Friday, December 28, 2012

Was there a second shooter?

When the Newtown elementary school shooting occurred, we noted a flurry of articles -- such as this CBS report -- indicating a second shooter.
A witness tells WFSB-TV that a second man was taken out of the woods in handcuffs wearing a black jacket and camouflage pants and telling parents on the scene, “I did not do it.”
At the time, I said:
I'm sure that there will be soon be a reasonable explanation for this incident. But let's not allow the report of a second gunman slide away without explanation.
On the For the Record site, a writer known only as Pterrafractal has done a fine job of covering what we know about this odd aspect of the tragedy: Here's part 1, part 2, and part 3.

It turns out that the initial reports of a second shooter came from a teacher in the building. This information was captured by someone with a scanner monitoring police radio transmissions; the recording was later uploaded to YouTube.
One dispatcher notifies responding officers that a teacher reported seeing “two shooters, running past the gym.”
When the police showed up, they detained the man wearing camo pants, as reported by CBS. He had been seen leaving the school when the shooting stopped. In an article debunking conspiracy theories, the Atlantic suggested that Camo Pants Man was the parent of a Sandy Hook student:
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.
We learn more about him here:
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.
Would a suburban father wear camo pants? Possibly -- especially if he is a hunter. But the Manfredonia identification cannot explain the initial report from inside the building, which spoke of two shooters running past the gym. By the time Manfredonia entered the school, the shooting may have been already over. We can be certain that he was never in close proximity to Adam Lanza.

Here's where things get strange. Remember when we said that someone with a scanner recorded the police broadcasts during the event?
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...
This Rodia fellow had been arrested in July for stealing from a construction site.

Coincidence could easily explain Rodia's presence in the general vicinity. But on that very same scanner recording, we hear the cops read off the license plate number of the car: 872 YEO

This car is not registered to Rodia. It belonged to Adam Lanza. Here's a picture of Lanza's car being hauled away after the shooting:

So...do we have a genuine mystery?

Well...maybe not.

In part 3, Pterrafractal writes that the Rodia affair has been cleared up. He listened again to the scanner recording, this time paying very careful attention to the voices. The voice identifying license plate 872 YEO differs from the voice calling in a report on Rodia.
So at this point the only evi­dence regard­ing Mr. Rodia is the fact that he was appar­ently speed­ing some­where within the range of the indi­vid­ual that was record­ing the radio scans and got pulled over. The list­ing of his name and date of birth was coin­ci­den­tally done 20 sec­onds after an offi­cer reads the “872 YEO” plate num­ber on the shooter’s vehi­cle. That’s it.
Rodia appears to be innocent, at least in regard to the school shooting.

As for the guy in the camo pants: He was probably Manfredonia.

So we really have no evidence of a second shooter except for that initial report of two gunmen running past the gym. We don't know who made that observation, or under what circumstances the sighting was made. (Please don't give us the standard lecture on the reliability of witness testimony during fast-moving events: We all know the drill already.)

One aspect of this situation continues to disturb me: The pattern.

Dismissing the "second shooter" evidence in the Newtown tragedy is pretty easy to do, since the evidence doesn't really amount to much. I'm troubled by the fact that we hear such stories nearly every time a mass shooting takes place. In the case of the "Batman" massacre in Colorado, we have one very credible eyewitness who speaks of multiple shooters. On the other hand, if there truly were multiple killers in that theater, one would expect many more witnesses to make statements to that effect.

Added note: In previous posts, we talked about the widely-republished stories which held that the fathers of Adam Lanza (the Sandy Hook killer) and James Holmes (the Batman killer) were both scheduled to testify before Congressional committees looking into the LIBOR scandal. Those reports have been debunked.
“This rumor is 100% false,” a Senate Banking Committee aide, who asked not to be named, told TPM by email. “The Senate Banking Committee does not have any LIBOR hearings currently scheduled, and has never considered either of these men as potential witnesses.”
The false claim seems to have originated with a libertarian blogger who bears the unlikely name Fabian4Liberty.

What is it about libertarians? They have become the most outrageous hoax-mongers on the internet. The whole "controlled demolition" thesis of 9/11 began with irresponsible early posts by three self-proclaimed libertarians: David Rostcheck, Peter Meyer and Jared Israel. The most prominent current proponent of this idea is Alex Jones, yet another libertarian and proud resident of CloudCuckooLand.

Let's not even begin to talk about the Ron Paulies.

I guess if you're the sort of person who can convince yourself that Ayn Rand was a deep thinker, you must have a phobic reaction to reality.
Comments:
I'm so glad I didn't become one of those krazy konspiracy theorists. After I had accepted the findings of the Warren Commission, including the Magic Bullet Theory, I had no trouble believing that Sirhan Sirhan shot RFK in the back of the head repeatedly while standing in front of him, and I could understand how James Earl Ray could have afforded to travel to Canada, Portugal, and the UK after he had shot MLK for no particular reason. When Reagan was almost assassinated a few weeks after his inauguration, there was obviously no significance to the fact that the shooter was the son of a close personal friend of then-vice-president GHWBush.

I believe that a man who was severely ill with kidney disease in 2001 was murdered in Pakistan last year so his body could be thrown into the sea at night with no witnesses. And I accept the official story of the Sandy Hook School massacre completely without question. And the good news today is that the FBI has released a portion of the redacted material regarding the death of Marilyn Monroe after only 50 years. If we live long enough, maybe we'll be allowed to see the rest of that file along with the portions of the "Dallas thing" that are still locked up.
 
A standard retort when losing the argument (any argument with facts involved) is "Liberalism is a mental disorder". On the way home from work last night I listened to one of the more infamous AM hate mongers spout that very sentiment repeatedly.

I'm beginning to think it's projection because who other than a sick individual would start such conspiracy rumors at times of tragedy to further roil the emotions of survivors?
 
Good job, Joe. Glad to see someone actually understands journalism and fact-finding. I, too, remain mystified with the MiB black helicopter contingent. I've done at least a dozen "discussions" with people in the past month trying to show them that the Kenyan Usurper and the UN are not coming after their guns. Facts do not always persuade. (Most were, in fact, Paul supporters.)
 
Eventually forensics should be able to examine all the spent shell casings found at the site and determine which weapon/s fired them, and to compare them to the weapons and remaining unfired ammo recovered from Lanza.

Will that be sufficient to satisfy conspiracy-minded folk?
 
4-5 cops are seen, from overhead, sprinting up a wooded hill. No father is going to be so far from the school.

That guy being chased is not a father.


 
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