NEWTOWN, Conn.--Dr. H. Wayne Carver, the medical examiner investigating Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said autopsies completed on 20 children and six adults on Saturday showed they were killed with multiple bullets fired by a rifle at close range.
"I've been at this for a third of a century and my sensibilities may not be those of the average man, but this probably is the worst I have seen or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues have seen," Carver told reporters gathered at Treadwell Park, less than a mile from the school where the shooting occurred.
Lt. Paul Vance distributed a photocopied list with the names and dates of birth of the victims, including 12 girls and 8 boys, most of them born in 2006.
The youngest was Noah Pozner, who celebrated his 6th birthday in November. Josephine Gay, another victim, turned 7 on Dec. 11, three days before the massacre. The oldest victim identified Saturday was Mary Sherlach, age 56.
All of the adult victims were women, aged 27 to 56.
Autopsies on the suspected shooter, who police say shot himself, and his mother--who was found dead in their Newtown home--would be conducted Sunday, Carver said.
Police have still not released his name. "You have to understand this is an ongoing investigation, with an active crime scene," Vance said.
The veteran medical examiner told reporters that the victims had all been identified and their bodies released. In what appeared to be an uncomfortable moment for Carver, he said all of the victims he had examined had all been shot by a Bushmaster .223 caliber assault rifle, one of at least two weapons Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old suspected shooter, used to commit one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
"This is only the second press conference I have ever done," in more than 30 years, Carver noted dryly.
Lanza allegedly gunned down his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their home Friday before driving to Sandy Hook and forcing his way inside to commence the deadly shooting spree.
Before the names were released, Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra urged the crush of media assembled at the park to respect the victims' families.
"Please treat our community with kindness," Llodra said. "We need your help on this healing journey."
Earlier, Sen. Richard Blumenthal met with local officials and families in Newtown, but refused to engage in the debate over gun control in the wake of the shooting.
"We're going to have that conversation at another time," Blumenthal told Yahoo! News. "Right now my focus is on this community, the families and the continuing shock and grief they are experiencing."
He added: "I can't imagine any job tougher than to tell parents their 7-year-old is gone. It's the worst nightmare for any parent."
The Connecticut State Police released the names of the 26 victims at the news conference. The full list is included below:
Bacon, Charlotte 02/22/06, F
Barden, Daniel 09/25/05, M
Davino, Rachel 07/17/83, F
Engel, Olivia 07/18/06, F
Gay, Josephine 12/11/05, F
Marquez-Greene, Ana M 04/04/06, F
Hockley, Dylan, 03/08/06, M
Hocksprung, Dawn 06/28/65, F
Hsu, Madeleine, F 07/10/06
Hubbard, Catherine V 06/08/06, F
Kowalski, Chase 10/31/05, M
Lewis, Jesse 06/30/06, M
Mattioli, James 03/22/06, M
McDonnell, Grace 11/04/05, F
Murphy, Anne Marie 07/25/60, F
Parker, Emilie 05/12/06, F
Pinto, Jack 05/06/06, M
Pozner, Noah 11/20/06, M
Previdi, Caroline 09/07/06, F
Rekos, Jessica 05/10/06
Richman, Avielle 10/17/06, F
Russeau, Lauren 06/0/82 (number listed on form), F
Sherlach, Mary 02/11/56, F
Soto, Victoria 11/04/85, F
Wheeler, Benjamin 09/12/06, M
Wyatt, Allison N 07/03/06, F
Beth Fouhy and Eric Pfeiffer contributed to this report