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The father and son who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in their Georgia neighborhood back in February reportedly had a confrontation with the 25-year-old less than two weeks before his death.
Diego Perez has come forward with claims that he accompanied George McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, on a February 11 search for a black man who they witnessed enter a neighboring house under construction.
Perez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was at the shooting scene on February 23and recognized the 25-year-old victim as the McMichaels confronted earlier that day, TMZ reports.
Two separate videos confirm the unarmed jogger entered Larry English’s partially-built house in Brunswick the day he was shot.
As we reported earlier, the footage clearly shows the victim entering a construction siteshortly before his death; but the English family insists they had no problem with it, as Ahmaud did nothing criminal.
“I spoke with the homeowner,” Lee Merritt, the Arbery family’s attorney, told WSB-TV. “He said he had no problem with it, he never complained about it concerning Ahmaud. He didn’t suspect Ahmaud of anything criminal. He received notification when Ahmaud entered his home. People enter his home all the time because it is a popular running route and a seashore home under construction.”
However, in newly released security footage from inside the same home, a man – who English says he ‘does not recognize’ – is seen walking through the site on the evening of February 11. This is what appears to have triggered a 911 call made by Travis.
It’s worth noting that Glynn County Police told CNN there were no burglary reports in the area at the time of Arbery’s shooting.
The English family have also made clear in a statement that they had nothing to do with the shooting death nor did they have a relationship with the McMichaels.
News of the McMichaels’ prior encounter with the victim has many online convinced that this “proves that their intention was to kill him whenever that got the chance,” said one Twitter user. Another added, “Sounds like premeditated murder to me.” A third noted that the murderous father and son acted out of revenge, highlighting a clear motive.
Here’s more from TMZ:
Travis McMichael called police on February 11 at around 7:30 PM to report an unknown “lighter-skinned black male,” wearing a red shirt and white pants, was trespassing on a construction site in Brunswick, GA … this according to a police report.
In the report, cops say McMichael told them he saw the black male cut across one property and enter the construction site. McMichael told cops he returned to the property and “observed the unknown male run back through the open house under construction toward the area of the back yard.”
Cops responded and searched the property, but no one was there. They say the property owner, Larry English, told them “it appears the unknown male is only trespassing and plundering around as he has yet to see where anything has been taken.”
Cops say security footage of the incident circulated Facebook and a neighborhood watch app but nobody could identify the unknown black male.
It’s interesting that the younger McMichael described the Feb. 11 trespasser as “lighter-skinned’ … because Ahmaud had a darker complexion.
As we previously reported, during an interview with TMZ on Tuesday, Ahmaud’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, was asked what she believes is the appropriate punishment for the men who murdered her son.
“I would like for all hands that were involved, that played a part in my son’s murder, to be prosecuted to the highest,” she said. “Coming from my point of view, my son died, so they should die, as well.”
When asked about the possibility of a death sentence, Cooper-Jones said she “would totally agree with” that decision.
She also believe her son’s murder highlights America’s racist core.
Watch her interview with the clip above.
Meanwhile, the McMichaels are currently behind bars at the Glynn County Detention Center, where they’re being held without bond.
The man at the center of shooting the chilling footage of Ahmaud Arbery, who was jogging in Brunswick Georgia when he was gunned down by two white men, now says he’s running scared for his life.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is also investigating William Roddie Bryan‘s involvement after he took video of father and son Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, who confronted Arbery in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick with guns and shot him dead.
Bryan said he and his family have been peppered with death threats