girl.
“I covered them so they couldn’t see anything,” she said. “I couldn’t see if the little girl was hurt.”
News still had not filtered out about the shooting and few parents were around. Police and firefighters began leading the children from the school to a nearby firehouse.
Now, it’s important to emphasize again that there is no evidence to suggest that this arrested parent had anything to do with the shooting. And if, as described above, the parent heard gunshots as he was approaching the building AND the police had already arrived by the time he attempted to go around the building, that suggest that this parent was NOT the “camo pants” man. First off, would he have dressed in camaouflage pants and a dark shirt if he was going to his daughter’s first grade class to bake gingerbread cookie houses? Possibly, if he was just a “camo pants” kind of guy (which is not inconceivable...it’s hunting season). And, as we was saw before, a second person in custody was reportedly seen leaving the school and was believed to have been trying to coincidentally walking into the school when the shooting began. Since the shootings appears to have begun very soon after the shooter gained entry into through the front door, and if the police were already there when this parent made his attempt to run around the school, this sequence of event does not sound like the parent was “camo pants” man. Instead, he was an extremely fortunate parent of a 6 yr old caught in the middle of a tragedy.
Of course, this all raises the obvious question: if this parent wasn’t the “camo pants” man, then who was? And could this parent have been mistaken as one of the shooters in the initial reports. Recall that early reports from a teacher included seeing “two shooters, running past the gym”. But if this parent arrived at the school after the police arrived he couldn’t have been one of those two reported “shooters” running past the gym because those reports of two shooters running past the gym happened in the first minutes of the event before the police were there:
’Call for everything’: Police scanner recording reveals early moments of Newtown tragedy
By Tracy Connor, NBC News
Police radio traffic from the Newtown school shooting shows emergency responders initially thought there might be two gunmen on the loose and were not aware of the extent of the carnage inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.
But the scope of the tragedy became more evident minute by minute, until authorities at the scene were heard asking for more help: “Call for everything” and “Do you know if anyone brought a mass casualty kit?”
Then, an hour after the first call, the horror of the crime was laid bare as an officer at the scene spoke of “victims” in a closet.
“There’s a teacher and 18 kids there,” he said in a grim voice.
The communications were not officially released, but were posted on YouTube by a scanner monitor and authenticated by police.
Some of the dialogue is encrypted or garbled, but the transmissions that can be heard – with the sound of sirens blaring in the background — provide a glimpse of how Friday’s massacre unfolded through the eyes of police and paramedics.
The recordings begin at 9:35 a.m. with a dispatcher calmly reporting a 911 call about “somebody shooting in the building,” followed two minutes later by the chilling update that a caller was “continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire.”
One dispatcher notifies responding officers that a teacher reported seeing “two shooters, running past the gym.”
At 9:49 a.m., an officer described what may have been Lanza shooting himself with one of his handguns as cops swarmed the building.
“Shots were fired about three minutes ago,” the officer said. “Quiet at the time.”
Four minutes later came word that Lanza was dead.
“One suspect down. The building has now been cleared,” a voice said. Then, a cataloguing of Lanza’s arsenal: “Multiple weapons, including one rifle and handguns.”
The police dispatcher audio of that day is available here and note that the recording was authenticated by the police according to the above article. The reference to “a teacher reporting two shooters running past the gym” happens ~3:30 after the initial emergency calls from the school. So if this parent was, instead, one of those individuals seen by the teacher and mistaken as a shooter, he would have had to have arrived very soon after the shootings began, before any police were there, and then waited a few minutes to begin running around the school at which point the police . And then there’s the question of two shooters reported by the teacher. All in all, given the reported timeline of events, there are just a number of pieces of info that suggest this parent was NOT the “camo pants” man.
Another confusing detail that suggest there was a different man apprehended is the fact that, on the same police scanner recording at ~30:25, an officer reports that he has a possible suspect vehicle and lists off the license plate. The name of the man is Christopher A. Rodia (he spells out R O D I A, and says he was born in August 1969) and there is, indeed, a Christopher A. Rodia in CT that appears to hvbe been born in 1969 according to the below article about his arrest for stealing copper gutters from a house under construction. The parent’s name is Chris Manfredonia. Is this the “camo pants” man?:
Couple charged with stealing copper from Stony Brook construction site
Updated 7:55 am, Sunday, July 29, 2012
A Norwalk man and woman were caught in the act Saturday night of stealing copper gutters from a house under construction on Stony Brook Road, police said.
Police were alerted that a man and woman were on the residential construction site at 10 Stony Brook Road shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday.
Officers sent to the scene stopped the pair as they were leaving the driveway. The officers then determined the copper found in the pair’s vehicle was part of the gutter system for the house, police said.
Both suspects were taken into custody.
Christopher Rodia, 42, of Vollmer Avenue in Norwalk was charged with third-degree larceny, third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny, first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree criminal trespass, possession of narcotics and failure to carry prescription drugs in prescribed container. Rodia’s bond was set at $10,000 and he is scheduled to appear Aug. 7 in Norwalk Superior Court.
Cassandre Scire, 19, also of Vollmer Avenue in Norwalk, was charged with third-degree larceny, third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny and third-degree criminal trespass. Scire’s bond was set at $2,500 and she is scheduled to appear Aug. 7 in Norwalk Superior Court.
So we have a Chris Manfredonia arrested and quickly released AND a possible suspect vehicle belonging to a Christopher A. Rodia with a recent criminal past. All things considered, there is no reason at this point to assume Chris Manfredonia had anything to do with the shooting and even less evidence that Christopher Rodia was involved.
But, at the end of this, we also still don’t know who was wearing the “camo pants” that day. Mystery solved? Unfortunately not. Much confusion? Oh yes.
The mystery of the “possible suspect vehicle” registered to Christopher A. Rodia just got a lot more mysterious. First, go here to the police scanner audio recording and listen at ~30:20 when the officer is listing the license plate of the vehicle. The audio is clearly “872 YEO”, and about 20 seconds later it’s said to be registered to Christopher A. Rodia. That license plate # is exactly the same plate as the shooter’s vehicle according to the image here. Click on the “Related Images” picture of the shooter’s car. There’s an option to zoom in. The license plate is clearly “872 YEO”.
Update 2 — 12/21/12
There’s another copy of that image of the shooter’s car with a clear shot of the license plate number (so no clicking is require to zoom in).
Again, note that the police scanner audio file uploaded to Youtube was verified by the police. So, assuming there aren’t hoax version of that audio file already spreading around (which is very possible), there is a growing number of serious questions that needs to be asked.
Also, note that The Inquisitr article excerpted above makes the point that bizarre story discrepancies just aren’t possible given the number of people involved. So it’s worth noting, again, that the official narrative about what happened at Columbine was wrong and never corrected for years:
December 18, 2012 2:15 PM
“Columbine” author: Media often gets the story wrong
(CBS News) Author Dave Cullen, who spent 10 years researching the Colorado school massacre for his book “Columbine,” said on “CBS This Morning” that oftentimes in a rush to understand a mass shooter, the media and the public often misunderstand the killers.
He explained, “After Columbine, three days later, we had it figured out. We, the media, public, everyone understand key things. ...We knew that they were outcast, loner goths from the trench coat mafia who had been brutally bullied by jocks and were doing this as a revenge act to get back at the jocks for doing it,” Cullen said. “Everything I just said is wrong. Not one single element of that is true. Definitely wasn’t about targeting anyone. There were bombs trying to kill everyone. They were not loners or outcasts. They weren’t at the top of the food chain, but they had quite a few friends and they had a very active social life. You look at their (schedule). It’s — they’re completely full. So all these things were wrong.”
However, the original, incorrect narrative has lived on. Cullen said, “I do a lot of high school and different events and ask people, ‘What are the main things you know about Columbine?’ And they say all those things. The thing is this week whatever we leave the public with is going to be with them forever. We’re going to cover this nonstop for a week or two or something. We all know how this goes. And then we go away and something else becomes the story. That closing point whatever it is, whatever ideas we left the public with, they are with us forever.”
So yes, while it is incredibly difficult to imagine how so many witnesses to a mass tragedy could collectively latch on to a narrative that doesn’t quite fit the facts, the fact of the matter is it happens.
Well, it turns out that there was a report that sort of clears up the mystery of the “camo pants” man. Sort of:
The Newtown Bee
As Shooting Probe Progresses
Police Union Seeks Funding For Trauma Treatment
By Andrew Gorosko
As police this week continued their probe into the December 14 incident involving 28 shooting deaths, including 20 first-graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the lawyer who represents the Newtown Police Union is seeking help from the town, state, and federal governments to extend paychecks for “three to five” town police officers who were so traumatized by the incident that they have not yet been emotionally able to return to work.
As the police probe has progressed, some facts of the case have become clear.
According to a reliable local law enforcement source, Adam Lanza attempted to destroy all his computer equipment to prevent any tracing of his Internet usage and his electronic correspondence. It is thought that “some or most” of the computer data will be retrieved from the damaged equipment.
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.
Now, it’s possible that this is just a bogus report using a misleading anonymous source. Or maybe that report was referring to someone else entirely and not the detained “camo pants” man. And it’s also not impossible that an armed off duty swat officer from another town wearing camo pants just happened to be nearby enough to hear the gunshots and ran through the woods towards the school. Other neighbors nearby heard the shots too so if this officer was in the area it would make sense that he would approach the school. But the emerging picture here is that at least one person was detained on that day in a highly suspicious manner and now we’re learning from an anonymous source that that the detained man was an armed SWAT team member from a nearby town. That’s probably not going to do much to dissuade skeptics so let’s hope there’s more info from investigators on this topic in the future.