published Friday, December 14th, 2012

Obama calls for 'meaningful action' after shooting

President Barack Obama wipes his eye as he talks about the Connecticut elementary school shooting today in the White House briefing room in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama wipes his eye as he talks about the Connecticut elementary school shooting today in the White House briefing room in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A tearful President Barack Obama said Friday he grieved about the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school as a father first, declaring "our hearts are broken today. He promised action to prevent such tragedies again but did not say what that would be.

The scene in the White House briefing room was one of the most outwardly emotional moments of Obama's presidency.

"The majority of those who died were children — beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," Obama said.

He paused for several seconds to keep his composure as he teared up and wiped an eye. Nearby, two aides cried and held hands as they listened to Obama.

"They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own," Obama continued about the victims. "Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children."

Said the president: "Our hearts are broken today."

A gunman opened fire inside an elementary school where his mother worked, killing at least 26 people, including 18 children. The shooter blasted his way through the building as young students cowered helplessly or were gunned down.

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