President Obama called the death of Missouri teenager Michael Brown “heartbreaking” Tuesday, making his first public comments on the police shooting that prompted clashes between protesters and authorities.
“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,” Obama said a statement from Martha’s Vineyard, where he is vacationing.
“I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Mo., and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding,” he added. “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.”
Police shot Brown, an unarmed black teenager, to death on Saturday. Protesters have said the shooting was racially motivated, and police in the Missouri town have used rubber bullets to break up public demonstrations.
Attorney General Eric Holder, Obama noted, has started an investigation into the shooting.