CHICAGO (CBS) – Flags at state buildings were ordered to be flown at half-staff Friday in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. that left at least 20 young students dead.

Gov. Pat Quinn was among the public officials who expressed condolences and horror at the shooting rampage, details of which were still emerging by late afternoon.

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“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 any time, anywhere in Illinois or America,” Quinn said in a written statement. “It is the foremost duty of government to protect public safety, especially the safety of children and students.”

NIU officials also weighed in on the tragedy, expressing sympathy for the victims and their families.

“We share an understanding of the pain and devastation that such senseless violence inflicts and we grieve alongside the community of Newton, Connecticut,” University President John Peters said in a written statement.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacted somberly to the shootings and said it marks a time to think about school safety for all students.

“I think we all have to take not just this moment, but re-dedicate ourselves to our children, their protection and the ability to go to school and be a place of learning, regardless of where you live,” he told reporters.

Emanuel met earlier Friday at a previously planned event with government and community leaders to talk about making changes to local gun laws because of a recent federal court ruling that rejected Illinois’ ban of concealed weapons.

The flags at Daley Plaza also were at half-staff Friday afternoon.

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