Ahmaud Arbery was shot twice in the chest, autopsy report shows

William "Roddie" Bryan, the man behind the video of the Ahmaud Arbery shooting, tells CNN's Chris Cuomo he hopes the tape "brings justice ... and peace to the family." Kevin Gough, Bryan's attorney, says his client has been threatened and had no relationship whatsoever with Greg and Travis McMichaels, the men facing murder and aggravated assault charges in the case.

Posted: May 12, 2020 9:20 AM
Updated: May 12, 2020 9:20 AM

An autopsy report released late Monday showed Ahmaud Arbery was shot three times, including twice in the chest, according to multiple media reports.

The autopsy, which was released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), sheds new light on the fatal shooting of a black man out jogging that has ignited outrage across the United States.

It confirmed that Arbery was shot three times, as suggested by a video taken of the incident, according to a report from CNN affiliate WSB.

The coroner's report shows Arbery was grazed on his right wrist by one bullet and was hit in the chest by two others, according to WSB.

WSB also reports that in a routine check the autopsy found no signs of alcohol or drugs in his system.

CNN continues to work to obtain the autopsy report.

Arbery, 25, was jogging in his Satilla Shores, Georgia, neighborhood on February 23 when he was fatally shot.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael were arrested Thursday in connection with Arbery's killing. They face charges of felony murder and aggravated assault, according to the GBI.

According to a police report, the elder McMichael said he thought Arbery looked like a suspect in a series of recent break-ins.

Glynn County police Lt. Cheri Bashlor said in the more than seven weeks prior to the shooting, there had only been one burglary: a gun stolen from an unlocked vehicle in front of the McMichaels' home.

Gregory McMichael grabbed a handgun, his son grabbed a shotgun, and then they chased Arbery, Gregory McMichael told police, the police report says. After they caught up, Travis exited the truck with the shotgun and a struggle ensued between him and Arbery. The elder McMichael told police his son shot Arbery after the latter attacked him.

CNN's attempts to reach Gregory and Travis McMichael have been unsuccessful. Both appeared in court Friday, where a judge said bail would be decided at a later date.

Conspiracies over video footage

Controversy and calls for justice that have surrounded Arbery's death grew louder after the video was released. Despite accusations to the contrary, the man who took that video -- William "Roddie" Bryan -- was just a bystander and a "pawn in a much larger game," his attorney Kevin Gough told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday.

"I would like to say first of all I am very sorry to the family," Bryan told Cuomo. "I pray for them every night as well as my own family."

Gough says the community has raised conspiracy theories about Bryan's relationship to the incident and made him a victim of misinformation.

"He wasn't with the McMichaels at all and he has no relationship with the McMichaels," replied Gough.

When asked why Bryan didn't call 9-1-1, Gough didn't have an immediate response other than to note that police "sirens were audible almost immediately."

Video from earlier in the day that he was killed appears to show Arbery at a construction site, but the owner of the home told CNN the videos appear to show him only "trespassing" and nothing else.

At least one unreported crime had been committed in the past at the site by an unidentified perpetrator, he said.

"This video is consistent with the evidence already known to us," family attorney S. Lee Merritt said. "Ahmaud Arbery was out for a jog. He stopped by a property under construction where he engaged in no illegal activity and remained for only a brief period."

The many prosecutors in Arbery's case

The two months between the shooting and an arrest in the case has stirred public outcry. The many changes in prosecutors may have had a role in that delay.

Three prosecutors have been removed themselves from the case so far, and two recused themselves because of their connections to Gregory McMichael.

The first prosecutor, Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, recused herself, citing Gregory McMichael's position as a former investigator for the office. She has denied allegations by local officials that she told police not to make an arrest.

A second prosecutor, Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill, recused himself because his son worked in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney's office and once worked with Gregory McMichael in a prior prosecution of Arbery, he wrote in a letter to Carr's office April 7.

After state Attorney General Christopher Carr appointed Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden as the third prosecutor in the case, Durden said he had "neither previous knowledge of the incident nor any relationship with any investigators or witnesses."

Durden has not returned CNN's calls for comment.

He has now asked to step down so the case can go to Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, according to a Monday statement from Carr.

Attorneys for the mother of Arbery, S. Lee Merritt and L. Chris Stewart, said the family is pleased with the new appointment.

"We made this request of AG Chris Carr because the south Georgia prosecutorial community was tainted by the delay in action prior to the video being released," the attorneys said in a statement. "This case has been mishandled from the very beginning and we look forward to a comprehensive third-party investigation by the Dept. of Justice into the previous prosecutors."

A mother relives her own grief

Many watched the video of Arbrey's death with horror, but Lucy McBath watched with memories of her own.

Her son, Jordan Davis, was 17 when he was shot and killed after a loud music complaint in 2012.

"I cannot describe to you how painful it was for me to watch that video because we know that Ahmaud, this murder was racially motivated and he was hunted and he was gunned down in cold blood," McBath told CNN's Don Lemon Monday.

"And that just brought back all the memories that I had about how devastated I was when I found out what happened to my son Jordan."

McBath, who became a congresswoman after her son's death, said she knows the long road ahead for the Arbery family. It took two and a half years for her family to get a conviction, and she believes this is just the beginning of the case.

But it's worth the time and effort to get justice and political change, she said.

"The terrible thing about it is that there are millions of black and brown families that continue to just live in fear each and every day about the fact that they believe their children might not come back from school or they can't jog in neighborhoods they live in or they can't buy skittles and soda pop at the grocery store or they can't even play loud music," she said.

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