'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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?