Obama: Michael Brown's death is "heartbreaking"

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama said Tuesday that the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black Missouri teenager who was fatally shot by police over the weekend, is "heartbreaking."

At the same time, the president urged reflection and understanding as riots continue in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson by those angered by the shooting.

"The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time," Mr. Obama said in a statement.

"I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that's what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve."

He also noted that the Justice Department will assist in investigating the shooting. The FBI said Monday that it is looking into possible civil rights violations arising from the 18-year-old's death.

This is not the first time the president has spoken out in response to the shooting death of a black teenager. After Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was shot in 2013 by neighbor George Zimmerman, Mr. Obama said when he first heard of the shooting he thought, "this could've been my son. Another way of saying that is, Travyon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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