Medical Examiner: The worst I’ve ever seen

At a late afternoon press conference, H. Wayne Carver II, the chief state’s medical examiner, released new details on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Carver said the victims were all killed by gunshot wounds and with a rifle.

Carver said if the victims did suffer, they didn’t suffer for long.

Here are a few key items from Carver’s statements:

  • Carver said he arrived within minutes of the building being secured Friday and was on site until 11 p.m. He and his colleagues took photos and did preliminary investigation on all victims while they were in the school. The victims’ bodies were then taken back to the medical examiner’s office in Farmington, all by 1 a.m. Saturday.
  • The autopsies on the children’s bodies were completed by 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • All autopsies except for those on the assailant and his mother have been completed. Those will be done Sunday morning.
  • All of the victims whose autopsies have been completed died of gunshot wounds. The manner of death has been cited as homicide in all cases.
  • “All of the wounds I know of were caused by the long weapon,” Carver said. “I did seven (autopsies) myself with three to 11 wounds apiece. Only two were shot at close range.”  “I believe everybody was hit (by bullets) more than once,” he said of all victims. “Shots were all over” the bodies.
  • When asked if the victims suffered. Carver answered “The best as I can answer that, if so, not for very long.”
  • Parents of the victims were shown pictures of the children’s facial features for identification. “I felt it was best to do it that way. You can control the situation that way if you have good photographers and I have very good photographers.”
  • When asked what the child victims were wearing, Carver answered “They were in cute kid stuff. They were first-graders. It’s the kind of stuff you’d send your kid or grandchild to school in.”
  • Paperwork was done and mortuaries all called as of 1:30 p.m.
Jim Shay