Today’s LA Times story is about Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School horror in Newtown, Connecticut….
Here’s what didn’t make it into the story, from Olivia DeVivo, a thoughtful junior at UConn, who was kind enough to share her thoughts about the kid with whom she shared an English class when they both were sophomores at Newtown High School:
“…For Olivia DeVivo, Adam Lanza was a mystery throughout her sophomore year.
The two were in an Honors English class, reading Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn and Of Mice and Men.
Lanza sat in front of DeVivo, now 20, who remembers a young man who was thin, heartbreakingly shy and friendless.
“It was almost painful to have a conversation with him because he felt so uncomfortable,” DeVivo said.
DeVivo remembered a youth who was not “slacking off in the back of the classroom. He appeared to be paying attention, but when it came to class participation or any kind of interaction, he was not capable.”
“I’m not sure who his friends were. You can tell when there’s something a little off about a person. You could tell that it was more than just being shy,” she said.
Still, she said, “I never associated him with, or knew he had, any kind of disability.”
For a while Friday morning, five years later, DeVivo said she had trouble placing the name when she heard it for the first time connected to the shooting. It was only when she saw his photo that the memories of that sophomore English class came flooding back.
“I spent so much time in my English class wondering what he was thinking,” she said.
DeVivo is now at the University of Connecticut, double-majoring in Spanish and in psychology – the latter a long-time interest of hers.
“I think it was more because I was interested in psychology that I paid more attention and thinking maybe there was something more going on with him,” she said. “I didn’t want to reach out to him because he didn’t seem like he wanted to be approached and I didn’t want to put him in an uncomfortable.”
This article was first published in A Reporter’s blog.
Sam Quiñones has been a working reporter for 25 years, including 10 years in Mexico as afreelance writer. He is the author of two books, and many stories about immigrants, gangs, drug trafficking and more.[Photo courtesy DonkeyHotey]