President calls family members of 2 men killed by police

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 25, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at the League of Conservation Voters Capitol Dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

ST. PAUL, MN -- President Barack Obama has made phone calls to the family members of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men killed in separate police shootings last week that sparked protests around the country.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama offered condolences during the calls, which he made aboard Air Force One as he flew to Dallas on Tuesday to participate in a memorial for five police officers killed during a protest Thursday.

Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, says she was ecstatic to get the president's call. Her son was killed during a traffic stop in Minnesota. A day earlier, Sterling was killed by police in Louisiana.

Valerie Castile's brother, Tracy Castile, says his sister was invited to the memorial for the slain officers but chose to stay in Minnesota to focus on her son.