Washington (CNN)Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina met Wednesday with community leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, aides told CNN, and is now returning to his home state to help deal with fallout from the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in North Charleston.
First on CNN: Tim Scott met with Ferguson leaders following fundraiser
Scott, who is also African-American, was in the St. Louis area attending a political fundraiser, aides said, when news of the shooting broke on Tuesday. Before flying back to South Carolina, aides said he met with clergy and community leaders in Missouri, hoping to get suggestions for how a police officer's use of lethal force can impact a community.
The South Carolina Republican is expected to meet with the family of Walter Scott, who was killed in the shooting, as early as this evening when he returns to South Carolina. The senator was born and raised in North Charleston, but aides said he did not know the victim and was not related.
Scott called the death "absolutely unnecessary and avoidable" in a posting on social media on Tuesday.
"After watching the video, the senseless shooting and taking of Walter Scott's life was absolutely unnecessary and avoidable. My heart aches for the family and our North Charleston community. I will be watching this case closely," Scott said in a message posted to Facebook and Twitter.
And Gov. Nikki Haley, also a Republican, called the shooting "not acceptable" and reassured her constituents that "the criminal judicial process will proceed fully" in a statement to local news station WBTV.
"We have many good law enforcement officers in the field. What happened in this case is not acceptable in South Carolina, nor is it reflective of our values or of the way most of our law enforcement officials act," Haley said in the statement. "This is a sad time for everyone in South Carolina, and I urge everyone to work together to help our community heal."
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, the state's senior senator, called the video of the shooting "horrific" and said it was "very difficult to watch and deeply troubling on many fronts."
"I have full confidence this incident will continue to be investigated by the relevant authorities, the legal process will proceed, and ultimately, justice will be done," Graham said in a statement. "I also know the actions of the officer in this situation do not accurately reflect on the many valuable contributions made by thousands of law enforcement officers in South Carolina and across our nation."
North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who is white, was charged with murder Tuesday after shooting at Walter Scott eight times as Scott was running away during what started as a traffic stop Saturday.
Police officials charged Slager with murder after a witness submitted a video of the shooting, which shows Scott running away as Slager firing his gun eight times and fatally shooting Scott.
The incident comes on the heels of nationwide protests over police brutality and discrimination after several other unarmed black men were killed at the hands of police officers. But even those incidents also captured on video were not handled as swiftly by police and city officials as in this case.
Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police officers who believed the toy gun Rice was holding was real. That shooting is still being investigated, and neither of the two police officers at the scene has been formally charged. And a grand jury cleared a white New York police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died after being placed in a choke-hold this summer.
The FBI is also investigating the South Carolina shooting.