ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - NewsChannel 5 received the following statements from officials around the area:
From Illinois Governor Pat Quinn:
"I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the horrific massacre that occurred today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
"All of Illinois prays for the victims of this senseless violence and their families. May God bless the immortal souls of all those who lost their lives. In their remembrance, I have ordered all flags across Illinois to be flown at half-staff beginning today.
"We know firsthand from the tragedy that took place on February 14, 2008 in a classroom at Northern Illinois University that guns have no place in any school, at anytime, anywhere in Illinois or America.
"It is the foremost duty of government to protect public safety, especially the safety of children and students.
"As governor and as a parent, I intend to spearhead passage of strict laws that will protect our children and the people of Illinois from gun violence."
From U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill:
"I'm stunned and sick to my stomach. And as a mother, I'm horrified. All of America is grieving for these children and their families. As we learn more, my prayers are with the students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, and with their families."
From The Crime Victim Advocacy Center:
"An incident like this reminds us that we are vulnerable to violence at any time," says Julie Lawson, President & CEO of the Crime Victim Advocacy Center (CVAC).
"We will likely see parents and children suffering 'vicarious trauma' - being afraid that the same thing will happen to us as a result of our inherent love and empathy for our fellow Americans," Lawson explains.
"While it is terrifying to think this could happen to anyone, it is also a reminder to be diligent in support of mental health, violence prevention and child safety efforts," she continues. "Children should be taught to always be aware of their surroundings. But they also need to be reminded that this is an unusual situation and they should not fear going to school or other familiar activities."
"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. They will need a lot of support in coming months as they navigate the feelings of confusion and loss associated with such senseless violence," Lawson says. "It is going to be a long and difficult path to establishing a new sense of normal for these families."
From the National PTA President Betsy Landers:
"National PTA feels enormous sympathy for the students, families and communities affected by the horrendous tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., today. Our country has experienced far too many of these tragedies, and we all share in the sense of loss and hurt.
"School and child safety is one of PTA's core tenets as it is crucial to effective learning. A traumatic event like that of this morning affects the entire community, especially the families and friends of the victims. "This can be an emotional time, and it's important for people affected by this tragedy to connect with and support each other.
"National PTA has many resources to assist students, families, schools and PTAs in coping with school violence. The resources are downloadable at PTA.org/SchoolViolence.
"National PTA believes the protection of children in all school settings is a fundamental right and has made this the utmost priority for our work and advocacy."
From U.S. Senator Roy Blunt:
"I am shocked by this incredible tragedy, and I hope all Americans will join me in praying for the victims and their families after this horrific and senseless act of violence."