WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama was on the verge of tears Friday as he talked about the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 kids and six adults dead.
He also called for political action to prevent more mass shootings.
"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the last few years," he said from the press room of the White House.
ABC News is reporting Adam Lanza, 20, walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire in the classroom where his mother taught. The network also said Lanza took his own life.
The president said his first reaction to a shooting like this is as a parent.
"We've 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's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do," he said.
"The majority of those who died today were children -- beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. 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 fulfill their dreams," Obama said, pausing briefly to wipe away a tear.
"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 their children's innocence has been taken away too early. And there are no words that will ease their pain," he continued.
Later in the 4-minute address, Obama called for the nation to come together to work on "meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
"As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago. These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children," he said.
It isn't clear exactly what action the president was alluding to.
The president's remarks came just minutes after Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also mentioned the shooting.
"Certainly we know here, perhaps more than anyone, when you have a horrific and heartbreaking event like this that, you know, there are no words that can adequately express what people feel. And our thoughts and our prayers are immediately with the families of those who were killed and injured in the shooting," Hickenlooper said.
House Speaker John Boehner has ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol lowered because of the shooting.