Newtown to release 911 tapes

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The 911 recordings from the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school last year will be released to the public Wednesday, town officials said Monday.

A Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled last week that the tapes from the massacre in Newtown should be released to The Associated Press after a lengthy fight over the records, which investigators have withheld.

State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, the lead investigator of the shooting, raised several arguments to shield the recordings that were rejected first by Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission, which ruled in favor of the AP in September, and then the judge who ordered their release.

Judge Eliot Prescott said last week the tapes would remain sealed until Wednesday to give Sedensky a chance to appeal. Sedensky declined to comment Monday.

The tapes will be available Wednesday at a law office in Danbury, according to the statement released by Newtown’s first selectman’s office.

The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on the morning of Dec. 14 and gunned down 20 children and six women with a semi-automatic rifle. He also killed his mother in their Newtown home before driving to the school.

The AP has sought the recordings in part to examine the police response to the massacre.

The AP will review the content and determine what, if any, of it would meet the news cooperative’s standards for publication.

In his ruling last week, Prescott denied a request by Sedensky for a stay of the FOI commission’s ruling as he appeals that order. Prescott said the release of the tapes will help the public gauge the appropriateness of law enforcement’s response.

“Delaying the release of the audio recordings, particularly where the legal justification to keep them confidential is lacking, only serves to fuel speculation about and undermine confidence in our law enforcement officials,” the judge wrote.

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