NEWTOWN, CT (ABC News) - The aunt of Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza said the shooter's mother pulled him out of Newtown's public school system because she was unhappy with the school district's plans for her son.
Adam Lanza's mother Nancy, 52, was the first victim of his Friday shooting spree. Lanza shot Nancy in the face and then drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 20 students and six adults before taking his own life.
Marsha Lanza, who is Adam's aunt and Nancy's ex-sister-in-law, called her former sister-in-law an "awesome ... giving person." She also told Evelyn Holmes of ABC-owned-and-operated station WLS in Chicago that Nancy had once been a classroom aide at the Sandy Hook school.
Marsha, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, said that Nancy had home-schooled Adam after pulling him out of the Newtown public school system. "She mentioned she wound up home-schooling him because she battled with the school district," said Marsha.
She did not know when Adam had left school. According to former classmates, Adam had attended the local high school at least through part of 10th grade.
Nancy Lanza divorced her husband Peter in 2009, when Adam was 17. "She didn't have to work because my brother-in-law left her very well off," said Marsha. "As part of their divorce settlement she got the house."
Marsha also said, however, that Nancy had purchased guns because she was living alone in a big house. Nancy was originally from New Hampshire, said Marsha, and comfortable with weapons.
According to police, a Glock handgun, a Sig Sauer handgun and a Bushmaster rifle were recovered after the shooting at Sandy Hook. Authorities say that Nancy Lanza had five weapons registered to her, including a Sig Sauer, a Glock and a Bushmaster. Police have not confirmed that hers were the weapons used in the slayings.
Nancy was described by Police Chief Donald Briggs of Kingston, N.H., where she grew up, as a "very, very kind considerate loving young lady. She lived here a good part of her life she was very involved in the community, very well respected."
Briggs and Rockingham County Sheriff Michael Downing spoke at a news conference where Downing read a statement from Nancy's brother, James Champion, who was a captain with the Kingston police before he retired but still works part-time for both the Kingston police and Rockingham County sheriff.
"The family of Nancy Lanza share the grief of a community and the nation of we struggle to comprehend the tremendous loss that we all share our hearts and prayers are with those who share in this loss the families teachers staff and students of Sandy Brook Elementary school the first responders and to all others touched by this tragedy on behalf of Nancy's mother and siblings we reach out to the community of Newtown and express our heartfelt sorrow for the incomprehensible and profound innocence that has affected so many the family requests that you respect their privacy during this time of anguish and loss," Downing said, reading the statement on behalf of the Champion family.