President Barack Obama leaves after speaking in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Friday, April …
Obama's solemn tribute to those victims of the attack comes amid a debate in Washington about whether to hold the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as an enemy combatant.
That status would deny Tsarnaev, a U.S. citizen of Chechen heritage, access to a lawyer and other constitutional protections. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has led calls for the government to hold the suspect as an enemy combatant in order to able to question him unhindered.
Obama has not yet disclosed explicitly where he stands on that question, but he praised America's courts in his statement after the manhunt ended on Friday.
"When a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it's important that we do this right. That's why we have investigations. That's why we relentlessly gather the facts. That's why we have courts. And that's why we take care not to rush to judgment—not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people," Obama said.
Obama's moment of silence will not be open to the media.
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