Marsha Lanza is trying to ensure people know she and her family share a surname and nothing else with the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooter, Adam Lanza.
The shooter's aunt, who lives in Crystal Lake, Ill., has been the most vocal member of the Lanza family since the 20-year-old went on a shooting rampage that left his mother and 26 adults and children dead.
"[My family] didn't want me to go to the press but I thought someone from the Lanza family should be represented," Marsha Lanza said to ABC Chicago.
Lanza said that while she and her immediate family have "shed their tears" for the tragedy, she is also worried about the repercussions her nephew's horrible crimes may have on her own children.
"[The shooting] has tarnished the name," Lanza said. "We are related, but did not have anything to do with it."
Lanza's longtime friend Paula Nedza told the Northwest Herald, "[Marsha's] concerned” for her five children. “She doesn’t want them to get harassed.”
“The family is trying to figure out how to cope at this point,” Nedza added. "They’re victims, too.”
Describing the killer as "a very, very bright boy," Lanza told CBS Chicago she was aware her sister-in-law, a single mother, owned three guns. Lanza insists the arms were “for self-defense and no other reason, because they were not a violent family.”
Lanza said while she had not seen Adam since he was three years old, she corresponded with his mother often, usually via Facebook. Marsha sent a Facebook message last Friday morning asking Nancy how she was doing. Nancy never responded.
Lanza's husband is the brother of the shooter's father, Peter Lanza. Lanza said she has not been able to contact Peter since the shooting.