(ABC News) — The 15-year-old son of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed by white police officers outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is urging protesters to “protest the right way.”
“Protest in peace, not guns,” Cameron Sterling said today outside the Triple S Food Mart where his father died last week.
Cameron Sterling told reporters today that he and his father had a “best friend bond.”
“We had a bond so close,” he said.
If he could speak to his father, Cameron said, he would tell him, “I love you so much. I miss you a lot.”
This was the first time the teen has addressed the media. He wept uncontrollably last week while his mother, Quinyetta McMillon, spoke to reporters about the deadly confrontation, which took place July 5.
Baton Rouge police said the incident began when uniformed officers responded to a disturbance call from someone who said a black man who was selling CDs had threatened him with a gun.
Officers approached Alton Sterling in the parking lot of the convenience store, and “an altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued,” police said. Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene, police said.
Parts of the shooting were captured on cellphone videos.
In the wake of nationwide protests, Cameron Sterling today asked people to “come together as one united family. There should be no more arguments, disagreements, violence, crimes.”
“I truly feel that my father was a good man and he will always be a good man,” he said.
The two Baton Rouge police officers involved in Alton Sterling’s death, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, were placed on paid administrative leave.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III has recused himself from the investigation, he said Monday, citing a professional relationship with Salamoni’s parents, both high-ranking police officers.
Moore said last week that when Salamoni and Lake were interviewed by case detectives, the two officers “indicated that they feared for their life and that deadly force was necessary and justified.”
The investigation into the shooting is being led by the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division.