Leaders release statements in wake of Newtown school shooting - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Leaders release statements in wake of Newtown school shooting

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NEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) -

Local, state, national and world leaders have started releasing statements in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Friday.

President Barack Obama:

"This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

"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.

"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.

"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 that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.

"As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's 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. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

"This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans. And I will do everything in my power as President to help.

"Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need -- to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.

"May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds."

AFT CT:

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire community in the wake of this terrible tragedy. We will be working closely to help the students, teachers, administrators and their families in Newtown as they recover from this tragedy. We credit the teachers, staff and administrators for reacting immediately to protect the children. Our thanks go out to all of their first responders for their effort to ensure the safety of all the students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We will be coordinating grief counseling and support services with our locals the Newtown Federation of Teachers, Local 1727 and the Newtown Federation of Custodians, Local 3924, along with the State of Connecticut, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA) and the Connecticut Education Association (CEA)."

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino:

"As a parent and grandparent, I am overcome with both grief and outrage by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. This unspeakable act of violence will forever imprint this day in our hearts and minds. My heart goes out to the families impacted by this senseless tragedy and the many others we have recently witnessed across the United States. As a Mayor who has witnessed too many lives forever altered by gun violence, it is my responsibility to fight for action. Today's tragedy reminds us that now is the time for action. Innocent children will now never attend a prom, never play in a big game, never step foot on a college campus. Now is the time for a national policy on guns that takes the loopholes out of the laws, the automatic weapons out of our neighborhoods and the tragedies like today out of our future."

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

"Like all Americans, our hearts are broken by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to all those directly affected. Across the country, we will be giving extra strong hugs to our kids when they come home safely from school. But in the name of those who didn't and in the name of the eight children and teens that die from guns every day in our nation, we cannot let it end there. We have to take terrible moments like this and use it as a catalyst to demand the sensible change in our nation that is too long overdue. We are better than this."

Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this senseless tragedy, especially the families and loved ones of those killed or injured

Mass Gov. Deval Patrick:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of this terrible and unthinkable act of violence today. We stand with our neighbors in Connecticut, and remain ready to help in any way we can.

NAACP officials:

"Our hearts are with the families of Newtown today," stated NAACP Connecticut State Conference President Scot X. Esdaile. "The NAACP will do everything in its power to help the community in its time of need. The Greater Danbury NAACP has been working to make sure that everyone in the area is safe, and the state conference leadership is offering our resources as well."

"This type of event reminds us how important family is and how precious our children are," stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. "The healing process must begin now as we join communities and families together in Connecticut and across the nation."

"Today's horrific crime claimed so many lives and so many futures," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and the entire community of Newtown. We will continue to support the community as it recovers from this tragedy."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

"With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it's still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for ‘meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever."

Pope Benedict XVI:

"The Holy Father was promptly informed of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and he has asked me to convey his heartfelt grief and the assurance of this closeness in prayer to the victims and their families, and to all affected by the shocking event. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy he asks God, our Father, to console allthose who mourn and to sustain the entire community with the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love."

Senator-elect Chris Murphy:

"I am shocked and saddened by the horrific news from Sandy Hook Elementary School this morning, and I pray that kids, teachers, staff, and families reach safety as quickly as possible. While we don't have much information right now, our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones."

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes:

"Words cannot express the sadness and horror I feel at the horrendous shootings in Newtown. As father to two young girls, I don't know how life would go on after the murder of my child or one of their teachers. But if community means anything, the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School are our children, as were the children of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora. I hope and pray that the flood of sympathy and condolences offered to the victims and survivors of this unspeakable crime will ignite the dedication and ingenuity of our nation to end this scourge of violence."

Sen. Joe Lieberman:

"Senator Lieberman and his staff are closely monitoring the situation in Newtown, CT. The Senator's and Hadassah's prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy today. What is important now is to give the first responders and local authorities the support needed to address the situation as it changes and keep the community of Newtown safe." 

U.S. Rep. John Larson:

"There are no words to express the horror of this senseless violence aimed at our children in what should be a safe place of learning. My heart aches, having children of my own, to think of what the families of the victims must be going through. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims of this tragedy and I know everyone will come together to help the community in this time of need."

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron:

"I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear about today's horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that has killed and injured so many innocent people. My thoughts are with the injured and those who have lost loved ones. It is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them at such a young age, when they had so much life ahead of them. I offer my sincere condolences to the families, to President Obama, Governor Malloy and the American people. The thoughts of the British people are with you all at this very difficult time."

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Union's executive Commission: 


"Young lives full of hope have been destroyed. On behalf of the European Commission and on my own behalf, I want to express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy."

Queen Elizabeth II:

"I have been deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the dreadful loss of life today in Newtown, Connecticut; particularly the news that so many of the dead are children.

"Prince Philip joins me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to you and the American people at this difficult time.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth are with the families and friends of those killed and with all those who have been affected by today's events."


French President Francois Hollande:

"I was horrified by the news of the shooting today in Sandy Hook primary school in Newtown in the state of Connecticut," the French president said, "please accept my condolences on behalf of the French people and on myself."

Russian leader Vladimir Putin:

"Vladimir Putin asked Barack Obama to convey words of support and sympathy to the families and friends of the victims and expressed his empathy with the American people."

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard:

"Like President Obama and his fellow Americans, our hearts too are broken."

Zhang Xin, China:

Parents with children studying in the U.S. must be tense. School shootings happen often in the U.S. Can't politicians put away politics and prohibit gun sales. There will always be mental patients among us. They should not be given guns."

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