In light of Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School—where a gunman killed six adults and 20 children—President Barack Obama gave a heartfelt speech to the grieving families at an interfaith memorial service in Newtown, Conn.
“I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow nor can they heal your wounded hearts,” the President said. “I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief—that our world too has been torn apart and all across this land of ours, we have wept with you.”
Wiping away tears several times during his address, Obama promised to exercise whatever power his office holds to prevent more tragedies like this. “Since I’ve been President, this is fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings,” he said. “Surely, we can do better than this. We can’t accept events like these as routine.”
Although he recognized the causes of violent crimes are complex and “no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society,” he said this cannot be an excuse for inaction.
In closing, the President read the first names of all those killed on Friday morning. “God has called them all home,” he said. “For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.”
While in town, the President also met privately with about 15 grieving families, reports People.
According to CNN, the shooter has been identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
Watch Obama’s full speech below.