The mother of the Connecticut gunman taught him to handle firearms to instill him with a "sense of responsibility" and even took him to the shooting range days before the atrocity, it was claimed.
It also emerged that Adam Lanza was so emotionally detached in his teens that school officials assigned him a psychiatrist. They feared that he might harm himself, but did not regard him as a danger to others.
Lanza, a computer "nerd" who was said to have had a development disorder, "loved being careful" with guns and "made it a source of pride", according to friends of his mother Nancy.
Mrs Lanza, a gun enthusiast who owned at least five weapons and was the first victim of his rampage, introduced Adam and his older brother Ryan to firearms at a young age. Indeed, she took her younger son to a local firing range just days before the rampage.
"She told me she had wanted to introduce them to the guns to teach, especially Adam, a sense of responsibility," a friend told pressmen. "Guns require a lot of respect and she really tried to instill that. . . and he took to it. He loved being careful with them. He made it a source of pride."
The friends, who called Mrs Lanza a vivacious "country girl", insisted that the weapons would have been locked up at the home where she had lived with her young son after Ryan moved away and her divorce from their father, Peter. "She was very responsible," said one.
Mrs Lanza was clearly aware of warning signs about her son's troubles. Indeed, she cautioned a babysitter who looked after him when he was nine or 10 never to turn his back on the child. Ryan Kraft, who was in his mid-teens at the time, said she told him "to keep an eye on him at all times. . . to never turn my back, or even to go to the bathroom".
Mr Kraft recalled the boy as highly intelligent, introverted and extremely focused. "It was like he was in his own world," he said.
Mrs Lanza was a loving mother who was very involved in her children's lives, he said.
Despite all her efforts, she had just confided to another friend recently that she feared she was "losing her son" as his mental health deteriorated.
Meanwhile, the families of Lanza's many victims began the heartbreaking task of burying their children.
Noah Pozner, who was just six, was described by his uncle, Allexis Haller, as being as "smart as a whip' but also "gentle with a rambunctious streak".
The young boy's twin sister was at the school at the time of the incident, but survived the attack because she had been in a different classroom. Her family said that she was her brother's best friend, and the pair had been inseparable.
Yesterday the boy's family gathered at a funeral Home in Fairfield, Connecticut, for the service and his burial took place shortly at a nearby cemetery.
At the same time some 20 miles away, the family of Jack Pinto, also aged six, came together in Danbury for his funeral at the Newtown Village Cemetery. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Kevin Myers - Page 32