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The two white men arrested Thursday evening in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery told police they believed he was a suspect in a series of break-ins. But no such string of crimes was reported in the weeks preceding the shooting, a police lieutenant told CNN.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, 34-year-old Travis McMichael face charges of murder and aggravated assault in Arbery’s death, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They were arrested two days after a 36-second video that appears to show the deadly confrontation surfaced online, sparking outrage and calls for justice in the south Georgia community.
After the killing, according to a Glynn County Police report, Gregory McMichael told police he thought Arbery, 25, looked like a person suspected in a series of a recent break-ins in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.
But according to Glynn County Police Lt. Cheri Bashlor, just one automobile burglary in the neighborhood was reported when a 9 mm pistol was stolen January 1 from an unlocked truck outside the McMichaels’ home.
Arbery, who is black, was jogging outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23 when Gregory McMichael, a former police officer, and his son chased him down, authorities said. Arbery and Travis McMichael struggled over the latter’s shotgun. Gregory McMichael told police his son shot Arbery after Arbery attacked him, per the police report.
“I just want justice for my son,” Ahmaud’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., told CNN Friday, on what would have been his son’s 26th birthday. “I just want them to pay the price for the crime they did.”
Marcus Arbery Sr. likened his son’s killing to a modern day lynching.
“Anytime you pursue a young man, go jump in a truck with shotguns and a pistol … and you follow him and slaughter him like that, that’s lynching,” he said.
The McMichaels will not face hate crime charges in the killing, GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Friday, because Georgia is one of a handful of states that does not have a hate crime statute.
Asked why the GBI quickly arrested the McMichaels when local authorities did not for ten weeks, GBI Director Vic Reynolds said he couldn’t speak to the actions of other agencies.
But, he added, “I’m very comfortable in telling you that there’s more than sufficient probable cause in this case for felony murder.”
CNN’s attempts to reach Travis McMichael this week were unsuccessful. Gregory McMichael has declined to comment because he’s under investigation. It’s unclear when the two men will appear in court.