BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has arrested Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, in the deadly shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, according to a news release Thursday night.
They were both charged with murder and aggravated assault and booked into the Glynn County jail.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced the arrests the day after it began its own investigation at the request of an outside prosecutor.
The shooting death of Arbery, 25, has been passed through three district attorneys in the two and a half months since the man was shot and killed while jogging through a Glynn County neighborhood the afternoon of Feb. 23.
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The Georgia Attorney General’s Office issued a statement reading:
“We are grateful the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken quick and decisive action. This tragedy cannot be undone, but this is the first step in what I am confident will be a swift road to justice.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation plans to hold a news conference on Friday at 9 a.m., and News4Jax will be there.
Arbery was killed Feb. 23 just outside the port city of Brunswick. The men who pursued him in a pickup truck told police they believed Arbery was a burglar.
Gregory McMichael served as an investigator for Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson. He retired last year. The connection caused Johnson to recuse herself from the case.
Gregory McMichael told police after the February shooting that he and his son chased after Arbery because they suspected him of being a burglar. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she believes her son, a former football player, was just jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood before he was killed on a Sunday afternoon.
A lot of people have asked why I keep saying THREE suspects. Here is the third. Thanks @shaunking! Arrest all three of these men who conspired and murdered #AhmaudArbery pic.twitter.com/oEFGzRhm0s— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 7, 2020
The GBI opened an investigation this week after the video was posted online by a Brunswick radio station. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp told reporters that he’s confident the agency will “find the truth.” Kemp on Thursday described cellphone video of the shooting as “absolutely horrific.”
“Earlier this week, I watched the video depicting Mr. Arbery’s last moments alive,” Kemp told a news conference in Atlanta. “I can tell you it’s absolutely horrific, and Georgians deserve answers.”
After the arrests were made Thursday, Kemp said on Twitter:
“I applaud GBI Director Vic Reynolds and his agents for their swift action. Justice will be served.”
Gregory McMichael told police he suspected the runner was the same man filmed by a security camera committing a break-in. He and his grown son, Travis McMichael, grabbed guns and began a pursuit in the truck.
Brunswick defense attorney Alan Tucker identified himself Thursday as the person who shared the video with the radio station. In a statement, Tucker said he wasn’t representing anyone involved in the case. He said he released the video “because my community was being ripped apart by erroneous accusations and assumptions.”
The outcry over the killing reached the White House, where President Donald Trump offered condolences Thursday to Arbery’s family.
“It’s a very sad thing,” Trump said in the Oval Office, “but I will be given a full report this evening.”
The outside prosecutor overseeing the case, Tom Durden, had said Monday that he wanted a grand jury to decide whether charges are warranted. With Georgia courts still largely closed because of the coronavirus, the soonest that could happen is mid-June.
Coverage of the slaying of Ahmuad Arbery
| VIEWER DISCRESSION ADVISED: Uncut cellphone video of shooting, confrontation|
DOCUMENTS: Glynn County police homicide report | Waycross district attorney: 'No grounds for arrest"