EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 30, 2012

Merrimack Valley Year in Review

The biggest story of the year came as 2012 was winding down, when the shooting deaths of 20 young children and six adults at a Connecticut school shocked the nation and the world.

On Dec. 14, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother at their home, then took her guns and forced his way into nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

There he killed the children and several school staff members.

Besides its emotional impact on people everywhere, the story hit closer to home with the discovery that Lanza and other members of his family have their roots in Southern New Hampshire and Merrimack Valley, with several still living in this area.

The other stories of the year in the Merrimack Valley included the beginning of an overhaul of the Lawrence public school system, the indictments of two close associates of Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua, some surprises in local elections, and the widespread disruption of communications systems due to a fire in a mattress belonging to a homeless person.

Shooter in Newtown school massacre had N.H. ties

As the nation watched in horror on Dec. 14, The Eagle-Tribune confirmed Adam Lanza was born in Kingston in 1992 and that several members of his extended family still live in Southern New Hampshire and Haverhill.

Police said his brother told them Lanza had a “personality disorder.’’ Classmates and others who knew Lanza said he was a bright young man who kept mostly to himself. Investigators are still piecing together his motives for the shootings.

Lanza killed himself after the other shootings, bringing the death total to 28 – the 20 students, six school staffers, Lanza and his mother.

The deaths brought prayer services and vigils in Newtown, the Merrimack Valley, Southern New Hampshire and elsewhere. The deaths also brought a visit from President Obama to Newtown for a prayer service and kicked off a national debate on gun control and the need for better medical treatment for people with mental disorders.

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