The entire country, including Connecticut, was stunned when the news broke about a deadly school shooting in Florida.
"It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else," U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said on the Senate floor in response to reports of an active shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“Let me just note once again for my colleagues: this happens nowhere else other than the United States of America. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else," Murphy said.
Murphy sentiments were echoed by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and State Representative Elizabeth Esty, who said the shooting in Parkland is "hitting far too close to home."
"We think of America as an exceptional country. We are - we are the exception to the rule that mass shootings do not occur in schools, churches, concerts, and other public locations on an alarmingly regular basis," Esty wrote.
Blumenthal said he was closely following the developments, before tweeting about America's "national epidemic."
"Haunting, harrowing images from Parkland provoke an all too familiar stomach-churning feeling – a gut punch – as our national epidemic infects yet another school," Blumenthal tweeted.
Retired Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance, who was the face of law enforcement during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, said he found himself following heartbreaking developments on Wednesday.
"It's beyond comprehension that anyone has to go through something like this," Vance told NBC Connecticut over the phone. "It's absolutely eerie to be this close to this type of tragedy again. It certainly is something you should never get used to, you never forget."
The scenes playing out on television showed students running in fear and law enforcement responding in force. They're images, Vance said, that have become familiar to far too many.
"This community is going through exactly what Newtown went through. There are reunification of survivors with families and there will be tears of joy and tears of sadness," Vance said.
Vance praised local law enforcement in South Florida and said what first responders learn from past school shootings can help their response to future ones.
Later on Wednesday evening, Murphy tweeted that it's never too soon to debate gun violence in the United States.
"Don't tell me tomorrow isn't the appropriate time to debate gun violence. If you're a political leader doing nothing about this slaughter, you're an accomplice," he wrote.