President Obama Calls Michael Brown’s Death ‘Heartbreaking’  

The president and the first lady sent their condolences to Michael Brown’s family and his community while asking that those upset by his death wait for the details to unfold. 

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President Barack Obama in 2012 

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages

President Barack Obama called the death of Michael Brown—the 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on Saturday—"heartbreaking" and asked that the community allow for the details to "unfold."

"Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time," a statement released late Tuesday said. "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."

The president also acknowledged that Attorney General Eric Holder and "the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed," the statement read.   

"We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds."  

It was another tension-filled day for the citizens of Ferguson after Saturday's shooting of the unarmed African-American teen sparked protests, police in full-out riot gear, looting, tear gas and an armored SWAT car as the St. Louis area continued to struggle with the fatal shooting of one of its own.

Monday saw the FBI noting that it will be investigating the killing of Brown, who, according to witnesses, was shot and killed by a police officer as he stood with his hands in the air. Authorities have noted that no weapon was found on Brown.

Monday also saw Brown's parents asking for an end to the violence that peppered the Sunday evening news. Looters were shown running from stores as other buildings burned in the background. Although Brown's parents made it abundantly clear that they wanted the city to remain calm, they also made it abundantly clear that they did not agree with the police account of what happened to their son Saturday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to witnesses, Brown and his friend were walking in the middle of the street near the apartment of Brown's grandmother when a police cruiser approached them and an officer allegedly told the young men to get back on the sidewalk. The officer reportedly put Brown in a headlock, and when Brown broke free he began running with his hands in the air. Witnesses claim that the officer gave chase with his gun drawn and fatally shot Brown.

Although police have been tight-lipped about the shooting, early reports claimed that the officer was trying to place Brown in the backseat of the squad car when a scuffle for the officer's gun ensued and the officer fired on Brown inside the police car. Police officials have noted that the officer, who has not been identified, fired several more shots away from the vehicle. 

It is unclear why the officer stopped Brown and his friend or whether the officer was attempting to arrest Brown. It has been reported that Brown's friend was not arrested or charged with any wrongdoing. The officer has been placed on leave.

The Post-Dispatch reports that the early part of Monday saw protesters and police out in full force, but by nightfall, police began firing tear gas, telling protesters to go home. The newspaper notes that the streets were clear and quiet by midnight. Police told the Post-Dispatch that they arrested some 10 people on Monday, compared with 32 arrests on Sunday.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told the Post-Dispatch that they will be sharing all information from their investigation with the FBI and the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney.

"This is a complex investigation, as it should be," Belmar told the newspaper. "We need to make sure everything’s done right." Belmar also noted that several people at the apartment complex still need to be interviewed by investigators. 

"I understand the public has a right to be skeptical," Belmar said. "But I would also ask the public to be reasonable."

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