“All the wounds that I know of at this point were caused by the long weapon,” said Carver, the medical examiner.
He said he saw multiple wounds on the bodies of those he examined, and based on his conversations with colleagues, “I believe everybody was hit more than once.” None of the victims likely survived very long after being hit, Carver said.
When police arrived, Lanza was dead. So were Hochsprung and five other adults. So were 18 children. Two more were pronounced dead later at a local hospital.
Sixteen of the 20 children were just 6 years old. The other four were 7.
Later, when investigators went to the home that Lanza shared with his mother, Nancy Lanza was found dead there — the first victim of the killings and the last discovered.
On Saturday, authorities said they had “very good evidence” regarding Adam Lanza’s motives. But they didn’t say what that evidence was, and law enforcement officials said they had not found anything like a suicide note.
“No words can truly express how heartbroken we are,” Adam Lanza’s father, Peter Lanza, said in a statement released Saturday. “We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why.”
Around the country, advocates for stronger gun-control laws said they hoped that the shock of this crime would start a debate that other mass shootings had not. Still, with so little known about Adam Lanza and the guns he used, it was difficult to say what sort of law, precisely, was needed to prevent another shooting like Friday’s.
“If having dozens of people gunned down in an elementary school doesn’t motivate Washington to do even the easy things they can do, it’s not clear what will,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group chaired by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) that represents 750 mayors across the country.
Politics will come later, once the country has become used to the idea that this actually happened. In Newtown on Saturday, the shooting still seemed to dwell in the realm of the unthinkable.
“The emotions of yesterday were just absolutely overwhelming,” Monsignor Robert Weiss of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown said in an interview Saturday with NBC News. “I don’t know if the reality has really settled in yet.’’
Weiss had accompanied police when they notified parents that their children had been killed. They asked him questions that most likely will never have answers.
“What were the last moments of these people’s lives like? They were wondering, did the child even know what was happening? Were they afraid? Did they see something coming?” Weiss told NBC. “ . . . So these parents are left with those unanswered questions in addition to just why this had to happen — why to their child?’’
Elswehere in Newtown, 8-year-old Maleeha Ali, a third-grader at Sandy Hook who escaped unharmed, came with her father and mother to Treadwell Park near the school with a sign she had made honoring Vicki Soto, the first-grade teacher who reportedly died trying to protect her students from the gunman. Soto taught Maleeha when she was in first grade, and the two would exchange greetings every day, the girls’ parents said.
The sign called Soto “our hero.”
One parent who lost a child, Robbie Parker, spoke to reporters Saturday evening. He expressed sympathy for Lanza’s family, saying, “I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you.”
Parker said that Emilie, the daughter he lost, was blond and blue-eyed and could light up a room. “All those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that the world was better because she was in it,” Parker said.
He recalled the last time he saw Emilie, on Friday morning as he headed to work. He had been teaching her Portuguese, and so their last conversation was in that language.
“She said that she loved me, and she gave me a kiss and I was out the door,” said Parker, whose family moved to Newtown eight months ago. “I’m so blessed to be her dad.”
Horwitz and Fahrenthold reported from Washington. Brady Dennis in Washington contributed to this report.