Obama in Connecticut: We Can't Tolerate This Anymore

Obama promises families of Connecticut massacre victims that he'll make every effort to prevent further similar tragedies.

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Elad Benari,

Obama at Newtown memorial
Obama at Newtown memorial

The United States cannot tolerate anymore shooting attacks like the one last Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, President Barack Obama said on Sunday.

Speaking at a memorial service in Newtown for the 26 victims, including 20 children, of Friday's massacre, Obama said, "It could have been any school. It could have been any town in America. All across this land of ours, we have wept with you. Newtown, you are not alone."

Recounting anecdotes of the heroism at the school as students and staff were gunned down by Adam Lanza on Friday, Obama said, "Newtown, you have inspired us. But we as a nation are left with some hard questions.

"Every parent knows there's nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm...but we can't always be there for them," Obama said. "This job of keeping our kids safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together.

"We're all parents. They're all our children. This is our first task--caring for our children...This is how we'll be judged. By that measure, can we truly say as a nation that we’re meeting our obligations?

"If we’re honest with ourselves the answer is no. We’re not doing enough, and we’ll have to change,” he said.

Obama noted that this is the fourth time as President he has had to address a community after a mass shooting and said, "We can't tolerate this anymore. The tragedies must end. And to end them we must change.

"In the coming weeks I will use whatever powers this office holds, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," Obama added. "No single law or set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, but that can't be an excuse for inaction."

The President ended his speech by reading the names of the victims and said, "Let us find the strength to carry on and make the country worthy of their memory."

Obama was in Newtown several hours after Connecticut police officially confirmed that the 20-year-old Lanza had carried out Friday's massacre, and ruled his death a suicide.

Lieutenant Paul Vance also confirmed that Lanza first shot his mother Nancy dead at their home before setting out on his rampage. She died of "multiple gunshot wounds," Vance said.

He said Lanza shot himself with a handgun and that his primary weapon in the "horrific crime" gripping the town of Newtown was a Bushmaster AR-15 .223 caliber assault rifle with multiple high-capacity magazines.

Police found "hundreds" of bullets at the school, Vance said, noting that "numerous" 30-round magazines were emptied. Police have yet to determine exactly how many shots were fired.

Connecticut's Chief Medical Examiner Wayne Carver said on Saturday that the bodies of the child victims -- all aged just six or seven -- were riddled with as many as 11 bullets. He said that in his more than 30 years on the job "this probably is the worst I have seen or the worst that I know of any of my colleagues having seen.”