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Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting in Connecticut Coverage; Press Conference in Newtown
Aired December 15, 2012 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Newtown, Connecticut, small New England town that is suddenly and very tragically well-known. The bodies of 20 children and six adults killed by an alleged shooter named Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary school yesterday have now been removed from that school. The victims have been identified.
Now, Newtown is the story of a town that's just been shattered. Neighbors and friends all trying today make sense of something that absolutely defies making sense of. I spoke with one man whose friends lost their son who was 5-years-old in the shooting on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They came two years ago from England and very nice family. They fit into this community just perfectly I would say. And basically very close I would say. That's all I can say, close friends, like family.
O'BRIEN: How did you find out that their son had died?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last night. We -- we felt something unusual because they didn't respond on the phone calls or messages. And last night, basically, they called us and just told us their son not with us anymore. And that's how it happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Also today, I spoke with a young mother who was waiting for the victims' names to be released asked her if she thought she might know some who were on that list who had been killed. Shears what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUREN DIMARTINO, NEWTOWN RESIDENT: Unfortunately, probably yes. And it's just a matter of finding out.
O'BRIEN: How will you help them? What can you possibly say that helps another parent who has lost a child? I don't know what that is. I don't know what those words are.
DIMARTINO: I don't think there are words. I think it's coming to these memorials. I think it's being close from one family to another and just being there. You know? Just hugs. I don't think there are any words. (END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: And so today, any attempt at any kind of recovery begins. This is a very close knit community, Newtown. It is a community of neighbor whose knows each other even if the kids don't go to the same schools, they care about each other. It is going to take an incredible amount of caring to help the friends and families of the victims of Friday's shooting begin to move forward in any way again.
A lot to talk about this morning to give you as much information as we now know on what happened on Friday and more about the shooter in this case. There are some new information we're working on. A law enforcement official is telling CNN in fact, that the alleged shooter had some sort of altercation with some of the people at the school a few days before the killings, and Joe Johnson joins me with a little bit more about this.
What happened in that altercation, Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, as you know, we've been dealing with information that's all over the place. Investigators though have been told that Adam Lanza had some type of altercation at the school on the day before the massacre. Not clear right now what that may have been about. We've been reaching out to authorities to try to expand on that. Got no more details. The reporting on this has been all over the place. But this source is telling me on the ground that they don't think the story of that altercation is bad information. So looking to learn more how many people may have been involved and obviously, the source of it -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Yes, we heard in the press conference a little bit earlier today, Joe, that there was lots of evidence and at some point they would be able to sort of peel back as they described it, the pieces of the onion and be able to explain hopefully how and why all of this happened.
So Joe, we know there's a little more information about the guns that were involved in the shooting. What do you know?
JOHNS: The gun investigation continues. A federal source telling me that the tracing operation has not been completed on the guns confiscated in this crime. That trace goes back to the manufacturer through the distributor and all the buyers. As of this morning, the Connecticut school shooter identified as Adam Lanza had access, we're told, to a total of six guns. That's up from three we were hearing last night. The latest is that three of the firearms were found inside the school with the shooter along with a Glock, Six Sauer, Bushmaster, semiautomatic. And we are told that those three weapons were found inside the school and were legally purchased by his mother. Yes, that's right by his mother, Nancy, who was found deceased yesterday.
The other three weapons, according to CNN's Susan Candiotti include a .45 caliber Henry repeating rifle, a .22 caliber marlin rifle and a .30 caliber infield rifle not clear whether those guns were found in the car that Lanza had been driving or elsewhere.
So, still trying to sort a lot of this out. There's also, of course, new reporting by CNN's Susan Candiotti that in fact, the shooter did try to purchase some type of a firearm earlier in the week at a Dick's sporting goods store and looking to Susan Candiotti for some more reporting on that.
Back to you, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: OK. So, that's a little bit of a change then because we had heard earlier in the day reports that that Bushmaster was actually in the vehicle and never made its way into the school.
O'BRIEN: Sounds like there's a change there. There are three weapons now in the school, one being that semiautomatic rifle being reported now in the school.
All right, Joe Johns for us. Thank you, Joe, for the update. Appreciate it.
The people here in Newtown, Connecticut, are very slowly beginning to learn some of the names of the victims and we know the numbers certainly, 20 children all between the ages of five and ten. The school went up to fourth grade, K to four. Twenty children died in the shooting spree. There were six adults as well who died, among them the school's principal. Her name was Dawn Hocksprung. And she was 47-years-old. She has been the principal since 2010. And in that time, she had overhauled the school's security system. Some of the parents were telling us about this yesterday. She leaves behind a husband and five children. Those who remembered her said she created an environment in her school that made people feel accepted and important and they truly loved her.
We're also learning a little bit more about one of the teachers today. Vickie Soto was killed while she was trying to protect and hide the children who were in her class.
Our CNN affiliate News 12 Connecticut reporter Sarah Hagan has more on her story.
SARAH HAGAN, REPORTER, NEWS 12 CONNECTICUT: I am told that Victoria Lee Soto was a graduate from Stratford high school that you see behind me. Now, take a look at this photo. This was a recent staff school picture taken just last week at Sandy Hook. Her family says she had her students huddled behind her trying to protect them when she was shot and killed. They say she is a hero and did everything she could. Her cousin, Jim Wiltsie, a Farmville police office says one of the hardest parts yesterday was waiting to hear if she was dead or alive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM WILTSIE, COUSIN: At that point, it was the hardest for the whole family, just the waiting game, sort of receive word on what happened to Vickie's class. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HAGAN: I'm told bill family members there will be a vigil held in her memory right here at the high school at 7:00 p.m. tonight. We'll keep you updated on this developing story with are continuing coverage.
O'BRIEN: If you want more information how you can help those affected in this terrible tragedy, go to CNN.com/impact. You'll have lots of information and ways that you can help.
All of this, of course, has left us with even more questions and answers right now about any possible motive about the suspected shooter.
Mary Snow has a closer look at him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Shortly after Friday's horrific shootings, police and SWAT teams descended upon the Lanza home. You can't see it. It's behind me and it's closed off by police. And investigators are now suggesting that they are piecing together information leading to possible answers about how and why this happened.
Lieutenant Paul Vance of the Connecticut state police saying that in his words, good evidence is being recovered but he did not go into detail. In terms of the weapons used, we do know that three weapons where is recovered at the scene of the shooting near the suspect's body. There were two handguns and a semiautomatic rifle. CNN has been reporting that those guns were purchased by his mother, Nancy Lanza. And there's not much we do know about Nancy Lanza.
We spoke to a neighbor earlier in the day. And she said that she knew her, but there was nothing out of the ordinary that she could see.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was like a normal anybody else in this neighborhood. You know, decorate the house and the house was always, you know, pristine and I mean, she was just like any other housewife.
SNOW: As for Adam Lanza, former classmates describe him as being smart, student, someone who was quiet, kept to himself. A neighbor hob knew him in recent years described him as troubled.
Mary Snow, CNN, Newtown, Connecticut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: And as we try to learn more about the suspected shooter, we're also learning more about some of the weapons that Adam Lanza allegedly used to target kindergarteners and first graders at the school. Police said he had access to six guns. Authorities found three of those guns near Lanza's body inside the school classroom. That's the latest we have been learning about that. All three guns were owned and registered by his mother. Also, investigators recovered three more guns, three other rifles. It is unclear and we don't know where those weapons were found.
We want to get theft afternoon to Mike Bouchard. He is a former ATF assistant director to Washington D.C.
Mike, you supervised the ATF's response to a tragic killing spree just about ten years ago that the Washington D.C. beltway sniper. So unfortunately, you have a lot of experience in these kinds of horrific tragedies. I want to talk specifically about the weapons.
Originally, we had heard that the Bushmaster .223, the rifle, semiautomatic rifle had been left in the car. And now we now understand that it actually was inside the school. Does that answer some questions for you about the large number of shots that people reported hearing and the amount of damage and the number of people who were killed in this spree?
MIKE BOUCHARD, FORMER ATF ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, Soledad, I think it leaves more questions that need to be answered. Obviously, he probably carried the pistols because they're more easily concealed. That made it easier for him to approach the school. If he was walking up to the school with a rival, they could have obviously locked down, called the police. So, he may have left that the rifle in the vehicle as a backup.
O'BRIEN: So there are other rifles, three others, and it's really the first time that we've heard about these other three. So, let's walk through those. One is called a Henry repeating rifle. What is that?
BOUCHARD: The other three rifles that were described earlier are mainly hunting type rifles. They're not typically called an assault type rifle, much like the Bushmaster is.
O'BRIEN: So we have been told and it's not a lot of information, but there is some indication that the suspected shooter might earlier in the week on Tuesday have gone to purchase a gun at a local store. It's unclear what happened. If he -- if there was a waiting period as we know what happens here in Connecticut or what exactly stopped him. He's 20-years-old. No criminal record. Would he have been able to just go and purchase a gun in this state?
BOUCHARD: At 20 years old, he could purchase a long gun. Obviously, you need to be 21 to purchase a handgun from a gun dealer. However, could you purchase one on the street, obviously between individual. But in order to go into a gun store licensed dealer, you could -- you have to be 18-years-old to buy a long gun, which most sporting goods stores only sell long guns hunting type rifles.
O'BRIEN: So, we know that they have continued to seal off the school, and earlier in a press conference, we heard from the state police that it's an active crime scene and that they're going to go into every crevice and every corner. I would assume a lot of that is going to deal with the ballistics. What do they still need to understand? What are they searching for at this point?
BOUCHARD: Well, obviously, when they doing the crime scene, they're going to look to recover all the fired bullets. Whether they -- if they miss, went into walls and ceiling, et cetera, they'll recover so they can get a good estimate as to how many shots were fired. If they find any different type of caliber, obviously, they'd like to know that. They have to verify that this was the only shooter which I think they've already done and that all the weapons that were used have been recovered.
So they'll be doing this crime scene as well as going -- the shooter could have come into the school days before, could have secrete things much like they did in columbine where they could have put other devices. So, they need to make sure by the time they leave this school, everything that needs to be done in this crime scene has been completed and they can turn it back over to the school officials.
O'BRIEN: And as we start the by saying more questions than answers and maybe there will never be all the answers that we need to know in this case.
Thank you for your expertise on the weaponry. I appreciate it.
A little bit earlier, Wolf Blitzer spoke with our chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. They were talking about the support that is available for those who have been ached by the tragedy. Let's listen in.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANCHOR: You just came back from a crisis center here, Sanjay. Tell us what you so, what was going on.
DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it was unclear how many people were actually using the center, and I can tell you, Wolf, at this elementary school just about a mile from here. This crisis center is set up by Danbury hospital, the same hospital that took care of a couple of people wounded initially in the shooting yesterday, same hospital setting up this crisis center. There were probably about 100 cars, Wolf, in the parking lot. Obviously the respect for privacy, we didn't film them, but families coming in, Wolf, small children, some single moms, single dads and entire families, as well. They were also staying for a long time. This wasn't one of those things where people were coming in and out constantly. They were going in. They were staying in for quite awhile. The whole elementary school I guess sort of dedicated to this today for 12 hours. In addition, as you know, Wolf, Yale New Haven which has a nationally renowned-crisis center.
BLITZER: Yale University.
GUPTA: Yale University in new haven, they've done crisis counseling all over the country. Obviously, they're not too far from here, but they also have a phone line that has been set up and people have been calling in constantly from this area but from all over the place. So, this has been something that we're hearing people all over the country have been affected by and using some of these resources.
BLITZER: So they're bringing a psychiatrist, psychologists but other medical professionals as well? GUPTA: That's right. And particularly child counselors, you know the people who specialized in dealing with children. They have psychologists and psychiatrists and the psychiatrists can obviously being people medical doctors. They can prescribe medications. We don't know if prescriptions are being gimp, but a lot of counseling clearly going on. And again, people are clearly using these resources. I mean, they don't want to talk obviously in the parking lot about it, but going in quite privately. But, you can tell that there's a huge demand, Wolf.
BLITZER: As if you're a mom or a dad and you've seen what's going on, fortunately let's say your kids are OK, but you're still in a state of shock, what kind of medical treatment? I mean, there are probably some descriptions of drugs that you can give, but what do you do?
GUPTA: Well, you know, one of the things that I think and you and I both covered a lot of these. I think for parents especially really almost checking their own feelings first, making sure they have their own feelings in control because I think it's been hard for me, I'm sure for you as well before talking to your kids just to make sure that you have some control of your feelings and then being as transparent as possible about this.
One of the techniques that seems to make a difference and I keep hearing this from experts in the field is let the child, in this case, do the talking first. Really, get an idea of how much they know and then slowly fill in details but not too graphic details obviously. And also just you know, again, this whole simplistic notion of re- establishing a routine. It sounds almost too simple in a situation like this too small. But it can make a big difference. It's around the holidays. People may have holiday activities, they may have soccer practice, things like that, getting back into that groove. What they find is that if you can establish that sooner rather than later, you're much more likely to really mitigate some of these symptoms.
I tell you, if I was looking at some of the data, for example, Virginia Tech, even about three to four months afterward, about 15 percent of people still had significant PTSD. If people actually saw some of the violence, it went up to as high as 77 percent. You typically think of PTSD as something you see in adults but you clearly see it in children, as well. And you know, we're getting more and more evidence of that all the time.
O'BRIEN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Wolf Blitzer are talking what people can do to try to give some solace to their children in the wake of such a terrible tragedy.
We are going to take a short break. And when we come back, we'll continue to update you on what we know, the very latest, on the alleged shooter in this case. What's happening here in town as people come together to try to show support for those who have lost everything here. And also, we'll update you on the investigation as we continue to get information from law enforcement sources. That's ahead. We're back in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrific. It's just you feel the pain of these people, the children, the young children. I lost my child, and it leaves a scar. It doesn't go away. It's a horrible thing because you feel helpless. You feel like you want to do something, but what do you do? You pray. Our family got together last time we prayed. And my wife and I, and the educators and the administrators that lost their lives and they have families also, you know, and children. And so it's impacted the town, it's impacted the state, the world, the U.S. it's a horrible thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the world is mourning today after the tragedy that has taken place at a Connecticut elementary school to know that children, as young as 5-years-old, had to witness a gunman shooting and killing their classmates and teachers and principals, awfully, heart breaking.
Kate Bolduan spoke to the mother of a first grader who witnessed yesterday that massacre right outside his classroom. Tell me a little bit about what the mother told you.
KATE BOLDUAN, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I spoke with the mother and the father. They're actually parents of two children at Sandy Hook elementary. Their son is 6-years-old and in first grade, their daughter, 7-years-old in second grade if you can even believe it. They told a silly harrowing story of how it all unfolded before their son's eyes. They have heard, they said that they had heard hammer is falling, is what all the kids thought. Then, when they learned it was gunshots, their teacher Vickie Soto moved them as far as away from the door as possible. And that is when the gunman burst in and shot Vickie Soto before their eyes.
Somehow, in a really miraculous twist, they will tell you, their son Aiden and several kids were able to, had the presence of mind to somehow run out, run directly past the gunman in to standing in the doorway, directly past the gunman into the hallway out of the school down the road, eventually to safety.
Now, I've been told a family member has told some of our local affiliates that Vickie Soto is dead. She was feared dead for quite a long time. Law enforcement source has told us that Vickie Soto is among the dead now and she died shielding her students as they said that she was a wonderful teacher and they loved her so much. And I asked the parents, Dianne and Robert Licata if it's registered with their son really how this has always transpired. I think we have that sound bite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANNE LICATA, MOTHER OF FIRST GRADER: He's reassuring himself that she's going to be OK. He really, really, really cared about his teacher. He was very close with her and she really loved that class, and he keeps saying I really hope she's OK. I hope it's not her. He knows that she's been hurt, but he doesn't note end result. He knows the kids that he saw getting shot. He doesn't know the outcome. So I think he's reassuring himself in his 6-year-old mind. I know he's processing it, but I think he's reassuring himself and telling himself that it's going to be OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: They are obviously distraught. Terrible news about Vicki Soto who has now been confirmed as killed. She is one of the names that they have confirmed, the family members confirming. What will they do with their children? I mean the trauma that they've experienced. I don't know how they get over that.
BOLDUAN: I asked them and they are very, very candid. They said they don't know, Soledad. And they said, this is not something that you expect, to not only this never happens in your town. Ad this definitely never happens in your children's school. And definitely never happens in your children's classroom.
And they say this is not -- this is something that this town will never be the same after. I think that's understandable. And they're trying to let their son and daughter kind of lead the way. And they're just trying to spend a lot of time together. They said that all slept in the same bed last night just in order to enjoy the time. And this is unbelievable blessing, you know, an understatement that they are all together. And the relief they felt when they were able to find their two children, she said was indescribable. But, at the very same time, they understand there are so many families that cannot share that kind of relief today. And they said this is why they wanted to speak out because they want to try to help tell the stories of those that have been lost and also to try to help this community slowly somehow begin to heal after this horrific tragedy.
O'BRIEN: So, if her son ran past the gunman, it was that classroom one of the two that were shot up which means that many of those killed were in that classroom her son's classmates.
BOLDUAN: Their son, Aiden, and Robert was the father was with the son when he was speaking to detectives. And they said he told, they were very proud of the amount of detail in this 6-year-old boy could remember about how this unfolded. They said that he said that he saw the gunman. He saw him shoot his teacher and he also had mentioned that he had seen other kids getting shot. He had not gone into detail of how, where, when or you know, how it all unfolded in what way. It's unbelievable to me and I'm sure to you with children to think at that moment that these children have the presence of mind to run and flee rather than be frozen in fear and make it to safety on themselves. They said, it's only because there were angels in the room that day. There's no other way to explain it.
O'BRIEN: And so many others didn't make it out. The teachers have really emerged as the true heroes in the story. The number of teachers who literally thrown themselves in front of children to try to protect them from gunfire is stunning.
BOLDUAN: And Vicki Soto is a young woman. She is some 27-years-old. A young, young woman and to think in that moment of terror, that's what they do to protect these children, it's amazing.
O'BRIEN: Our hearts break for all the families today. That is so sad.
Kate Bolduan, thank you for that report. Appreciate it.
And of course, as each hour goes by, there's more information that either trickles out or we get clarification on some of the information that was contradictory including about the information we have been getting about the weapons that were used to kill all those people yesterday.
Police say the suspect had access to six guns. We're also learning more about some of those victims including the principal of the school, the school psychologist, a teacher in the school.
I want to get to national correspondent Susan Candiotti. Sorry Susan, for manning ling that.
Obviously, you and I have been talking for many hours over the last 24 hours. You were one of the first reporters on the scene yesterday. I know that the information comes out a little bit at a time. So, let's start with the guns. What information do we now have that is new about the weapons used?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, big picture-wise, remember at this morning's news conference, the state police said that a better picture was emerging from them about what led to this. Part of that has to do with guns. So the new information that we're reporting now as I just came back from Dick's sporting goods here in Danbury, Connecticut, nearby here, and I was able to learn from law enforcement sources that in the days before literally Tuesday of this week, that the suspected shooter in this case, Adam Lanza, went to the store and tried to buy a gun. He wasn't successful. We do not know exactly what kind of a gun that he was trying to buy, but our sources say that for whatever reason, he just didn't want to wait around and wasn't interested and left.
However, I've also learned that store employees are cooperating with investigators about what happened, and that they are currently searching their store surveillance cameras for video that would indicate that the suspected shooter was, in fact, in that store on Tuesday to try to firm that up.
Also we've learned and you've pointed out that the suspected shooter in this case had access to at least six guns, may have had access to as many as six guns. He certainly had access to three of them, and authorities now tell us, our sources, that the three guns that we've been telling you about since yesterday, that is the Glock, the Sig Sauer and the Bushmaster that originally was thought to be in the mother's car outside were actually all three were found with him in the classroom. And also, authorities say they do know which of those three guns he used to kill himself but they're not revealing that at this time.
Now, speaking to the issue of access, we also know that in that vehicle outside, it is still unclear whether yet another vehicle which might mean a seventh one might have been in that car. We just don't know the answer to that yet.
Now, we know that those three other weapons, Soledad, that, we've referred to are three rifles that he may have had access to. However they're described to us as sort of long guns or certainly older models that might possibly have been part of a gun collection and therefore, might not have had interest to the shooter to be used in this case.
We have also learned from CNN's David Ariosto, he spoke with a man who owns a landscaping business and he said the very recently that the shooter's mother showed him a new gun purchase that she had made and said it was part of a gun collection and she also told him that she would often go target shooting.
LIEUTENANT J. PAUL VANCE, CONNECTICUT STATE POLICE: Town of Newtown Pat Llodra.
PATRICIA LLODRA, FIRST SELECTMAN: Good afternoon, everyone. I have comments on the behalf of the town government and the superintendent of schools who was unable to be with us today. Newtown has suffered a horrendous tragedy, a harm that has broken our hearts. Our wound is deep because we are a close knit community. We truly care for each other.
We are coming together with love and support for those families who have suffered this terrible loss. We are a strong and caring place. 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.
I ask that you help us in this healing process. Please treat our community with kindness. Please know that we have suffered a terrible loss and we need your respect on this healing journey. I turn to you as parents, as siblings, as caring people to know that your words and your actions can help us on this healing journey or you can hinder us. I want to take a moment to thank all the support that we've received from the governor's office, from the state police, from many clinicians and clergy, from the outreach across the nation, and across the world. I think we were all touched by the magnitude of this tragedy. So I thank you so much for listening to my message. And I hope you take my comments to heart. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, will you spell your name slowly for us.
LLODRA: My name is spelled l-l-o-d-r-a-pronounced load-ra. I am the first selectman of this community. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that your first and your last name?
LLODRA: My first name is Patricia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, Ma'am.
VANCE: The second gentleman that is here today his team has been working very, very hard in this process with the identification and the post mort term examination. I would like to introduce to you the state of Connecticut chief state medical examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver.
DOCTOR H. WAYNE CARVER II, CONNECTICUT CHIEF STATE MEDICAL EXAMINER: Thank you, Paul.
First of all, on behalf of my wife and my sons, and on behalf of my other family, our people at the office, chief medical examiner, we wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the families and everyone else who has been so hurt by this event. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you.
The office of the chief medical examiner got here, actually the chief medical examiner got here a couple hours after the building was secured. We were here until approximately 12:30 last night. We thank the emergency services who built us a temporary facility in the parking lot. And we took identification, photographs and did preliminary identification on all the victims. And had everybody transported back to Farmington by about 1:00 in the morning.
Our entire staff turned out started the postmortem examinations this morning. We've completed the children by about 1:30. And I believe everybody except the assailant and his mother will be finished tonight. And I'll do those, tomorrow morning.
Lieutenant Vance and staff have a list of the names and the dates of birth. Anything else? No, no. And that will be distributed. Hope you've got enough copies. Everybody, death was caused by -- every one that we've completed so far was caused by gunshot wounds. And obviously, the manner of death on all of these cases has been classified as homicide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: How many medical examiners worked with you today, sir?
CARVER: I have four doctors and, man. I think al ten of my technicians both the full-timers and part-timers were there. And one student from Quinnipiac University, this was her first day. That was kind of interesting. And the majority of our investigative staffs were working on this at some point whether they were with us last night or on the job today. And our -- I think a lot of our chair cal or what they call processing techs who do the paperwork and so forth were there. They're up all on the second floor and I didn't get there today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Sir, you obviously by the nature of your job, you deal with horrible things at times. Is this one over the top? Is this one a bit different than anything you've done before, sir?
CARVER: Did everybody hear the question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
CARVER: It was given what I deal with all the time, is this one over the top. I've been at this for a third of a century. And it's my sensibilities may not be the average man. But this probably is the worst I have seen or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues having seen. And that all the more makes me proud and grateful to our staff who to a man have just behaved most professionally and strongly and I hope they and I hope the people of Newtown don't have it crash on their head later about you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, on that examination, could you tell which caliber of the handgun compared to the rifle of these shooting victims were?
CARVER: It's a good thing it's not a prosecution because then I couldn't answer you that. But, all of the wounds I know of at this point were caused by the long weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So the rifle was the primary weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What caliber were the --
CARVER: The question was what caliber were these bullets. I know, I probably know more about firearms than most pathologists but if I say it in court they yell at me and don't make me answer. So I'll let the police deal with that for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, can you tell about the nature of the wounds? Were they at very close range? Were the children shot from across the room?
CARVER: I only did seven of the autopsies. The victims I had ranged from 3 to 11 wound apiece. I only saw two of them with close range shooting. But, you know, that's a sample. I really don't have of detailed information on the rest of the injuries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: But you said it was the long rifle that was used?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: I thought the long rifle was discovered in the car. That's not correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not correct, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: How many bullets casings did you find total?
CARVER: Oh. I'm lucky I can tell you how many I found. I don't know. There were lots of them, OK? This type of weapon is not -- the bullets are designed in such a fashion that the energy -- this is very clinical. I shouldn't be saying this, but the energy is deposited in the tissue and so the bullet stays in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, did the children die quickly?
CARVER: That's always a difficult question and obviously I don't have -- I don't have detailed information on all of them, but this is a very devastating set of injuries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Did they suffer?
CARVER: I don't -- I don't -- the best of my ability to answer that question which is always less than perfect, if so, not for very long.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Were most of the injuries multiple?
CARVER: All the ones -- I believe so, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Doctor, what shape are the bodies --
CARVER: We did not bring the bodies and the families into contact. We took pictures of them. Of their facial features. You have -- it's easier on the families when you do that. There is a time and a place for up close and personal in the grieving process. But to accomplish this we felt it would be best to do it this way and you can sort of -- you can control the situation depending on your photographer. I have very good photographers but -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you know the difference in the time of death between the body that was recovered from the house and the bodies that were recovered from the school?
CARVER: No, I don't. Sorry, I don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: How young?
CARVER: Sorry, I don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: How young was the youngest victim, doctor, how old was the oldest victim.
CARVER: You all have to look at the spread sheet when we pass it out, I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: That you dealt with.
CARVER: All the ones I dealt with -- everybody I dealt with, I believe they're all first graders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Did the gunman kill himself with the rifle?
CARVER: No, I don't know yet. I'll examine him tomorrow morning. But I don't think so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What about the woman in the home?
CARVER: Have I not seen her yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The children all in one location, one classroom or --
CARVER: OK. Paul and company will deal with that, Paul and company. Lieutenant Vance is going to handle that one. .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE).
CARVER: We discussed this briefly with the staff before I came here. There was of -- I believe everybody was hit more than once.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Was there any evidence of a struggle, any bruises or --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The nature of the shooting was there any sense that it was a lot of care taken to precision from the shooter or was it spread randomly?
CARVER: Both. It's very difficult question to answer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Given the wounds?
CARVER: Yes. It's really -- you would think after the thousands of people I've seen shot I could answer that question, but it's -- if I attempted to answer it in court, there would be an action and they would win.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, can you describe, what the kids looked like when they came to you, what were they wearing?
CARVER: They were wearing cute kids' stuff. I mean, they're first graders wearing cute kids stuff. You know? It's the kind of stuff you'd accepted your kids or your grandkids out the door on to first grade in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Doctor, can we discuss the fatal injuries to the adults?
CARVER: Similar to those of the children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, the children that you autopsied, where on the bodies were those wounds?
CARVER: All over. All over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What about the mother?
CARVER: I have not examined her yet. That will be tomorrow morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, were they at desks or running away?
CARVER: I'll let the scene guys address that issue. OK? Obviously, I was at the scene. Obviously I'm very experienced in that, but there are people who are the number one professionals on that. I'll let them handle it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, you said that the bodies that you examined, the seven had three to 11 shots.
CARVER: That's just the ones that I did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Just the ones that you examined. So this man was shooting --
CARVER: I think the, yes, I think the guy who's did the crime scene will be able to tell you something about how many cart ridges were found.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Is this protocol on how you did the autopsy? Like the mother and the --.
CARVER: Our goal -- our goal was to get the kids out and available to the funeral directors first, just for -- well, obvious reasons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: How many boys, how many girls?
CARVER: I have no idea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor.
CARVER: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You said before when I asked you about, you said this is the worst you've seen. I know you're a professional again and I know you have a veneer that you put up. Were you emotional at any point? Did this get to you at any point where you had to fight back tears?
CARVER: Not yet. OK? But yes, there have been times in my career when I've for reasons I don't appreciate go in the locker room and sit down and cry, but -- and I think if you -- if you don't have to do that, you shouldn't be in this business, but for this one, not yet. Notice I said yet. All right, folks. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Could you say and spell your name.
CARVER: Yes, sure. I hope you all put this in your calendar because in 31 years, and 26 as chief medical examiner, this is only the second press conference I've given. It's H. Wayne w-a-y-n-e, Carver, c-a-r- v-e-r, and it's the second. That's why I don't use the H. Because when my father asked my grandfather, he said fine, but as long as you never call him Harold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you just real quickly, did they set up a tent in the parking lot?
CARVER: It wasn't a tent. It was this magnificent thing. And it's sectional and it sticks together with Velcro and then they stake it to the ground and electricity and lights appear from the department of emergency management. And I think it came from the army but I'm not sure. I think it's these things that they use in to set up field hospitals very quickly, mobile hospitals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Have all of the children's bodies been returned to the patients or mortuaries?
CARVER: I don't know the mortuaries have all been called.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: But they're waiting to be released, these bodies.
CARVER: The paperwork's been done, as of 1:30 the paperwork was done. The usual drill is the funeral homes call us and as soon as the paperwork's done, we call them back. That process was completed for the children at 1:30 today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You transported the bodies where?
CARVER: To our office in Farmington.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: OK. How did you transport them?
CARVER: We have transport vehicles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So how many vehicles?
CARVER: We have three vehicles and a lot of guys that drive them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Vans or --.
CARVER: Actually, one of the highlights of my administration is that we make them as nondescript and un-marked as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: One last --
CARVER: Just to foil you guys. No, they started out at 6:00.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: When you removed the bodies, can you tell us how the numbers were and list the victims in both of those classes?
CARVER: I don't have the differential between the two classrooms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Were the majority of adults found in the front office or in the classrooms.
CARVER: I'm going to let the police handle that because they're the scene guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, you said you're going to examine the bodies of Nancy Lanza and her son tomorrow, is that correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Will you be doing that personally?
CARVER: Yes, it just so happen it was my weekend. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Doctor, you said you can't confirm that the gunshot wounds of the assailant are self-inflicted?
CARVER: I just --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You don't know?
CARVER: I can't technically make that diagnosis until I examine him, OK? I mean, I don't want to belabor the obvious. That's what everybody believes at this point but in terms of my fishery responsibilities, I haven't executed them yet. OK? All right. Thank you very much.
VANCE: Thank you, doctor. As the doctor stated, the two additional postmortem examinations will be conducted tomorrow. We'll have additional information relative to the results of those examinations tomorrow.
Again, I would implore you as has been stated many times, we're asking for privacy for the families. As we've stated before, the colonel has in fact assigned a trooper and or officers to each family to provide an open line of communication to them from us. And they will be with the families as the all times in an effort to instill that privacy.
We do have a list of the deceased. I'd ask you to share. We'll put it up on our Web site if you don't get one. Trooper Grant will be out behind us and she'll be handing out. Please take one per unit, if you will. And again, if you don't get one, it will be on the Web site within the hour. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What's the address?
VANCE: Any search engine to connect to the state police Web site. I'll take any brief questions. Again, understanding, please, that this still is an active case. We still are actively pursuing leads and we are still anticipating to do so for the next 24 to 48 hours. Sir? Sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)
VANCE: We didn't discuss the location of any of the weaponry at all. There's been a lot of speculation out there relative to the location of the weapons. And we'd like to do that when give to you about the caliber, about the ownership and about -- so I'm going to hold that question until probably tomorrow morning, OK? Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Two questions. What can you tell us, were all three of the weapons fired, and number two, what can you tell us about a previous altercation involving the gunman at the school?
VANCE: OK. First question I cannot answer. I'll have to get that information for you. I don't know. It's that simple. The second question is, there has been talk and speculation about that. But in conversations with the superintendent and the authorities here in town, there is no information about any confrontation. UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Lieutenant, what was the mother doing with this sort of weaponry in her house when she had a son that had some mental issues?
VANCE: That's something certainly we need to look at and our investigators will, again, peel back the onion and look at the layers in their investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: That's pretty large fire power.
VANCE: Again, we'll have to examine that sir. Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Does that mean that no altercation happened or there is no information?
VANCE: There have been no reports filed of any altercation in the school involving the individual.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you tell us anything about this Asperinger's (ph) and his condition and state?
VANCE: I can just simply tell you we have not officially identified him at this time and it's our policy until positive identification and postmortem is complete, we can't discuss the facts and circumstances of the deceased. Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
VANCE: NO, sir. Speaking with the superintendent, there was no relation at all. One more question. One more question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you tell us about the Latino families that need help with communication?
VANCE: What's very important to note and I would be neglectful not to mention this. The support from people not only in the community but first of all especially in the community of Newtown has been outstanding. The support outside of the community has been more than outstanding. The outpouring of assistance, the offer of help, as has been reported, not only as Newtown police are involved, state police are involved, federal authorities, other state agencies, other local police departments, other paraprofessionals, professionals, they're all here and support the family.
So, we're certainly attempting and we will and we had provided support for the first responders. The fire, police, EMS and we're going to continue to do that and we'll do that as long as necessary.
I'm going to thank you for this. I'm going to simply say to you, this is the last briefing for today, All right? We will be here tomorrow morning. I'll give you any updates tomorrow morning. But there will be no more briefings or interview. If anything were to break, breaking news, I would direct you to our Web site. We will post it on our Web site. Again, we don't anticipate anything as our investigators continue their work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Anything more on a motive?
VANCE: No, there is nothing more today, nothing more at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you tell us the time the female was shot?
VANCE: I don't know, sir. I can't -- I'm not going to read the names. I'll provide copies. I have some. Kelly Grant -- trooper Grant is back there with other copies.
O'BRIEN: That will be Lieutenant Vance from the Connecticut state police. He is the man who has been holding these press conferences over the last 24 hours-plus.
He said a couple things about the case before he began. He really mentioned that he was once again going to plea for the families of these children who are -- have been killed in this terrible tragedy they would be left alone in solitude. He's assigned each family, he reminded us, a trooper, to make sure that happens.
He said a couple things about the case still being active. And he said there's still information that they're still trying to get about the caliber of the weaponry, the ownership of the guns. And so, they have no information at this point they are releasing officially, at least in this kind of press conference format. He said they haven't even officially identified the alleged shooter. And they're waiting for the postmortem that we know will take place tomorrow.
But he also pointed out -- word of the community has been outstanding and the support of the folks outside of the community, he says, has been even more than outstanding.
Before we heard from Lieutenant Vance, we heard from the medical examiner of the state of Connecticut, Wayne Carver II, and he started off by saying his prayers and thoughts were with the entire community, had some information that he wanted to talk about. Number one, all the folks were killed by gunshots, all ruled a homicide. He believes that the children all were first graders who were killed by the gunman. He said they are working at this point from a temporary facility, taking photos and that, in fact, by 1:30 this afternoon, all of the autopsies had been completed, and the examinations had been completed on the children. And that the mortuaries had had all been called, meaning at that point they would be ready to deliver the bodies back to the families of the children so far.
He said that there were examinations still to be done, the shooter and his mother, the alleged shooter and his mother. Those examinations, those postmortems will be done tomorrow. They will -- he talked about the wounds. He said that the wounds were caused by one weapon. At least those they've looked at so far and that was the semiautomatic rifle. He said he himself did seven autopsies and two of them were close-range shootings and he said he used pictures from the family members to I.D. those bodies. He said that as long as he has been doing this, it was a very tough thing that while he was holding up well, he has a lot of experience. He said he has not sort of collapsed emotionally yet, emphasizing the word yet, because he said this is one of the toughest things he has seen in his career.
He believes that everybody of the 26 killed, and then the two others, including the shooter and his mother, but of those 26, he says he believes that each one was hit by more than one bullet. Wounds described when he was asked by reporters, he said all over and gave some details but not very many about the scene inside of that shooting.
So, we're getting a few more details from the medical examiner, who, we have been waiting to hear from. And also from the lieutenant Vance from the state police who said this would be it in terms of updates for the rest of the day. They have been very good at updating reporters during the day. But also reminding them they want the family members whose children are deceased to be left alone, left in solitude as they are grappling with this terrible, terrible circumstance.
So that is their update from this evening press conference, the last one of the day. And, of course, they were then able to release the names of those who have been killed who they have already done the postmortems on. So that is where it stands right now.
Deb Feyerick is updating for us other information, as well. And I want to throw it right back to Deb -- Deb.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Sole dad, what we're learning, a law enforcement source with knowledge of this investigation is telling our colleague, Rita Cosby, that no suicide note has yet been discovered on or near the alleged shooter, Adam Lanza. Apparently he did live alone with his mother. That is consistent with earlier reports that after a separation followed by a divorce that he was with his mother, living in that home. The mother -- there's a big question as to why this school. Why this particular school. Well, it appears the mother, according to this source, was not a teacher at the school. She may have had a minor role, a substitute or an aide. They're still looking into what she did there. But she was definitely not an on-staff teacher, according to this source.
From everything law enforcement has seen so far, the alleged shooter acted alone. Authorities are further looking into what he may have suffered from. What his mental issues were or his mental state, his mental condition. The source would not provide any details, nor would police, as a matter of fact. They are refusing to speculate on any possible mental conditions that he may or may not have had.
They are checking. Investigators are checking to see who the shooter, Adam Lanza, the alleged shooter knew, either socially, professionally, who his teachers were, what doctors he may have been seeing.
There's still a father in this picture, who lives in another town, a couple miles away. They're trying to learn as much as they can about this young man and why he did what he did.
Also, we're being told by an investigator that the mom -- again, not clear whether she was a substitute or may have been unemployed. But it doesn't seem, at least not right now, that financial issues played any sort of a role in what happened or why it happened. The source also said there is a question of identification initially.
The brother, Ryan Lanza, had been identified as the potential shooter. But apparently we are told by authorities that the alleged shooter, Adam Lanza, did not have any identification on him belonging to his brother when he was found. And you know, Soledad, commented on it, and I noted it as well, that the parents were not even able to identify their children by going to see their children. The medical examiners actually tool photos so the parents could identify their children that way. And that just has to be so painful, so overwhelming.
And right now, so many people are overwhelmed with grief and sadness and pain, missing their loved ones, trying to understand what happened. Trying to understand what cannot be understood.