Joining a community in mourning, U.S. President Barack Obama offered the condolences of a nation at a vigil for the victims of the horrific school shooting in Connecticut.

“I can only help it helps for you to know that you are not alone in your grief, that our world too has been torn apart,  that all across this land of ours we have wept with you,” said Obama.

Members of the audience wept when the president read the names of the 20 children and six adults who were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Friday.

The president then said the United States was not doing enough to protect its children and pledged in coming weeks to launch an effort to reduce violence in the country.

“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change,” Obama said at a somber interfaith service.

“In the coming weeks I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” he said. “Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.”

Before attending the interfaith vigil, the president met with the families who lost loved ones in the shooting.

Twelve girls, eight boys and six adults were killed in the attack. The mother of the shooter also was killed.