The victims of the US school shooting
were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, the medical examiner said Saturday, and he called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen.
Most of the victims were first grade students. Among the dead was a 6-year-old Jewish boy, Ynet has learned.
The examiner, Dr. H. Wayne Carver, said he examined seven of the 20 children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found."
Interview with teacher
Police said they had found "very good evidence" they hoped would answer questions about the motives of the 20-year-old gunman, described as brilliant but remote, who forced his way into the school and killed 26 children and adults in one of the world's worst mass shootings.
Witnesses said the gunman, Adam Lanza, didn't say a word as he shot children as young as 5 years old and later killed himself. Police have not officially identified the shooter.
'His tiny body coudn't handle it'
Noah Pozner, a 6-year-old boy who belongs to the Jewish community in Newtown, CT was among the victims. Noah's twin sister, also a student at the school, survived.
'Visitors welcome' (Photo: MCT)
A family friend said that that the first grader was shot from a very short range, "execution-style."
"His tiny body couldn't handle it," the friend said.
Rabbi Shaul Praver of Newtown convened the town's Jewish congregation at the Adath Israel Synagogue on Saturday and urged worshipers to react "with love and positivity in the wake of this tragedy."
In an interview with Ynet, Praver said the incident felt like a nightmare.
Congregants at Newtown synagogue (Photo: AP)
The boy's mother, Veronique Pozner, a nurse, was among the parents who rushed to the school as news of the shooting got out. When Noah failed to exit the school, she realized what had happened.
"She didn't know what do with herself," Praver recalled, noting she had burst into tears. While the rabbi didn't know Noah personally, he knew his family and even taught the boy's brother, David, before his Bar Mitzvah.
He told the congregation that the shootings reaffirm the "presence of evil in the world," but asked the worshipers to remember that "it's not God who did these things, but a deranged person," according to the CT Post.
Grief in Newtown (Photo: AP)
Stunned residents and exhausted officials continued Saturday to fill in the details of the attack.
The school's well-liked principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was killed while lunging at the gunman as she tried to overtake him, town officials said. Board of Education chairwoman Debbie Liedlien said administrators were coming out of a meeting when the gunman forced his way into the school, and they ran toward them.
Police said the shooter had no connection to the school in Newtown, a small and picturesque New England community about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northeast of New York City.
Mourning the victims (Photo: Reuters)
Connecticut state police Lt. Paul Vance told reporters Saturday that investigators had found "very good evidence" and hoped it would answer questions about the gunman's motives. Vance would not elaborate.
Another law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that investigators had found no note or manifesto of the sort they have come to expect after murderous rampages.
Just one person, a woman who worked at the school, was shot and survived – an unusually small number in a mass shooting – and Vance said her comments would be "instrumental."
A law enforcement official said a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle were found in the school and a fourth weapon was found outside the school. The official was not authorized to discuss information with reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Teacher killed in shooting
Lanza is believed to have suffered from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation. He attended Newtown High School, and several news clippings from recent years mention his name among the honor roll students.
Lanza shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, drove to the school in her car and shot up two classrooms Friday morning, law enforcement officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A custodian ran through the halls, warning of a gunman, and someone switched on the intercom, perhaps saving many lives by letting them hear the chaos in the school office, a teacher said. Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.
Worshippers in CT (Photo: Reuters)
Maryann Jacob, a clerk in the school library, was with 18 students when they heard gunfire outside the room. She had the children crawl into a storage room, and they locked the door and barricaded it with a file cabinet. There happened to be materials for coloring, "so we set them up with paper and crayons."
After what she guessed was about an hour, officers came to the door and knocked.
"One of them slid his badge under the door, and they called and said, 'It's OK, it's the police,'" Jacob said.
Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, of Hoboken, New Jersey, was questioned, but a law enforcement official said he was not believed to have had a role in the rampage. He told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the unfolding investigation.
Frightened kids led out of school (Photo: EPA)
The gunman's aunt Marsha Lanza said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.
"Nancy wasn't one to deny reality," Marsha Lanza said, adding her husband had seen Adam as recently as June and recalled nothing out of the ordinary.
The community also turned its focus Saturday to the young children who had witnessed the attack. Police had students to close their eyes as they were led from the building so they wouldn't see the blood and broken glass. In a photo by the local Newtown Bee newspaper that quickly became the defining image of the attack, children – some crying, many looking frightened – were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on one another's shoulders.
Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher. "That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."