The victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings each had between three and 11 wounds, Chief State Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver III said Saturday afternoon.
"This is a very devastating set of injuries," Carver said at a press conference. "I've been at this a third of a century. This probably is the worst I have seen, or the worst I know of any of my colleagues having seen."
Carver said all four of the doctors and 10 technicians in his office worked on the autopsies of the 26 dead on Saturday, and they expect to be finished by Sunday morning.
Newtown First Selectwoman Patricia Llodra asked that her community, mourning the deaths of 20 children and six adults in the worst shooting at a primary school in U.S. history, be treated with "kindness and respect."
"Our wound is deep because we are a close-knit community," she said at the same press conference. "We truly care for each other … We will put our arms around those families and around each other. We will find a way to heal so that all of our residents, young and old, will again find peace."
Llodra thanked many in the state and the nation for their outreach, and said, "Please know that we have suffered a terrible loss and we need your respect."
On Friday, a gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School by blasting as many as a half-dozen shots through the front door, police said. The shooter also killed himself inside the school, authorities said, and his mother was later found dead at her home 2 miles away.
Saturday night Robbie Parker remembered his 6-year-old daughter, Emilie Parker, as a "bright," "creative" girl who acted as a mentor to her 3- and 4-year-old sisters.
"Emily's laughter was infectious and all those who met her would agree this world is a better place because she has been in it," Parker, 30, told reporters Saturday in Newtown. "She was beautiful, she was blond, always smiling. She was the type of person that could just light up a room. She always had something kind to say about anybody, and her love and the strength she gave us and the example she showed us is remarkable.
"She is an incredible person and I'm so blessed to be her dad."
Parker said he has found strength through his faith and family, and is comforted to know he's not alone.
The parents of the other victims are "in the same boat as we are," he said. "The emotions might be different … but we're all in this together and we're forever linked by this event."
One of those killed, first-grade teacher Victoria Soto, died after hiding her students, a source told The Courant.
Soto was a teacher in room 10, the classroom next to where the shooting began, the source said. She hid her students — 15 or 16 of them, some possibly in a bathroom — before the gunman entered the room.
He wanted to shoot more people, the source said, but, seeing no one but Soto, he shot her, then left the room, the source sad.
Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, was also killed.
"She died protecting the children that she adored so much. It's just incredibly shocking,'' said Gerald Stomski, first selectman in Woodbury, where Hochsprung lived. Hochsprung had been the principal in the Bethlehem and Woodbury school district before taking the job in Newtown two years ago.
The shootings took place in two first-grade classrooms around 9:30 a.m., sources said, and one witness said she believed as many as 100 rounds had been fired. All of the adults and 18 of the children were pronounced dead at the school. Two more students died at a hospital. One victim was injured but not killed.
State police sources identified the shooter as Adam Lanza, 20, who was a graduate of Newtown High School. Lanza was dressed in black fatigues and brought two weapons into the school, police sources said: a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols. A .223-caliber rifle was found in his car in the school parking lot, sources said.