By Ria Novosti
US President Barack Obama arrived on Sunday at the site of the recent shooting rampage at an elementary school in a small town in Connecticut that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.
Obama met with victims’ families and spoke at an interfaith vigil at the town’s high school.
“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change,” Obama said.
“In the coming weeks I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” the president said.
The shooting occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town of Newtown about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northeast of New York City on Friday, shortly after the school day began.
According to latest reports by investigators, the gunman, identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, went from classroom to classroom shooting at innocent first-graders and staff members with a powerful Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle before killing himself with a single headshot from a handgun.
All the dead children – 12 girls and eight boys – were either 6 or 7 years old.
In addition to the assault rifle, the shooter carried two handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. A shotgun was found in his car parked near the school.
Before going on a shooting spree at the school, Lanza, who reportedly had been diagnosed with a mild form of autism often characterized by social awkwardness, killed his 52-year-old mother at their Newtown home.
The motives behind Lanza’s actions are still unknown.
Friday’s massacre was one of the deadliest in recent memory and the latest such incident in a string of mass shootings in the United States over the past few years.
In his emotional televised broadcast from the White House after the tragedy on Friday, the resolutely secular Obama cited scripture, mentioned praying for the victims and admitted that his reaction was colored as much by his vocation as a father as it was by his duty as the president.
In response to the massacre, Democratic lawmakers said on Sunday that military-style assault weapons should be banned, while gun rights activists and lobbyists remained largely quiet on the issue.