A father and son were arrested and charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a man whose shooting death in February has sparked protests, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced Thursday night.
Investigators said Travis McMichael, 34, while with his father, Gregory, 64, both of whom are white, shot and killed Arbery, who is black, outside Brunswick on Feb. 23. Video posted online by a local radio station earlier this week sparked outcry and calls for police to arrest the McMichaels, who had said they thought Arbery, 25, was a burglar.
The video showed a black man jogging down a residential street before he encountered two white men and a pickup truck parked on the side of the road. He appeared to jog around their vehicle, into the road’s shoulder.
But, as he neared the front, a gunshot rang out and the jogger was seen struggling with a man holding a shotgun or rifle. They moved out of the frame, and another shot was heard. They came back into view, with a long-barreled gun held to the jogger’s midsection – and a third shot sounded off.
Ahmaud Arbery (Photo provided by family members)
Moments later, he collapsed in the road.
Another man was seen in the video holding a handgun in the bed of the pickup.
Arbery was jogging in broad daylight in the Satilla Shores neighborhood when the McMichaels confronted him on Feb. 23, according to the GBI.
The older McMichael reportedly saw him jogging and called 911 to report “a black man running down the street” and said he suspected the man was involved in recent burglaries. He called his son, and the pair armed themselves -- then tracked Arbery down on the road, investigators said.
The younger McMichael, Travis, allegedly shot and killed Arbery during the encounter.
According to the police report, Gregory McMichael told officers he and his son first tried to stop Arbery by shouting, “Stop, stop, we want to talk to you!” The father claimed Arbery attacked his son and they got into a struggle for a shotgun.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday that “Georgians deserve answers” in the case, and his wife, Marty Kemp, tweeted she was “deeply troubled” by the video.
“State law enforcement stands ready to ensure justice is served,” the governor tweeted.
Later that day, the GBI announced that District Attorney Tom Durden formally requested the bureau to join the investigation into Arbery’s death. The arrests followed two days later.
"I applaud @GBI_GA Director Vic Reynolds and his agents for their swift action," Kemp tweeted after the arrests. "Justice will be served."
Durden, the outside prosecutor who was assigned to the Arbery case after the previous two recused themselves due to prior professional ties with the older McMichael, already had called for a grad jury to review the case.
Earlier Thursday, President Trump said he was expecting a full report on the Arbery case in the evening but had not seen the video.
"My heart goes out to the parents and to the loved ones of the young gentleman," he said at the White House. "It's a very sad thing."
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrats' presumptive 2020 presidential nominee, also weighed in on the case before the arrests.
"The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood," Biden tweeted Tuesday, calling for an investigation. "My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now."
The McMichaels each faced charges of murder and aggravated assault, according to the GBI, and will be booked into the Glynn County Jail.