When retired district attorney investigator Greg McMichael saw a man he suspected of burglary sprinting down Satilla Drive on the afternoon of Feb. 23, he alerted his adult son and both men grabbed their guns, according to a Glynn County police report.
An adrenaline-infused pursuit ensued, which ended a block away when Travis McMichael’s shotgun fired twice as he and the man struggled for possession of it, Greg McMichael told police. Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, 25, died on the spot, “bleeding out” in a matter of minutes, the police report said.
The Glynn County Police Department released its report on the deadly incident to The News on Tuesday. It details a deadly confrontation borne of frustrations over recent break-ins in the Satilla Shores neighborhood, and the two McMichael men’s suspicions that Arbery took part in them.
Ware County District Attorney George Barnhill’s office is still investigating to determine whether criminal charges are warranted in the shooting.
Greg McMichael served for more than 30 years as an investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office before retiring last May. Prior to that he was a Glynn County police officer for seven years. Brunswick DA Jackie Johnson cited a conflict of interest in turning the case over to the Ware County district attorney.
Barnhill told The News in late February the investigation could take weeks to complete. Arbery’s body was sent for autopsy at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Savannah. Barnhill said at the time he is particularly interested in the trajectory of the fatal gunshot. A toxicology test of Arbery also is being conducted, he said. Home security video in the neighborhood also is part of the evidence, Barnhill said.
The McMichael men and others were fed up with burglaries and auto break-ins by the time that fateful February afternoon unfolded, the police report indicated. The senior McMichael told police the surveillance video in the neighborhood had earlier captured Arbery in suspicious circumstances. McMichael told police they saw Arbery “the other night” and that he reached in his pants, as if readying to draw a gun, the report said
Sometime around 1 p.m., McMichael was in his son’s front yard at 230 Satilla Drive when he saw Arbery running down the street, the report said. McMichael dashed inside the house and called to his son. “’Travis, the guy is running down the street, lets go,’” he told police. McMichael grabbed a .357 magnum handgun and Travis grabbed his shotgun, “not knowing if the male was armed or not,” the report said. Then they ran back outside and hopped in a truck, the report said.
Travis McMichael drove down Satilla Drive toward the intersection of Buford Road, the report said. They spotted Arbery running down Buford Road. Travis drove down Burford Road and tried unsuccessfully to cut off Arbery’s escape with the truck, the report said.
The Brunswick man then turned and started “running back in the direction from which he came,” the report said. Travis McMichael again tried without success to cut Arbery off with the truck.
Greg McMichael jumped into the truck’s bed at this point and the pursuit resumed. At one point in the pursuit, the two McMichaels hailed, “’Stop, stop, we want to talk to you,’” the report said.
Travis McMichael pulled up beside Arbery and again made it known they wanted to talk, the report said. At this point, Travis McMichael exited the vehicle, shotgun in hand.
“McMichael stated he saw (Arbery) begin to “violently attack Travis and the two men then started fighting over the shotgun, at which point Travis fired a shot and then a second later there was a second shot,” the report stated. “McMichael stated the male fell face down on the pavement with his hand under his body.”
McMichael then searched Arbery for a gun, the report said.
“McMichael stated he rolled the man over to see if the male had a weapon,” the report said. “I observed blood on McMichael’s hands from rolling (Arbery) over.”
The county police report ends without stating whether Arbery was in possession of a gun. Attempts by The News to contact Barnhill Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Arbery was arrested in December of 2012 by Glynn County Schools Police for bringing a handgun into the Brunswick High gymnasium during a basketball game. When an officer spotted the .380 caliber handgun in his waistband, the then 19-year-old Arbery attempted to flee.
Arbery was sentenced to five years’ probation as a first offender on charges of carrying a weapon on campus and several counts of obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Arbery had been a promising linebacker at Brunswick High, selected to play in the Georgia/Florida All Star Game his senior year in 2012.