Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said that in all his decades in law enforcement he has never seen anything comparable to the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Kelly, who is the only person ever to serve two, non-consecutive terms as Police Commissioner,  has borne witness to the death of many kids on the streets of NYC during his tenure.

“Most children are shot by stray bullets,” he said on Wednesday, reports the Daily News.

“They are not the intended targets. But these . . . these poor little innocents were targeted intentionally. This guy set out to kill children. I don’t recall anything like this. Maybe on the other side of the world someplace, one warring faction trying to kill another warring faction.”

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“We can never accept the shooting of a child as part of city life.”

The Irish American commissioner is a veteran of Vietnam. After joining the police force in 1963 he served on active military duty for three years, including a combat tour in Vietnam.

Despite his vast experience, he said he still found it difficult to come to terms  with the massacre.

“I can’t imagine what it was like for the state cops and the local cops who were first to that scene,” Kelly said. “Nearly a week later, I can’t get my mind around this. It’s still unfathomable to me how somebody could do this to 6-and-7-year old children.”

According to Kelly, NYPD officers don’t often see assault rifles like the one Adam Lanza used to kill 26 people, 20 of which were children, in Sandy Hook elementary school.

“The kind of gun this guy used on those children, it seems to be a phenomenon in other parts of the country. You start to talk about the commonality of troubled young single men using rifles, but then you remember that the guy in Arizona (who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others) used a handgun.”

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New York Police Department Commissioner, Irish American, Ray KellyReuters