Michael Brown’s hands were up when officer gunned him down, new witness claims
Michael Brown had his hands up as he turned to face Officer Darren Wilson moments before the Ferguson police officer opened fire, said a man who was working nearby when he witnessed the fatal shooting.
The man was working outside an apartment complex Aug. 9 when he and a co-worker heard a single gunshot and looked up from their work, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The worker, who spoke to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity, said he saw Brown running away from a police car with an officer trailing about 10 to 15 feet behind with his gun drawn.
Brown then stumbled and stopped, put his hands up, turned around, and said, “Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay,” the worker said.
It appeared to him that Brown had been wounded when he stumbled, the worker said.
A private autopsy showed that all but one of Brown’s gunshot wounds came while the unarmed 18-year-old was facing Wilson, and investigators could not determine whether a wound to his arm had come from the front or behind.
Results have not yet been released from autopsies completed by St. Louis County and federal investigators.
The worker said Wilson also stopped, about 10 feet in front of Brown, and then the teen began walking toward the officer with his hands in the air.
Wilson opened fire as he backed away from Brown, whose hands began to drop after the third shot, the worker said.
The worker said he was about 50 feet away from the shooting, and he was not certain whether Brown’s motion toward the officer were the result of a stumble or in self-defense.
Brown had struck up a rambling conversation with the man’s co-worker about a half hour before the shooting, telling the man “he was feeling some bad vibes.”
The co-worker told KTVI-TV last month that Brown started talking to him after the man struck a root while digging and then cursed.
Brown told him “the Lord Jesus Christ would help me through that as long as I didn’t get all angry at what I was doing,” the man said.
The other worker said he paid little attention to the conversation, but he heard Brown say he had a picture of Jesus on the wall and promise to come back and resume the conversation.
Both men, who were working for a Jefferson County-based company, have given their account of the fatal shooting to investigators.
The worker said he did not see what happened at the officer’s car, where Wilson and Brown began their confrontation.
A St. Louis County grand jury is hearing evidence in the case to determine whether Wilson was justified in using lethal force.
Prosecutors are expected to focus in the closed-door hearings on whether Brown moved toward the officer – and if so, whether he did so aggressively.
Other witnesses, most of whom either knew Brown or lived in the nearby Canfield Green apartments, said Wilson chased the teen on foot and fired at least one shot as he fled.
The co-worker, who could not be reached by the Post-Dispatch for comment, told KTVI-TV he looked up from his work after hearing gunfire and saw Brown staggering and running.
Brown stopped and threw his hands up, screaming, “Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay,” the co-worker told the TV station.
The co-worker said Wilson never told Brown to get down on the ground.
“He didn’t say anything,” the co-worker said. “At first his gun was down and then he … got about 8 to 10 feet away from him … I heard six, seven shots … it seemed like seven. Then he put his gun down. That’s when Michael stumbled forward. I’d say about 25 feet or so and then fell right on his face.”
Wilson’s supporters have said Brown charged the officer at full speed, but no witnesses have publicly supported those claims.
“I don’t know if he was going after him or if he was falling down to die,” the worker said. “It wasn’t a bull rush.”
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