The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery while he jogged through a suburban Georgia neighborhood last year said he fired in self-defense and was being attacked by the unarmed Black man, attempting to counter the prosecution’s depiction of  the shooting as the culmination of a racially motivated attack by a group of white men.
Travis McMichael reacts to questions during his testimony in the trial of he and his father Greg … [+] McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan in the Glynn County Courthouse on Wednesday in Brunswick, Georgia. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
Defendant Travis McMichael appeared to wipe away tears while on the witness stand Wednesday, claiming he faced a life-or-death situation after he and two other men chased down Arbery on February 23, 2020, and rammed him with a pickup truck.
McMichael said he did not leave his Brunswick, Georgia, home with the intention to kill Arbery, who defense attorneys argue was mistakenly identified as a suspect in local burglaries, prompting McMichael and the two other men to attempt a citizen’s arrest.
McMichael, who was armed with a shotgun, said that after chasing down and cornering him, Arbery attempted to take McMichael’s weapon.
Video of the shooting shows a struggle, but it’s unclear if Arbery ever grabbed the gun, though he was shot at close range—the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Arbery testified Wednesday that the 25-year-old was likely shot while at a distance of three to 20 inches from McMichael’s shotgun.
Prosecutors argue McMichael couldn’t have fired in self-defense since he was the aggressor in the shooting.
“It was obvious that he was attacking me,” McMichael said. He added that things were “a blur” after pulling the trigger and killing Arbery, saying he was “not in my right mind at that point.”
Wednesday marks day nine in the trial of McMichael and two other defendants—his father, Gregory McMichael, and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan. Gregory McMichael was working in his driveway when he saw Arbery running quickly through his neighborhood, at which point he suspected Arbery might have been responsible for a crime. He and his son then grabbed guns and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck, which at one point passed Bryan’s house, leading to him joining the chase. The five-minute pursuit ended with McMichael exiting his truck and shooting Arbery..
The defense has repeatedly called for a mistrial over the presence of civil rights icons like Rev. Jesse Jackson in the courtroom. Attorney Kevin Gough, who’s representing Bryan, said at one point last week: “We don’t want any more Black pastors in here.” He later apologized for the comment, but Judge Timothy Walmsley said he found some of Gough’s statements on the issue “reprehensible.” 
Ahmaud Arbery was shot at very close range, medical examiner says at trial (The Washington Post)
Judge Rejects Mistrial Request For Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Over Presence Of Civil Rights Figures (Forbes)
‘Driveway Decisions’ Led To Ahmaud Arbery’s 2020 Killing, Prosecution Says As Murder Trial Opens (Forbes)

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