Mom of Man Shot While Jogging in Ga. Says Son Was ‘Kind,’ ‘Loved’ — and She Will Never Watch Video

by San Eli News


The grieving mother of Ahmaud Arbery opened up to Good Morning America Thursday morning. Wanda Cooper-Jones said she’ll probably never watch the disturbing footage of her 25-year-old son — who would have turned 26 years old tomorrow — being fatally shot on a Georgia road by two armed white men, who remain uncharged.

Cooper-Jones told GMA life has been “really hard” since her unarmed son’s February 23 death in a Brunswick neighborhood in broad daylight.

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After Ahmaud, a runner, jogged by his home, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, 34, tracked the black man down, telling police later they believed he was a “suspect” in a spate of recent local break-ins.

Gregory grabbed his .357 Magnum handgun and Travis grabbed a shotgun “because they ‘didn’t know if the male was armed or not,’” they told police.

The two then chased after Ahmaud in a truck, yelling at him that they wanted to talk. Travis exited the truck holding his shotgun, and a confrontation between the men and Ahmaud followed.

The case received little media coverage before the video of the fatal encounter surfaced this week. (PEOPLE has not confirmed the authenticity of the video and police have declined comment.)

RELATED: Family of Unarmed Black Jogger Says 2 White Men Chased, Killed Him

The footage shows two men struggling and three gunshots can be heard. As Ahmaud tries to run from the men, he falls, lifeless, onto the street.

Asked on GMA whether she has seen the footage, Cooper-Jones said she hasn’t.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be in a mental state where I can actually watch the video,” she told GMA. “I had others watch and share what they saw, and that was enough.”

The McMichaels have not been arrested, and no criminal charges have been filed in the case.

Prosecutors said they will present the evidence before a grand jury for potential indictment.

An attorney for Arbery’s family, Lee Merritt, rejected local law enforcement’s notion of self-defense or any claim of proper action allowed under citizens-arrest statutes. “There’s more than enough evidence for a case for murder,” he told CBS News.

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Attorneys for the McMichaels were not identified, but Gregory told CBS News he had no comment while the case was under investigation.

In a statement, Merritt said: “The video clearly shows Mr. Arbery jogging down the road in the middle of the day. Mr. Arbery had not committed any crime and there was no reason for these men to believe they had the right to stop him with weapons or to use deadly force in furtherance of their unlawful attempted stop.”