The Anti-Defamation League expressed shock, disbelief and horror at the mass killing at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, on Friday, in which a gunman killed at least two dozen people.

“We were shocked and horrified to learn of the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. We mourn with the victims of the families and the entire community,” read a statement by ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman and Connecticut regional director Gary Jones. “There is nothing that can justify the killing of innocents, especially young children. We hope that this was not an act motivated by hatred, as so many other school shootings have been in the past.”

“It is hard to imagine why or how anyone could walk into a school with a gun. We are deeply appreciative of the dedication of town, Connecticut and federal law enforcement officials investigating this crime. We are confident that their diligence will determine what motivated the killer, and how he was able to gain access to the weapons and ammunition used in the killing,” the statement read.

The statement asserted that the ADL has long been an advocate for strong, effective and sensible gun control legislation. “Since 1967, ADL has favored expanded federal and state regulation of the sale and transfer of firearms and other dangerous weapons. Unfortunately, all too many times we have sadly witnessed the tragic dangers guns present. Across the country in schools, businesses and houses of worship, individuals have used guns to terrorize communities and local institutions. We firmly believe that one way to limit the power of extremists and reduce violence in our communities is to enact tough, effective gun control legislation.”