President Obama spoke for the first time on the death of Trayvon Martin Friday, calling the black teenager’s death a “tragedy.”
Martin’s death last month in Florida sparked outrage from coast-to-coast, with people from all walks of life commenting on the tragic death of the 17-year-old who was shot dead by a neighborhood watch captain after leaving a convenience store on Feb. 26.
Obama’s much-anticipated comments regarding the controversial handling of Martin’s death were personal, saying, “If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans take this with the seriousness that it deserves and we’re going to get to the bottom of what happened.”
He added: “I can only imagine what these parents are going through and when I think about this boy I think about my own kids.”
Obama seemed to speak freely about Martin’s death in personal terms, but the president wouldn’t get into specifics about the case.
“I’m the head of the Executive Branch,” he said, “and the Attorney General reports to me so I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.”
“Every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and everybody pulls together, federal state and local, to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened,” he said.
Obama’s comments from the White House comes one day after Sanford, Florida’s embattled police chief temporarily stepped down amid heavy criticism of his department’s handling of the case.
Groups from all across the country have called for police to arrest George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain, who fired the fatal bullet.
Zimmerman told police that he shot Martin in self-defense.
Martin was unarmed when he shot.
The only items found on him after the incident were skittles and iced tea, which he was carrying back to a gated community where his father lived.
-With Associated Press