BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The February shooting death of a 25-year-old man who friends say was jogging in a suburban Brunswick neighborhood is in the hands of the Hinesville District Attorneys Office. It’s the third office asked to determine if his death was a crime.
No one disputes that the son of a former Brunswick District Attorney’s Office investigator shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, but he was not charged because he claimed he was acting within the scope of a citizen’s arrest.
Arbery’s family says deadly force wasn’t necessary and they simply want to know the truth.
Because of the shooter’s family connection with Glynn County law enforcement officials, the homicide case was first transferred to Ware County. Then transferred to the Hinesville District for the same reason.
The shooter’s father, former District Attorney investigator Greg McMichael, who was with his son at the time, called 911 at 1:08 p.m.
McMichael: “I’m out here at Satilla Shores and there’s a black man running down the street."
911 dispatcher: “I just need to know what he was doing wrong, was he just on the premises and not supposed to be?”
McMichael: “And he’s been caught on the camera a bunch before at night. It’s an ongoing thing out here.”
McMichael later told police he suspected that Arbery was burglarizing houses under construction at in the Brunswick neighborhood.
According to the police report, McMichael was calling called for his son, Travis, who “grabbed his shotgun because they didn’t know if the male was armed or not.”
Police said the elder McMichael armed himself with his .357 handgun and the two followed Arbery for two blocks before, according to the report, McMichael shouted: “Stop, stop we want to talk to you.” They pulled up next to him and police said the former investigator’s son “exited the truck with a shotgun.”
McMichael told police Arbery then “violently attacked his son, and the two men started fighting over the shotgun, Travis McMichael fired two shots, killing Arbery. Police said the McMichaels rolled Arbery over to see if he a weapon before. No weapon was found.
Jason Vaughn, Ahmaud’s former football coach at Brunswick High School, suspects his shooting was a case of mistaken identity.
“People are known for jogging that area all the time and we all know Maud likes to jog the area,” Vaughan said. “He would stop and, sometimes in the middle of his workout, he’d play basketball with the younger kids and at the game, he’d go back to jogging. That’s the kind of person he was.”
A former prosecutor who had examined Arbery’s case told police the McMichaels acted within the scope of Georgia’s citizen arrest statute and that Travis Mcmichael fired his weapon in self-defense.
Arbery’s family has hired civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who has not yet returned our calls. The family has also created a Facebook page called “I run with Maud."