As with many murder-suicides, the gunman in the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting took to his grave the reasons that compelled him to kill more than two dozen people before taking his own life in the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
But those who knew the shooter struggled to reconcile the difference between the quiet, withdrawn 20-year-old without a criminal record and the man who wore black fatigues and a military vest and brought death to Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday.
Police say the shooter, Adam Lanza, killed his mother, Nancy, in their home before walking into the school and fatally shooting 26 more people -- 20 of them children no older than 7.
The rampage ended when Lanza apparently took his own life in a classroom. With him were three firearms: a semiautomatic .223-caliber rifle made by Bushmaster and two handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer.
Connecticut law requires gun owners to be at least 21. The guns, authorities said, belonged to his mother.
Police have yet to disclose whether they know a motive for the attack, which has left those who knew Lanza trying to discern whether anything in his past could have foreshadowed the present.
"He was a shy kid, quiet," said Alan Diaz who knew Lanza several years ago. "He would sometimes stand in the corner. We knew he was socially awkward and we just accepted it. But he was never threatening."
Diaz told CNN that he tried many times to to talk to Lanza to "try to include him."
'Definitely the challenge of the family'
Lanza moved to Connecticut from Kingston, New Hampshire, with his parents and older brother Ryan, according to a booklet for Newtown's Bennetts Farm neighborhood.
He enjoyed soccer, skateboarding and video games, the publication said.
In September 2009, when Lanza was 17, his mother and father divorced, court documents show.
What happened in the young man's life after that isn't clear, except that he continued to live in Newtown.
His father, Peter Lanza, remarried and moved to an area not far from the town, an official said.
Peter Lanza was questioned by authorities after the shooting, as was Adam Lanza's 24-year-old brother, Ryan.
Authorities have offered few details about Adam Lanza. He had no known criminal record, a law enforcement official said.
One of Lanza's aunts, Marsha, described him as a "quiet, nice kid" who had issues with learning, she said. Her husband is Lanza's paternal uncle.
"He was definitely the challenge of the family in that house. Every family has one," she told CNN affiliate WLS. "They have one. I have one. But never in trouble with the law, never in trouble with anything."
She said Lanza's mother "battled" with the school board and had to home-school her son.
"She had issues with school," said the aunt, who lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois. "I'm not 100% certain if it was behavior or learning disabilities, but he was a very, very bright boy. He was smart."