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?
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
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.
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
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.