Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery last year, testified in court that the 25-year-old Black man never pulled a gun on him or threatened him before McMichael killed him in Georgia.
The prosecutor asked, “Did Ahmaud Arbery reach into his pockets?” to which Travis responded, “No.” When asked if Arbery brandished a weapon or threatened Travis, he also responded, “No.”
The incident happened after McMichael and his father, Gregory pulled up alongside Arbery in their truck, with Travis saying that Arbery repeatedly signaled that he didn’t want to talk to them, the New York Post reports. Travis said he then tried to “de-escalate” the situation by pointing his gun at Arbery, a strategy he learned during his time in the U.S. Coast Guard.
“If you pull a weapon on someone, from what I’ve learned in my training, usually that tells people to back off,” Mr. McMichael said, per The New York Times.
The McMichaels and their neighbor, William Bryan are currently on trial for Arbery’s murder, with their lawyers arguing that the men were attempting to make a citizen’s arrest. However, Travis said in court that he never told Arbery he was under arrest because “he didn’t have time, I was still trying to get him to stop.”
The McMichaels approached Arbery because Travis said Arbery seemed suspicious, citing the number of burglaries in the neighborhood as reason why. Travis subsequently chased Arbery through a neighborhood in Georgia before Travis exited the truck and he and Arbery struggled over Travis’ shotgun. Arbery was ultimately shot three times.
“I shot again because I was still fighting,” Travis testified. “He was all over me, he was still all over that shotgun and he was not relenting.”
Travis continued saying he “stood up, realized that I had a gun here, and that he’s passed away, and the police are on the scene.” He added that he “walked over to the side, and put my shotgun down. After that, it was a blur.”