Marsha Lanza said she considered her nephew "very bright, very brilliant. I guess he was what you might call a computer geek."

Mother, Father

Those who know Adam Lanza's parents were grieving for the mother and expressing sympathy for the father.

His father, Peter Lanza, an accountant, lives in Stamford with his second wife.

On Saturday afternoon, Stamford police stood guard outside his home, and residents from the affluent north Stamford neighborhood slowed down while driving past the line of press cars and SUVs parked along the street.

A neighbor, Tony Battinelli, said Lanza has lived in the modest, older, one-story gray house for a year or two.

"As a parent, I feel for him. I can't imagine what he's going through right now," Battinelli said.

Peter Lanza released the following statement through an intermediary:

"Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all those who were injured. Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are.

"We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired."

Friends and neighbors on Yogananda Street in Newtown said Nancy Lanza was a kind woman with a sense of humor. Slender, with short hair, she was a fixture at neighborhood events such as the Labor Day parade, and had a flair for setting up Christmas lights.

Neighbors said the hilly, affluent neighborhood in the east end of town is a children- and family-friendly place. The description was affirmed by the children riding their bikes and the folks walking their dogs despite the crush of TV trucks and reporters waiting near the Lanza home.

Rhonda Cullens, Nancy Lanza's friend and neighbor, fought back tears Friday afternoon in the doorway of her home on Founders Lane, around the corner from the Lanza residence.

She said she met Nancy Lanza playing bunco, a popular dice game, with a group of women in the neighborhood, but she hadn't seen her for years since she stopped playing with the group. "She was just a sweet, caring person," Cullens said.

Courant staff reporters Dave Altimari, Brian Dowling, Susan Dunne, Kenneth Gosselin, Jesse Leavenworth and Don Stacom contributed to this story. Information from Chicago Tribune correspondent Mark Shuman is also included.