Former Police Officer and Son Charged in Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery

May 7, 2020 Updated: May 8, 2020

A father and son were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7 in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through his neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia, in February.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, into custody where they were booked into the Glynn County Jail, the agency said in a statement Thursday.

Arbery was fatally shot on a residential street on Feb. 23 as he ran unarmed through the small Georgia neighborhood.

The arrest of the pair comes after video footage of the incident, captured by an unnamed witness in a vehicle near the scene, showed the father, a former county police officer, confront Arbery. Shortly later, his son shot Arbery, the 36-second video released this week showed.

Those close to Arbery celebrated the news but also expressed frustration at the long wait.

“This should have occurred the day it happened,” said Akeem Baker, one of Arbery’s close friends in Brunswick. “There’s no way without the video this would have occurred. I’m just glad the light’s shining very bright on this situation.”

The elder McMichael told officers previously that he and his son thought Arbery could have been a burglar, and so chased after him. According to a police report filed Feb. 23, the pair were in possession of a shotgun and a .357 Magnum revolver, and tailed him in a white pickup truck as he ran.

The 64-year-old also claimed his son was attacked violently by Arbery, which is not evident in the footage. The video footage shows that at least three gunshots were fired.

The victim’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, said she believes her son, a former football player, was just exercising when he was shot.

“He was out for his daily jog and he was hunted down like an animal and killed,” Jones said. “I’m hoping that all involved, they’re indicted and they go to jail.”

The release of the footage sparked outrage from civil rights activists nationwide, with former Vice President Joe Biden calling Arbery’s death a “murder.” During an online roundtable Thursday, Biden compared the video to seeing Arbery “lynched before our very eyes.”

President Donald Trump offered condolences Thursday to Arbery’s family, saying, “It’s a very sad thing.”

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the slain man’s father, Marcus Arbery, said it was outrageous that it took so long for arrests to be made.

“This is the first step to justice,” Crump said in a statement. “This murderous father and son duo took the law into their own hands. It’s a travesty of justice that they enjoyed their freedom for 74 days after taking the life of a young black man who was simply jogging.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.