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Our hearts are broken: Obama

Tearing up during his address, US President Barack Obama says he reacts to the deadly school shooting in Connecticut not as a president, but a parent.

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US President Barack Obama wiped away tears and struggled to compose himself on Friday as he mourned the dead in the Connecticut school shooting, and promised ‘‘meaningful’’ action to stop gun tragedies.

‘‘The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old,’’ Obama said.

‘‘They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.’’

US President Barack Obama speaks during a previously unannounced appearance in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on December 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke following the shooting in a Connecticut Elementary School which left at least 27 people dead. President Obama on Friday ordered US flags on the White House, official buildings and at military facilities to half staff to honor the victims of the school shooting rampage in Connecticut. The order remains in effect until sunset on December 18, the president said in a proclamation, decrying the attack as a 'senseless acts of violence' moments before giving his first on camera reaction to the tragedy

US President Barack Obama speaks during a previously unannounced appearance in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on December 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo: MANDEL NGAN

Obama paused for several seconds, and breathed heavily, several times wiping a tear from the corner of his eye, as he gave his first reaction to the killing of at least 27 people, including 18 children, in the White House briefing room.

‘‘Among the fallen, were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams,’’ Obama said.

‘‘Our hearts are broken today, for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of those who are lost.

US President Barack Obama speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, during a press briefing at the White House in Washington.

US President Barack Obama speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, during a press briefing at the White House in Washington. Photo: Reuters

‘‘As a country we have been through this too many times,’’ Obama said, mentioning earlier shooting massacres, in Colorado, Oregon and Wisconsin.

‘‘These neighbourhoods are our neighbourhoods, these children are our children.

‘‘We are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics.’’