WASHINGTON (AP) -- A tearful President Barack Obama says the country's leaders must "take meaningful action" regardless of politics in response to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
The president teared up, at times using an index finger to wipe at the corner of his eyes, as he addressed the nation from the White House. He also paused repeatedly as he struggled to keep his composure while speaking of the children -- ages 5 to 10 -- who had died and the life milestones they now would miss.
He said, quote, "Our hearts are broken."
Shortly before speaking, Obama ordered that U.S. flags be flown at half-staff on public grounds through Tuesday.
President Barack Obama spoke to Connecticut's governor Friday and expressed condolences to those who lost loved ones in the elementary school shooting, the White House said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney would not confirm details of the shooting. Officials with knowledge of the incident said 27 people, including 18 children, were killed.
"As a father, incidents like these weigh heavily on him," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Obama was briefed on the shooting Friday morning by his counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and will continue to receive regular updates throughout the day.
In addition to his phone call with Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, Obama also spoke Friday with FBI director Robert Mueller. The FBI is supporting state and local law enforcement officials in Connecticut as they respond to and investigate the incident.
Carney said the administration would "do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement."
Asked whether the shooting would make gun control a higher priority on the president's agenda, Carney would say only that there would be a day for discussion on that policy issue.
"But I don't think today is that day," he said.