WASHINGTON, D.C. -

President Barack Obama expressed his condolences to the families impacted by Friday’s shooting that left 27 people dead, including 20 children, 6 adults and the gunman, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

"Our hearts are broken today for the parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of those who are lost," President Obama said from the White House briefing room, wiping tears from his eyes.

During an afternoon news conference, Connecticut State Police said 18 children were found dead in one section of the school. Two children died at a hospital. Police say the shooting suspect died at the scene of the shooting.

President Obama says the country's leaders must "take meaningful action" regardless of politics in response to the mass shooting at the elementary school. He ordered U.S. flags be flown at half-staff through Tuesday.

As the president spoke, two senior aides standing nearby cried and held hands. Obama, who began his comments with no greeting, ended them with words of Scripture, and walked away in silence.