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Obama: Trayvon Martin Shooting a “tragedy”

Posted on the 23 March 2012 by Dan90017
President Obama described Trayvon Martin's death as a tragedy. Photo: Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP.

President Obama described Trayvon Martin's death
as a tragedy. Photo: Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP.

President Barack Obama commented for the first time on Friday upon the Feb. 26 events when a 17-year-old African American man was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

The Florida high school student was found dead in Sanford, near Orlando, while a 28-year-old man, George Zimmerman, stood by Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman was carrying a hand gun at the time of the events. The teenager had no weapons on him.

According to Zimmerman, who had a bloody nose and a head wound when police arrived at the scene, he shot the 17-year-old student in self-defense.

Mr. Martin had just visited a convenience store, where he bought an iced tea and skittles, when he was killed. No charges have so far been filed against the killer. Critics point out that Mr. Zimmerman did not even receive a drug or an alcohol test following the death of Mr. Martin.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden where he announced that he had selected the president of Dartmouth College Jim Yong Kim, to head the World bank, Mr. Obama described the events of Feb. 27 as a “tragedy”.

“I can only imagine what these parents are going through. I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this,” Mr. Obama said. Looking at “every aspect” will undoubtedly include whether the incident was in fact a hate crime. The Department of Justice cannot confirm yet if the shooting falls into this category. “We are in the fact-gathering stage,” Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general, said.

Mr. Obama said that Mr. Martin could have been one of his children. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” the president said.

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s parents, reacted to Mr. Obama‘s comments and issued a statement describing the president’s words as “humbling”.

“The president’s personal comments touched us deeply and made us wonder: If his son looked liked Trayvon and wore a hoodie, would he be suspicious too? We’d like to thank the president and the millions of people from around the world who have shown their support for Trayvon by participating in hoodie marches, rallies or through social media. We are all working together to not only get justice for Trayvon, but also to ensure that this kind of senseless tragedy doesn’t happen to another child,” they wrote.

Mr. Martin had celebrated his 17th birthday on Feb. 5.

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