(TheBlaze/AP) — All of the victims of the Connecticut elementary school shooting were killed up close by multiple gunshot wounds, Connecticut’s chief medical examiner said Saturday.
Dr. H. Wayne Carver said at a news conference that the deaths are all “obviously” being classified as homicides.
Significantly, he added that he believes “everybody was hit more than once.”
“This is a very devastating set of injuries,” Carver remarked, explaining how they responded to the crisis Friday.
He said in a straightforward, pained voice:
“We took identification photographs; I did preliminary identification on all victims and had everybody transported back to Farmington by about 1 in the morning. Our entire staff turned out, started the postmortem examinations this morning. We completed the children by about 1:30, and I believe everybody except the assailant and his mother will be finished tonight, and I’ll do those tomorrow morning. Everybody that we’ve completed so far was caused by gunshot wounds…and obviously the manner of death in all these cases has been classified as homicide.”
The massacre of 20 children and 6 adults at the school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, a 20-year-old described as brilliant but remote, was driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.
“These 20 children were just beautiful, beautiful children,” Monsignor Robert Weiss said. “These 20 children lit up this community better than all these Christmas lights we have. … There are a lot brighter stars up there tonight because of these kids.”
Stories of the heroism of students and teachers have been steadily streaming out of Connecticut.
Kaitlin Roig, a teacher at the school, said she implored her students to be quiet after locking everyone in the classroom.
“If they started crying, I would take their face and say, `It’s going to be OK. Show me your smile,'” she recalled. “They said, `We want to go home for Christmas. Yes, yeah. I just want to hug my mom.’ Things like that, that were just heartbreaking.”
Watch the medical examiner’s remarks, below:
This post has been updated.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Pat Eaton-Robb and Matt Apuzzo and videographer Robert Ray in Newtown; Bridget Murphy in Boston; Samantha Henry in Newark, N.J.; Pete Yost in Washington; Michael Melia in Hartford; and the AP News Research Center in New York.