With tears in his eyes, President Barack Obama addressed the nation Friday afternoon, saying “our hearts are broken” over the school shooting that left more than two dozen children and staff dead in Newtown.
The Associated Press reported the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School left 27 people dead, including 20 students. State Police have reported another person killed at a secondary crime scene. The incident is being described as the second worst school shooting in U.S. history.
President Obama said he contacted Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to offer condolences and promise whatever resources he needed to investigate the crime and to care for the victims.
“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies over the past few years and each time I learn the news, I react not as president but as anyone else would — as a parent,” he said. “That was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.”
The president said that the majority of those who were killed were children between the ages of five and 10 years old.
“They had their entire lives ahead of them. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” he said, adding that teachers also were killed.
“Our hearts are broken today,” for those lost as well as the parents of the surviving children, who know their children’s innocence has been torn away.
“As a country we’ve been through this too many times,” he said.
He said the nation needs to come together to take action to prevent future shootings, regardless of politics. Obama said he and the first lady will hug their children tighter today and tell them that they love them.
“But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight and they need all of us right now. In the days to come that community needs us to be at our bests as Americans,” he said.
Malloy spent the afternoon consoling families of the victims in Newtown. He addressed the media briefly after Obama.
“Earlier today, a number of our citizens, beautiful children, had their lives taken away from them as well as adults whose responsibility it was to educate and supervise those children,” Malloy said.
The governor said there is no way to be prepared for an incident like the shooting.
“What has transpired at that school building will leave a mark on this community and every family impacted,” he said.
Malloy asked everyone to keep the victims and their families in their prayers.