NEWTOWN -- Death was swift for the 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the state's chief medical examiner said Saturday.
All of them died from rifle shots. All were hit by more than one bullet. Very few died at close range. One victim had 11 wounds, in the worst murder scene that Dr. H. Wayne Carver II has witnessed.
"All the wounds that I know of at this point were caused by the long rifle," said Carver, of the high-powered Bushmaster .223 assault-style weapon that was suspected to be one of more than three weapons Adam Lanza took into the school after apparently murdering his mother about five miles away.
"This is a very devastating set of injuries," Carver said, adding that any who lived after being shot didn't survive for long.
"I've been at this for a third of a century," Carver said. "This is probably the worst I have seen or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues having seen."
Carver told reporters that he, four doctors, 10 other staff members and a college intern kept family members away from the bodies of the murdered, instead using photographs of the victims' faces for confirmation.
"There is a time and a place for up-close and personal in the grieving process, but to accomplish this, we thought it best to do it this way and you can control the situation, depending on your photographer," Carver said.
A temporary facility in the parking lot was set up for identification of the victims, who were later transferred to the medical examiner's offices in Farmington by 1 a.m. Saturday. Post-mortem examinations of the children were completed by the early afternoon.
Carver said he planned to perform the autopsies on Adam Lanza, the shooter and his mother, Nancy, on Sunday.
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