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‘He would have killed me in a heartbeat’

New York -

The father of Adam Lanza, the shooter who committed one of the worst school massacres in US history, said he believes the killings couldn't have been predicted.

The entrance to Sandy Hook Elementary is seen after an attack by gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut, in this police evidence photograph released by the state attorney's office on November 25, 2013. Credit: Reuters

Peter Lanza said he constantly thinks about what he could have done differently.

“Any variation on what I did and how my relationship was had to be good, because no outcome could be worse,” he said.

“You can't get any more evil”, he said. “How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he's my son? A lot,” he added.

In his most extensive comments since the December 2012 shooting, Lanza described his struggle to comprehend his son's actions in a series of interviews with The New Yorker magazine.

The rampage in Newtown, Connecticut, killed 20 schoolchildren and six educators at the elementary school in the town. Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother in their Newtown home before going to the school, and killed himself after the rampage.

Peter Lanza said he had no doubt he would have been killed, too, had his son had the chance.

“With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he'd had the chance. I don't question that for a minute.”

Andrew Soloman, the author of the article, told NBC's Today Show that Lanza is “haunted” by the killings.

“He wishes he could go back in time and fix what went wrong. He's a kind, decent man, and he's horrified that his own child could have caused this destruction,” Soloman said.

Peter Lanza said Adam was 13 when a psychiatrist diagnosed him with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.

He and Adam's mother divorced in 2009 and he hadn't seen his son in more than two years before the attack.

He doubts he would have recognised him. “All I could picture is there'd be nothing there, there'd be nothing. Almost, like, ‘Who are you, stranger?’” said Lanza, who is vice-president for taxes at GE Energy Financial Services, a subsidiary of General Electric.

He said he wished Adam had never been born - a feeling that “didn't come right away”.

He acknowledged that it isn't “a natural thing” to think that way about one's child.

But “there can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there”. - Sapa-dpa

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