Actor JON HAMM has spoken of his anguish after seeing violent protests break out in his home state of Missouri, and he has urged the local community to "pull together".
The Mad Men star hails from St. Louis, close to the town of Ferguson which has been the scene of escalating violence since the controversial police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown on 9 August (14).
Local officials have attempted to crack down on the protests by bringing in National Guard troops and enforcing curfews, but they have prompted criticism for using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.
Hamm admits he has been shocked by the disturbing images which have emerged from Ferguson, and he hopes the volatile situation can be resolved soon.
He tells People.com, "I used to ride my bike to Ferguson. I know people from Ferguson... (It has been) rough to watch... It's a bad situation all around. There's no positive spin to it. When all the facts come out, and hopefully all the light is shone on all sides of it, hopefully justice will be carried out. But it's hard. It's really hard. That's my neighborhood, and I know there's a lot more good people in those neighborhoods than there are bad people.
"St. Louis has had a rough couple of decades now. It'd be nice to turn it around a little bit. People in St. Louis, in my experience, are great people. If anybody can do it, we can, and I hope everybody pulls together for the sake of the community. 'Cause, you know, that's all you've got at the end of the day."