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President Barack Obama spoke out on the shooting death of Miami teen Trayvon Martin Friday, calling it a "tragedy" and saying that if he had a son, "he would look like Trayvon."
Obama was asked about the 17-year-old's death during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.
"Obviously this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through," Obama said. "And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids."
Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman at a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26. Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman told police the shooting was self-defense, and no charges have been filed in the case.
The U.S. Justice Department and FBI are investigating the shooting, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a special prosecutor and a task force to investigate.
"I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this. and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local, to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened," Obama said. "So I'm glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what is taking place."
"It is humbling that President Obama took time from his busy schedule to talk about Trayvon and offer the support of the Department of Justice and other federal organizations," Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, said in a statement.
The shooting has sparked dozens of protests and rallies in South Florida and across the country, including organized student walkouts from several Miami-area high schools Friday morning.
"I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen, and that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident," Obama said.
Obama then addressed Martin's parents.
"But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon," Obama said. "I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened."
"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?" Martin and Fulton said. "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."