— U.S. President Barack Obama travels on Sunday to Newtown, Connecticut, in an effort to comfort a shattered town reeling from a school shooting that left 20 young children and six adults dead.
A White House statement released Saturday said Obama will meet with the families of those who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and also thank first responders. The statement said the president will speak at an interfaith vigil for families of the victims and families from the school.
The announcement came just hours after Connecticut state police identified the victims and provided more information Saturday about their investigation into the mass shooting.
The 20 children killed Friday were first-graders, most of them six years old, according to the state medical examiner. Six women at the school, including the principal and several teachers, also were killed as they attempted to shield children after 20-year-old Adam Lanza forced his way into the building and began firing.
Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II said he believed the victims had each been shot more than once by a long rifle. He said the wounds were devastating.
“My sensibilities may not be the average man, but this probably is the worst I have seen and the worst I know any of my colleagues have seen,” he said.
Stuffed animals and a sign calling for prayer rest at the base of a tree near the Newtown Village Cemetery in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 17, 2012.
A student looks for a place to leave flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at the entrance of Newtown High School December 18, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
Barbara Wells of Shelton, Conn., holds her daughter Olivia, 3, as she pays her respects Dec. 17, 2012 at one of the makeshift memorials for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
First Burials for Newtown Victims Amid Profound Sadness
Frank Kulick, adjusts a display of wooden crosses, and a Jewish Star of David, representing the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, on his front lawn in Newtown, Conn., December 17, 2012.
Mourners grieve at one of the makeshift memorials for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
Names of victims are displayed on a flag in the business area in Newtown, Connecticut, December 16, 2012.
A child's message rests with a memorial for shooting victims, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
A memorial is seen along the road to Sandy Hook Elementary School a day after a mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 15, 2012.
A sign and a U.S. national flag are seen near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
This photo posted to the Emilie Parker Fund Facebook page shows six-year-old Emilie Parker, who was gunned down in Friday's school shooting in Connecticut.
Robbie Parker, the father of six-year-old Emilie who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, speaks during a news conference on Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.
This undated photo shows Adam Lanza posing for a group photo of the technology club which appeared in the Newtown High School yearbook.
A man bows his head as he stands at a makeshift memorial, outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
Elizabeth Bogdanoff, left, kisses her daughter Julia, 13, during a prayer service at St John's Episcopal Church on Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.
People grieve next to a makeshift memorial of flowers and balloons next to the Sandy Hook Elementary school sign in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
A woman covers her mouth as others look on stand near candles outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church near Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
A young girl is given a blanket after being evacuated from Sandy Hook Elementary School following a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec.14, 2012.
Lanza killed himself at the scene. Earlier, he had allegedly shot to death his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their home in the small, wealthy community about 120 kilometers from New York.
Connecticut police said several assault-style guns were found at the scene. All were registered legally to Nancy Lanza, reportedly a gun enthusiast who also owned several other weapons.
Police also said their investigation was turning up evidence, which they declined to detail, as to why Lanza targeted the school. His older brother reportedly told police that Lanza had a form of autism or personality disorder. The autopsies on Lanza and his mother have not yet been completed.