State police have identified the victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and recovered evidence pointing to the slain gunman’s motives.
A list of victims' names and birth dates released late Saturday afternoon showed that the 20 children killed at the school were all aged 6 or 7. All of the six adult victims were women.
The shooter, who has been identified in news reports as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, forced his way into the school, according to Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police, who spoke to reporters Saturday morning. Lanza reportedly committed suicide.
Lanza’s mother, the 27th victim, was found dead at a residence in Newtown. Early reports said she worked at the school, but Janet Robinson, the superintendent of the Newtown Public School District, later told reporters that there was no record of Nancy Lanza as a full-time employee.
Lanza had a Glock and a Sig Sauer, semi-automatic handguns, and a Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle, according to media reports. The guns were registered to Lanza’s mother.
Vance, the state police spokesman, denied reports that a fourth gun had been found outside the school and said no other person had been arrested in connection with the shooting, an indication it was carried out by Lanza alone.
“The weaponry that was recovered by investigators was recovered in close proximity of the deceased,” he said. “We’re investigating the history of each and every weapon.”
Connecticut Chief State Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver said Saturday afternoon that autopsies of the children had been completed. Examinations of the adult victims were expected to be finished later Saturday.
Autopsies for the gunman and his mother were scheduled Sunday morning.
Carver said all the cases had been classified as homicides.
“All the wounds that I know of at this point were caused by the long weapon,” Carver said.
“I believe everyone was hit more than once.”
Vance said investigators at the school and at the house where the 27th victim’s body was found collected “some very good evidence” that may explain “how and, more importantly, why this occurred.”
He said investigators have established that the gunman forced his way into the school, but did not reveal his point of entry.
Shooting teams who were part of the rescue response broke several windows to get into the school, he explained.
The police reiterated a request to the media to respect the privacy of the victims’ families and have assigned troopers to “help maintain that solitude.”
A crisis intervention team from Yale-New Haven Hospital will counsel families who lost loved ones and other residents of Newtown.
During his weekly address Saturday, Obama called on the nation to extend support to the families of the victims and pray for them.
“Because while nothing can take the place of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need — to remind them that we are there for them; and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories, but also in their community, and their country,” he said.
Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown’s public schools, said Sandy Hook would remain closed this coming week as other schools open. She said the elementary school’s children would be placed, at least temporarily, in other schools.
She said school officials had done everything possible to secure the school before the surprise assault.
“I really do believe that we have done everything at all of our schools to be as secure as possible,” she said in interview with Matt Lauer, the host of NBC’s “Today.” “You don’t believe this could happen in a community like this.”
“We will find a way to heal,” said Patricia Llodra, Newtown’s first selectman, said on Saturday.
As people grappled with the aftermath of the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, reports emerged of other incidents around the country.
Police killed a gunman who shot and wounded three people early Saturday morning at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
Police on Friday arrested a teenager in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for allegedly plotting to shoot and bomb students in a high school auditorium.
--This report was originally published at 11:10 a.m. and last updated at 7:19 p.m.