“Whatever portion of sadness we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear,” the president told them.
“Newtown, you are not alone.”
Two days after the massacre of 20 children and six adults by a young man firing a military-style semiautomatic weapon in a hallway and classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary, Obama, apparently alluding to gun-control laws, vowed to “use whatever power this office holds . . . in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
“No single law, no set of laws, can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society,” he said. “But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.”
The president’s visit to this community of 27,000 people, about 30 miles west of New Haven, came as the debate over gun control raged anew and as investigators continued the laborious job of sorting out precisely what happened Friday morning at Sandy Hook, and why.
Earlier Sunday, authorities disclosed that the 20-year-old gunman, Adam P. Lanza, stormed into the elementary school with “numerous” high-capacity ammunition magazines for the .223-caliber Bushmaster assault rifle that he used to carry out the carnage. He then fatally shot himself.
They said Lanza had hundreds of bullets in 30-round magazines when he shot out a pane of glass and entered the locked school at 9:30 a.m. He also had two semiautomatic pistols, officials said, but he apparently fired only the rifle.
Before driving to the school, Lanza fatally shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, 52, in her pajamas in her bed, at the Newtown home they shared, police said. The two pistols and the Bushmaster were among a half-dozen firearms legally registered to Nancy Lanza, authorities said. It remained unclear Sunday which weapon was used to take her life. She suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head, an autopsy found.
The specifics of Adam Lanza’s weaponry, publicly disclosed by police, raised questions about how he had obtained so many magazines. And it suggested that the attack could have been even worse. When he died, Lanza still had numerous rounds of unspent ammo, and authorities later found a shotgun in the car he used.
Why he chose the school remained a mystery Sunday, at least to the public, as authorities disclosed only the barest details of what they said almost certainly will be a protracted investigation. Initial reports that Nancy Lanza had been a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary turned out to be erroneous.