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Killer's barber: His mom did the talking

By Wayne Drash, CNN
December 19, 2012 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Barber was cutting hair on Friday when Sandy Hook massacre happened
  • The killer, Adam Lanza, had come to him for haircuts since he was about 12
  • Lanza's mother would bring her son in, but the cuts stopped after five years
  • Barber said Lanza's behavior was odd, but he never thought he'd turn violent

Newtown, Connecticut (CNN) -- Bob Skuba is a whirl of energy. Outspoken, loud and opinionated, he's the embodiment of East Coast bravado.

He's got a new distinction now: He was Adam Lanza's barber.

... I used to cut the killer's hair ...

It's hard to process. Skuba was clipping hair on Friday at Robert Anthony's Hair Salon, the shop he, his mom and sister have run for the last 13 years.

First one police car drove by. Then two. Then five. Then 10, followed by 10 undercover police cars.

Then, word came of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School -- and who had carried it out.

That kid used to sit right here, in this barber chair.

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You're sitting in the chair where he used to sit and get a haircut, he tells a visitor on Tuesday.

Skuba puts his hand on the black barber chair.

That sick, son of a ...

The barber shakes his head.

Read more: New details surface

Lanza would sit with his head straight down, his eyes adrift, never making eye contact. Skuba would run clippers through his hair like a buzz saw.

The kid was about 12 when he first came to the shop. His mom would bring him in, every four weeks, over the next five years.

People would tell the barber not to talk with the kid, that he was a strange bird.

But Skuba's not one to keep his mouth shut. He can't stop talking for more than 15 seconds.

How you doing? How's school? What you been up to lately?

His mom, Nancy Lanza -- who Lanza killed at her house before his school rampage -- would jump in and answer for her son.

He's not in school. I'm homeschooling.

Lanza would not say a word. Every now and then, he'd mumble something. His mother was the boss. She'd pipe up when the barber asked Adam if he liked his haircut.

I don't like it, Mom would say. Cut it shorter, trim his sideburns.

When the haircut was done, the barber would tell Lanza it was time to get up. But he'd just sit there, like he was still getting clipped.

His mom would grab him by the arm and yank him up.

It's time to go, Adam. Your haircut is done.

The boy would listen to his mother. Always, always, always. Never would he disobey her.

Friends: Mom was nothing like son

The barber would stand there, his eyes raised at the weirdness of it all.

What the f***?

The barber's sister would tell him there was something wrong with Lanza, that he wasn't right.

Skuba never knew what exactly was wrong. Lanza never looked like he was dangerous. He didn't seem like the type, a nerdy teen with oversized dress shirts buttoned to the top.

Never, never did he think the kid would do this.

He had to be possessed by the devil. I don't care how messed up you are. No one shoots a child 11 times.

About three years ago, the haircuts stopped. The barber thought Adam must have moved to a different town. His mom was always punctual with setting up his haircuts, a real regular.

The salon is just across the street from St. Rose of Lima, a Roman Catholic Church. On Tuesday, the church bid farewell to 6-year-old Jessica Rekos.

Skuba stood out front and watched as the hearse, under heavy police escort, pulled out and the funeral procession headed to the cemetery.

Distraught, he shook his head. Never could he have imagined.

Remembering the victims

Inside his shop, he stood at the chair where he'd cut Adam Lanza's hair so many times over the years.

"It's just weird that I actually touched him. That's the worst part about it -- that he was in one of our chairs. I'd try to joke with him. He wouldn't even look at me."

Admittedly, he has a terrible thought.

He wishes he'd have killed Adam.

"I wish I would've killed him then," he says. "Or he should have killed himself a long time ago. He would've saved us all the trouble. ... He should've run in front of a bus, or some other type of terrible death he should've done to himself.

"It would've saved all those kids and parents the trouble. I should've slipped and stabbed him by accident. It would've been a lot better for those people."

Skuba's not sure if he cut the hair of any of the slain children. He hasn't let his mind go there.

I don't really want to talk about that.

He's lived in Newtown for more than 30 years. He puts down his clippers.

Then, he sighs.

Opinion: Predicting mass killings impossible

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