The growing nationwide outcry for justice in the death Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was fatally shot in February while jogging in a southern Georgia town, continued Thursday as supporters planned a birthday remembrance in his honor.
Arbery, 25, was shot on the afternoon of Feb. 23 after two men spotted him running through their neighborhood outside the port city of Brunswick, and pursued him as a possible robbery suspect, according to a Glynn County police report.
No arrests have been made or charges filed in the county more than two months after the killing.
Demands for justice intensified Tuesday after a cellphone video posted online appeared to show the killing, and attention surrounding the case and the investigation exploded. Celebrities nationwide, including NBA superstar Lebron James and presidential candidate Joe Biden, urged action, further investigation and justice.
The video surfaces
Lawyers for Arbery’s family said the cellphone video, initially posted by a Brunswick radio station, shows the killing.
A black man can be seen in the video running slowly toward a white truck that is stopped in the middle of a road. Two men are seen outside the vehicle, including one standing on the truck's bed. The black man seems to attempt to run around the truck, and the moment he clears the vehicle, a shot rings out.
A brief struggle ensues in what looks like an effort to control a shotgun, and another two shots are heard, according to the video. The runner staggers away and collapses.
The man in the truck's bed is seen holding a handgun after he climbs out to approach the others.
Tom Durden, the district attorney appointed to oversee the case, declined to comment to The Associated Press Tuesday when asked if the video depicts Arbery's shooting.
The police report
In a Feb. 23 incident report, Gregory McMichael told police there had been several break-ins in the neighborhood and the suspect was caught on surveillance video.
McMichael told police he was in his front yard when he saw someone he believed to be the suspect from the break-ins "hauling a--" down the street. That man was Arbery. McMichael then went into his home and alerted his adult son, Travis McMichael.
Gregory McMichael grabbed his .357 magnum and Travis McMichael grabbed a shotgun and the two jumped into a truck to pursue Arbery.
After they caught up to the runner, Gregory McMichael told police he shouted, "Stop, stop, we want to talk to you." He said they pulled beside the runner and shouted stop a second time.
Travis McMichael then exited the truck with a shotgun. Gregory McMichael said that was when the runner began to violently attack his son and the two struggled over the shotgun. During the struggle, Travis McMichael fired a shot, and a second later fired a second shot, Gregory McMichael told police.
He said the runner fell face down on the pavement with his hand under his body, and he rolled the body over to see whether the man was armed.
Gregory McMichael told police he saw the same man a few nights before the shooting incident and that the man put his hands down his pants, a gesture that led McMichael to believe the man was armed.
The police report does not state whether Arbery had a weapon.
In more than two months since the shooting, there have been no arrests or charges filed.
The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which has been asked to investigate the case, on Wednesday pledged to "bring to bear every resource and all the experience this agency has in resolving this matter."
“I realize that emotions are running high in this community and they’re running high throughout the state, and the last thing anyone wants to do is extend us any patience,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds told reporters. “But I also realize that this investigation must be done correctly and therefore I must ask for a little of your patience."
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp late Tuesday threw his support behind that probe, tweeting: “Georgians deserve answers. State law enforcement stands ready to ensure justice is served.”
Two local prosecutors have recused themselves from the case because Gregory McMichael is a former investigator with the district attorney’s office in Glynn County.
An outside prosecutor in charge of the case said he wants a grand jury to decide whether criminal charges are warranted. However, grand juries in Georgia are temporarily suspended until at least mid-June due to the coronavirus.
Demands for justice
Hundreds of demonstrators on Tuesday afternoon took to the streets of the neighborhood where Arbery was killed in support of justice for the 25-year-old and his family, The New Brunswick News reported. Residents of the neighborhood also joined the march.
Attorneys for Arbery's family said Gregory and Travis McMichael should be arrested now before a grand jury decides whether to indict them.
“These men were vigilantes, they were a posse and they performed a modern lynching in the middle of the day,” said Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery's mother.
Since the video was released online, the attention around the shooting and its investigation has magnified, drawing remarks from people nationwide.
“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes,” Los Angeles Laker James tweeted. “Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr [for real] ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud(Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!”
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, took to Twitter to write that the video is "clear" and Arbery "was killed in cold blood." He wrote that his heart goes out to Arbery's family and called for a transparent investigation into the "murder."
Arbery’s family speaks out
Arbery’s mother and father spoke out Wednesday.
“All I want to do is get justice for my son,” Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, said. “All I want to do is get justice for my son.”
The family denied Arbery was involved in a burglary. His mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, told reporters she believes her 25-year-old son “was just out for his daily jog.”
“I saw my son come into the world,” Jones said. "And seeing him leave the world, it’s not something that I’ll want to see ever.”
An online campaign is asking for those who support Arbery and his family to dedicate a 2.23-mile workout, representing the date he was killed, and post a message to social media with the hashtag #IRunWithMaud. Arbery would have turned 26 years old on Friday.
Fox News' Edmund DeMarche and Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.