'Our hearts are broken today': US President Barack Obama in emotional address to the nation following Connecticut primary school shooting

 

An emotional President Barack Obama said tonight “There is not a parent in America who does not feel the same overwhelming grief as I do” after 26 people, including 20 children, were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

In an address to the nation from the White House, Mr Obama said that "as a country, we have been through this too many times".

Mr Obama spoke as police continued to investigate the circumstances behind the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, about 60 miles (96km) north-east of New York City.

Mr Obama, referring to Connecticut state governor Dannel Malloy, continued: "I offer Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

"We endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there is not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

"The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of five and 10 years old."

The President paused for some seconds and wiped away tears before continuing: "They had their entire lives ahead of them. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfil their dreams.

"So our hearts are broken today. For the parents, and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.

"Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for, as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain."

Police were called to Sandy Hook Elementary School at around 9.40am local time (14.40GMT) after reports that a gunman had entered the school.

The suspect in the attack had links to the school, a law enforcement official said. Police said the gunman was also found dead inside the building.

A law enforcement official confirmed that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The official alleged the suspect is 24-year-old Ryan Lanza and that his younger brother was being held for questioning as a possible second gunman.

The official said the men's mother, Nancy Lanza, worked at the school as a teacher.

He also said Ryan Lanza's girlfriend and another friend were missing in New Jersey.

If the death toll is confirmed, it would be one of the worst school shootings in the country's history.

Mr Obama continued: "As a country we have been through this too many times - whether its an elementary school in Newtown, in a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theatre in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago - these neighbourhoods are our neighbourhoods, and these children are our children.

"And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

"This evening Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and and we'll tell them that we love them, and will remind each other how deeply we love each other. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now."

The President left the briefing without taking any questions from the media.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

Recruitment Genius: Production Team Leader / Chargehand

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Chargehand to join ...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project