Obama cries, says hearts 'broken' over US shooting
WASHINGTON, USA (2nd UPDATE) – President Barack Obama wiped away tears and struggled to compose himself Friday, December 14, as he mourned the dead in the Connecticut school shooting, and promised "meaningful" action to stop gun tragedies.
"The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," Obama said. "They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own."
“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," he added.
Obama said he mourns the Connecticut shooting, which killed at least 27 people, as well as similar incidents in the past. If the death toll is confirmed, this would be the second deadliest US school shooting incident.
"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," Obama said.
Meanwhile, Obama has also ordered US flags on the White House, official buildings, and at military facilities to half staff to honor the victims of the school shooting rampage in Connecticut.
The order remains in effect until sunset on December 18, the President said in a proclamation, decrying the attack as a "senseless acts of violence" moments before giving his first on camera reaction to the tragedy.
Asked whether the outrage would push the issue of gun control up the president's agenda, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "I don't think today is that day" to discuss usual Washington policy debates.
Carney said Obama was told of the shooting at 10:30 am by his top anti-terror and homeland security advisor John Brennan in the Oval Office.
"I think it's important on a day like today to view this, as I know the President as a father does, and I as a father and others who are parents certainly do, which is to feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected," Carney said.
Obama's spokesman added that the White House would do everything it could to support state and local law enforcement and "to support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event." – Rappler.com, with reports from Agence France-Presse