All the way across the country, Hermosa Beach, California resident, Ryan Kraft, was “shaken” by the horrifying murders of 20 children and 6 adults by 20-year-old Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
But, unfortunately, he was not surprised. Fifteen years ago, he was Lanza’s babysitter.
“I just couldn’t think for a little while. I was shaken,” he told CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Brittney Hopper.
When he was 10-years-old, Kraft moved to Newtown from Hermosa Beach; the Lanza family moved next door around 6 months later. When he turned 14-years old, he was asked to babysit Adam Lanza and was given troubling instructions by his mother, Nancy Lanza, who was killed by Adam before going on his rampage at Sandy Hook:
“[She told me] to keep an eye on him at all times…to never turn my back, not even to go to the bathroom,” Kraft said.
Kraft remembers Lanza as being a withdrawn child.
“Whenever we were doing anything, like building Legos, or playing video games, he was always focused. He was in his own world.”
“I’m still numb to it,” Kraft says of the tragedy at Sandy Hook. “I haven’t processed it … and 15 years ago it could have been me.”
Richard Novia, Newtown School District’s head of security until 2008, has similar memories of Lanza:
“Have you found his best friend? Have you found a friend?” Novia asked. “You’re not going to. He was a loner.”
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A former classmate, Olivia DeVivo, says that in retrospect, the signs were there that Lanza could commit such a heinous act, but she wouldn’t want to vilify an entire group of people based on casual acquaintance.
“He was very different and very shy and didn’t make an effort to interact with anybody,” she said.
DeVivo said Lanza always carried a briefcase and wore his shirts buttoned up to the top button. She said he seemed bright but never really participated in class.
“Now looking back, it’s kind of like `OK, he had all these signs,’ but you can’t say every shy person would do something like this.”