Ryan Lanza. Image courtesy of USA TODAY/Facebook.
By Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
The suspect in the Connecticut shooting, Adam Lanza, 20, was apparently carrying his older brother Ryan's identification, setting off a media mixup that propelled Ryan's Facebook photo onto the Internet tens of thousands of times as the purported shooter and prompting him to post a plaintive plea: "It wasn't me."
By early evening, the photo of Ryan Lanza, who is listed as living in Hoboken and originally from Newtown, Conn., the site of the shooting, had been shared nearly14,000 times, according to his Facebook page.
The Jersey Journal ran an excerpt from his Facebook page showing him getting increasingly frustrated over being sucked into the story.
One posting, on a page visible only to friends, reads: "I'm on the bus home now it wasn't me"
Seven minutes later, according to the Journal's screen grab of the page, he ups the ante to all caps with this cry: IT WASN'T ME I WAS AT WORK IT WASN'T ME
Meanwhile, according to the newspaper, former Journal staff writer Brett Wilshe said he had spoken with the besieged Ryan Lanza, who told Wilshe the shooter may have had his identification.
Now, it appears, that shooter was his brother, Adam, USA TODAY's Kevin Johnson reported. Ryan was taken into custody in the late afternoon for questioning by Hoboken police.
A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that Ryan Lanza had been extremely cooperative, was not believed to have any involvement in the rampage and was not under arrest or in custody, but investigators were still searching his computers and phone records.
Ryan Lanza told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.
CNN, quoting police, was among the first news outlets to identify Ryan Lanza as the alleged suspect, setting off the mad scramble for more information.
Since it takes only a couple of keyboard taps to pull up the Facebook page, Ryan Lanza of Hoboken surfaced and his photo quickly hit the Internet.
Adding to the confusion, Gawker reports, was a Twitter account from another Ryan Lanza, who has no relationship to the other Lanzas, except to the share their last name.
His appeal: "so aperently im getting spammed bc someone with the same name as me killed some ppl... wtf?"