A father and son were arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated assault and murder in the killing of a young black man, Ahmaud Arbery, more than two months after he was shot and killed in Georgia.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were taken into custody and booked in the Glynn County Jail after a video of the shooting garnered national attention and outrage, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday. The arrests come a day after the bureau began an investigation.
Arbery was shot and killed on February 23 as he went on a jog in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, on the coast about 60 miles north of the Florida border. Footage of the incident, released Tuesday by lawyers for Arbery’s family, shows Arbery jogging as a pickup truck blocks his way. He runs around the truck, and an apparent scuffle between Arbery and one of the men can be seen before gunshots are heard and Arbery falls to the ground. Police have not yet officially confirmed that the video depicts Arbery’s shooting.
Gregory McMichael, a former police detective, spotted Arbery jogging through the neighborhood and said he believed him to resemble a recent burglary suspect in the neighborhood. According to the police report of the incident, he brought a .357 Magnum, his son Travis took a shotgun, and they drove after Arbery in their pickup truck. The elder McMichael said he called to Arbery, “Stop, stop, we want to talk to you,” before pulling up to him in the truck. Attorneys for Arbery’s family said Arbery was unarmed.
Grand juries are paused in Georgia due to the coronavirus pandemic until at least June 12, which will likely delay the case being heard.
The father and son were initially not arrested because prosecutors believed they had probable cause to chase him as a burglary suspect and use deadly force in self-defense.
Arbery’s friends and family plan to hold a long distance run the day after the arrests on Friday to mark what would have been his 26th birthday.