Michael Brown shooting: Barack Obama calls for calm from Missouri rioters as police refuse to name officer who shot black teenager

A no-fly zone has been put in place over Ferguson, Missouri, as police helicopters try to control protest

The shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri was a “heart-breaking” tragedy which will be investigated by the Department of Justice and the FBI, Barack Obama has said.

Offering his condolences to the family of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the US President nonetheless called for calm after two nights of violent protests, looting, injuries and arrests across the Ferguson suburb of St Louis where the incident took place.

The police in St Louis County say that Mr Brown was shot during a struggle inside a police car, but they have not said why he was initially detained and have gone back on an agreement to name the officer involved.

Their official account contrasts sharply with that of one witness interviewed on local media who said that the teenager had been putting his hands up to surrender when he was killed.

“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,” Mr Obama said in a statement.

“We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds,” he said. “Along with our prayers, that's what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”

 

Several hundred protesters appeared to heed the calls for non-violence late on Tuesday evening, chanting “hands up, don't shoot” and “no justice, no peace” during a tense stand-off with riot police supported by armoured vehicles near the site of Mr Brown's death.

Speaking at a church vigil alongside the civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton, the teenager’s father Michael Brown Sr said he wanted “no violence”, adding: “I need all of us to come together and do this right, the right way.”

Activists repeated their demands for authorities to make public the name of the officer involved. The police had said they would release the officer's name on Tuesday, but according to local media reports changed their minds over fears of retaliation.

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