A child's message is seen at a memorial for shooting victims, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. / AP Photo/Jason DeCrow
NEWTOWN, Conn. Connecticut state police say multiple 30-round magazines and hundreds of bullets were found at an elementary school where 26 students and staffers were killed.
State Police Lt. Paul Vance also said Sunday that authorities have officially identified the gunman in the school rampage as Adam Lanza. They say his mother, Nancy, was one of his victims.
The gunman shot his mother four times in the head before going to the school, officials said, as details emerged suggesting that Adam Lanza had planned an even more gruesome massacre but was stopped short.
Lanza blasted his way into the building and used a .223 semi-automatic rifle to kill 20 children and six adults, including the principal who tried to stop him, authorities said.
The unthinkable bloodshed might even have been worse. Gov. Dannel Malloy said Lanza shot himself when he heard police coming. He used one of the handguns to kill himself.
The third gun he carried into the school (another semi-automatic pistol) was still in the pocket of his military-style cargo pants when his body was discovered.
The arrival of the first police officers forced Lanza to end his spree earlier than he otherwise might have.
Officials say the presence of a fourth weapon in the trunk of the black Honda Lanza drove to the school - a car which belonged to his mother - suggests he was perhaps thinking of an even broader attack.
"There was a lot of ammo, a lot of clips," State Police Lt. Paul Vance. "Certainly a lot of lives were potentially saved."
The evaluation of ballistics continues, but investigators suspect Lanza never fired the second handgun.
As President Barack Obama prepared a visit and churches opened their doors to comfort a grieving town Sunday, federal agents fanned out to dozens of gun stores and shooting ranges across Connecticut, chasing leads they hoped would cast light on Lanza's life.
Among the questions: Why did his mother, a well-to-do suburban divorcee , keep a cache of high-power weapons in the house? What experience did Lanza have with those guns? And, above all, what set him on a path to go classroom-by-classroom, massacring 6- and 7-year-olds?
Malloy offered no possible motive for the shooting and a law enforcement official has said police have found no letters or diaries left behind that could shed light on it.
All the victims at the school were shot with the rifle, at least some of them up close, and all were apparently shot more than once, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver said. There were as many as 11 shots on the bodies he examined. Lanza died of a gunshot wound to the head from a 10 mm gun, and the bullet was recovered in a classroom wall, said the same official who described the scene at his mother's house.
All six adults killed at the school were women. Of the 20 children, eight were boys and 12 were girls.
Asked whether the children suffered, Carver said, "If so, not for very long." Asked how many bullets were fired, Carver said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found."
Parents identified the children through photos to spare them some shock, Carver said.
The terrible details about the last moments of young innocents emerged as authorities released their names and ages the youngest 6 and 7, the oldest 56. They included Ana Marquez-Greene, a little girl who had just moved to Newtown from Canada; Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old teacher who apparently died while trying to hide her pupils; and principal Dawn Hochsprung, who authorities said lunged at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him.