Sandy Hook School shooting victims identified; gunshot wounds caused all deaths
20 kids killed were between 6-7,in first grade
Police tape is viewed outside of the entrance to the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 15, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty six people were shot dead, including twenty children. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Image copyright 2012 Getty Images. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Last Updated: 185 days ago
NEWTOWN, Conn. - In identifying the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the medical examiner confirmed that all of the victims died of multiple gunshot wounds.
"I believe everybody was hit more than once," said Dr. H. Wayne Carver, II, Connecticut's chief medical examiner.
Twenty children and six adults were killed inside the Newtown, Connecticut school before the gunman killed himself.
All six adults killed at the school were women. Of the 20 children, eight were boys and 12 were girls. All the children were ages 6 or 7. [Complete list at the bottom of this page]
"I just hope that everybody gets the help that they need," said Robbie Parker, father of 6-year-old victim Emilie Parker.
Parker added that he wasn't mad and expressed sympathy for the shooter's family.
When talking about his daughter he said, "She was beautiful. She was blond. She was always smiling."
Carver said he'd completed seven of the autopsies himself and found in those cases that the victims were shot between three and 11 times. Two of the victims were shot at close range, he said.
"All the ones I dealt with... I believe they're all first graders," Carver said.
Asked about his own emotions during the autopsies and investigation, Carver said, "This probably is the worst I've seen or the worst I know of any of my colleagues having seen."
Carver also revealed that most of the injuries were caused by a rifle and he described them as a "devastating set of injuries."
According to ABC, the shooter was armed with at least 2 handguns in addition to the rifle, said to be a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle. The network is identifying the shooter as Adam Lanza, 20, but Connecticut State Police have not officially confirmed that identification.
Before the names were released, Newtown's first selectman, Patricia Llodra, acknowledged the tragedy of the shooting but requested the swarm of reporters in her town be respectful.
"We will find a way to heal so that all of our residents, young and old, will find peace," she said. "We will need your respect on this healing journey."
- Charlotte Bacon, 6
- Daniel Barden, 7
- Rachel Davino, 29
- Olivia Engel, 6
- Josephine Gay, 7
- Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
- Dylan Hockley, 6
- Dawn Hocksprung, 47
- Madeline Hsu, 6
- Catherine Hubbard, 6
- Chase Kowalski, 7
- Jesse Lewis, 6
- James Mattioli, 6
- Grace McDonnell, 7
- Anne Marie Murphy, 52
- Emilie Parker, 6
- Jack Pinto, 6
- Noah Pozner, 6
- Caroline Previdi, 6
- Jessica Rekos, 6
- Avielle Richman, 6
- Lauren Russeau, 30
- Mary Sherlach, 56
- Victoria Soto, 27
- Benjamin Wheeler, 6
- Allison Wyatt, 6
A glimpse of some of those who died from the Associated Press:
She beams in snapshots. Her enthusiasm and cheer was evident. She was doing, those who knew her say, what she loved.
And now, Victoria Soto is being called a hero.
Though details of the 27-year-old teacher's death remained fuzzy, her name has been invoked again and again as a portrait of selflessness and humanity among unfathomable evil.
Investigators informed relatives that she was killed while shielding her first-graders from danger. She reportedly hid some students in a bathroom or closet, ensuring they were safe, a cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News.
"She was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm," Wiltsie told ABC. "And by doing that, put herself between the gunman and the children."
Photos of Soto show her always with a wide smile, in pictures of her at her college graduation and in mundane daily life. She looks so young, barely an adult herself. Her goal was simply to be a teacher.
"She lost her life doing what she loved," Wiltsie said.
A year ago, 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene was reveling in holiday celebrations with her extended family on her first trip to Puerto Rico. This year will be heartbreakingly different.
The girl's grandmother, Elba Marquez, said the child's family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook's pristine reputation. The grandmother's brother, Jorge Marquez, is mayor of a Puerto Rican town and said the child's 9-year-old brother was also at the school, but escaped safely.
Elba Marquez had just visited the new home over Thanksgiving and finds herself perplexed by what happened.
"It was a beautiful place, just beautiful," she said. "What happened does not match up with the place where they live."
Dawn Hochsprung's pride in Sandy Hook Elementary was clear. She regularly tweeted photos from her time as principal there, giving indelible glimpses of life at a place now known for tragedy. Just this week, it was an image of fourth-graders rehearsing for their winter concert, days before that the tiny hands of kindergartners exchanging play money at their makeshift grocery store.
She viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee in 2010 that "I don't think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day." She had worked to make Sandy Hook a place of safety, too, and in October, 47-year-old Hochsprung shared a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message "Safety first." When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend.
Officials said she died while lunging at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him.
"She had an extremely likable style about her," said Gerald Stomski, first selectman of Woodbury, where Hochsprung lived and had taught. "She was an extremely charismatic principal while she was here."
When the shots rang out, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, threw herself into the danger.
Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school's principal ran toward the shooter. They lost their own lives, rushing toward him.
Even as Sherlach neared retirement, her job at Sandy Hook was one she loved. Those who knew her called her a wonderful neighbor, a beautiful person, a dedicated educator.
Her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Sherlach rooted on the Miami Dolphins, enjoyed visiting
the Finger Lakes, relished helping children overcome their problems. She had planned to leave work early on Friday, he said, but never had the chance. In a news conference Saturday, he told reporters the loss was devastating, but that Sherlach was doing what she loved.
"Mary felt like she was doing God's work," he said, "working with the children."
Lauren Rousseau had spent years working as a substitute teacher and doing other jobs. So she was thrilled when she finally realized her goal this fall to become a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook. Her mother, Teresa Rousseau, does not hold back when describing what the job meant to her daughter.
"It was the best year of her life," she told the Danbury News-Times, where she is a copy editor.
Rousseau has been called gentle, spirited and active. She had planned to see "The Hobbit" with her boyfriend Friday and had baked cupcakes for a party they were to attend afterward. She was a Danbury native, a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the University of Bridgeport, a lover of music, dance and theater.
"I'm used to having people die who are older," her mother said, "not the person whose room is up over the kitchen."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.