Travis McMichael on Ahmaud Arbery: ‘I Shot Him’

Travis McMichael on Ahmaud Arbery: 'I Shot Him'

( – On February 23, 2020, Travis McMichael shot and killed 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery after a chain of events led the gunman to believe the young black man had committed a robbery in the area. Officials have charged McMichael with murder, but the defense says they can prove he’s a vilified hero.

An Argument for Self-Defense

On November 17, McMichael took the stand, admitting he’d pulled the trigger but denying any wrongdoing. The defendant claimed he’d taken action after positively identifying Arbery as the man he’d seen fleeing a recent burglary scene. McMichael maintains he had calmly called for the suspected thief to stop running, keeping his stance and tone of voice neutral, and Arbery had run toward him aggressively. Fearful for his life, his family and his neighborhood, McMichael shot.

According to the testimony, the property Arbery was fleeing was the same place where McMichael believed a burglary had occurred. The defendant had learned about the previous incident via social media after homeowner Larry English reportedly experienced a theft from his boat. The property had been under construction, making it a target for thieves, and McMichael felt he was doing his duty by conducting a citizen’s arrest and stopping a threat.

The Prosecution Paints a Different Picture

Assistant District Attorney Linda Dunikoski says McMichael overstepped and acted impulsively, killing an innocent man as a result. In her cross-examination, she rejected the defendant’s claims that he had any right to shoot, insisting Arbery might have been guilty of trespassing, if that, but the young man certainly wasn’t in the act of committing a burglary. According to the D.A., the victim had been a jogger who’d merely used the property as a shortcut in his route, and the defendant had shot the man out of mistaken identity.

Regardless of which side is right, the case raises some important questions about vigilantism, stand your ground laws and responsible social media use. No doubt, some people on the far-left will see this case as an argument for better gun control. Others might feel the need to make the issue about race. Dunikoski maintains that, all other possibilities aside, the defendant had no right to chase after Arbery to begin with because he didn’t have enough information to peg the man as a burglar. Even more importantly, seeing someone flee the scene of a crime is never grounds for deadly force.

The verdict in this trial could cause outrage regardless of the outcome. The support is divided, and both sides offer compelling stories. Was deadly force necessary, or is it possible McMichael killed an innocent man?

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