ATLANTA — The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Friday it took 36 hours from the time it began assisting in the probe of Ahmaud Arbery's death to arrest the two white men who are accused of shooting the 25-year-old black man.
Director Vic Reynolds said there were "some things that needed to be done" in the investigation that had been led by Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden since April 14.
The department will be investigating William "Roddie" Bryan, the man who filmed the incident, to determine whether he should be arrested too. Reynolds said the video of the incident that has been spread widely on social media was a key piece of evidence in the case.
“We are going to go wherever the evidence takes us," Reynolds said. "In a perfect world, we would have preferred to have been asked to become involved in February, of course.”
The GBI announced Wednesday that it would begin aiding the investigation at the request of Durden. By Thursday evening, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were in custody of the Glynn County Police and were charged with murder.
Arbery was killed in February about 2 miles from his home in a neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia. Gregory McMichael told police they saw him running and believed he was a burglary suspect, so they armed themselves, got in a truck and followed him. They told police Arbery attacked them after one of the men got out of the truck with a shotgun.
Arbery's family and their attorneys believe Arbery was out for a jog when he was killed. They believe he was the victim of racial profiling.
Here's the latest news on the killing of Ahmoud Arbery:
Rally, dedication run honor Arbery
Friday morning, hundreds of people gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse in southern Georgia to honor Arbery.
Meanwhile, friends and family of Arbery plan to hold a dedication distance run Friday for what would have been Arbery's 26th birthday.
"Our community here in Brunswick, GA, lost an avid runner on 2/23/2020, while out on a run Ahmaud Arbery’s life was taken away from us, by a group of men who falsely suspected him of wrong doing," the Facebook group "I Run With Maud" said in Friday's event description. "Please show your support as a runner, jogger, or walker and dedicate a 2.23 mile workout to Ahmaud Arbery."
Later, a live-stream event featuring Arbery's mother, father, the family's lawyers and the Rev. Al Sharpton was planned for this evening.
What happened to Ahmaud Arbery?
Arbery's family says he was jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood just outside Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23. Arbery lived with his mother about 2 miles from where he was killed.
According to an incident report filed by Glynn County police, Arbery was shot after Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, 34-year-old son Travis, saw him running in their neighborhood and armed themselves with guns before getting in a truck to pursue him. They later told police they believed he was a burglary suspect.
William "Roddie" Bryan, who lives a few houses down from Travis, recorded the video, according to a memo obtained by USA TODAY, written by the district attorney who previously led the investigation into Arbery's death.
Arbery was black; the two men who are accused of shooting him, as well the man who recorded the video, are white.
The Glynn County Police Department said Thursday that it had no reports involving burglaries or home break-ins in the Satilla Shores neighborhood between Jan. 1 and Feb. 23.
What does the police report say?
Gregory McMichael said he was in his front yard when he spotted Arbery. He told police that he and his son, Travis, thought the man matched someone caught on a security camera committing a recent break-in in the neighborhood, according to the police report.
He and his son grabbed their guns from inside the house because they "didn't know if the male was armed or not," according to the police report. The father and son then got in their truck and began chasing Arbery.
Gregory McMichael said Travis got out of the truck with a shotgun and that Arbery "began to violently attack" him and "the two men then started fighting over the shotgun," the police report said. Gregory McMichael said his son fired two shots, according to the report.
The police report says Gregory McMichael turned Arbery onto his back to see if he was armed – but the report doesn’t say whether he had a weapon or not.
McMichael did not tell police how or when William Bryan became involved in the incident or why he recorded it on video. Bryan is listed on the police report as a witness.
What does the video show? Who released it?
Video of the incident has been widely shared on social media this week.
The video, which appears to be shot from a moving vehicle behind the runner, shows a black man jogging on the left side of the two-lane road in broad daylight. A white truck is parked in the road ahead of him; a man stands in the pickup bed and another is standing beside the open driver's side door.
The runner crosses the road to pass the pickup on the passenger side, then crosses back in front of the truck. Shouting can be heard, a gunshot sounds, and the video shows the runner grappling with a man in the street over what appears to be a shotgun or rifle. A second shot can be heard and the runner can be seen punching the man. A third shot is fired at point-blank range. The runner staggers a few feet and falls face down.
Alan Tucker, a criminal defense lawyer in Brunswick, put out a statement Thursday saying that he released the video to promote "absolute transparency."
Tucker said that while his firm had not been retained to represent anyone in the case, it "may be." Tucker said he obtained the video from the person who recorded it on their cell phone.
Who are Greg and Travis McMichael? Who is William 'Roddie' Bryan?
Gregory McMichael had recently retired as an investigator in the Brunswick district attorney's office, according to the memo. He had also worked as an officer in the Glynn County Police Department.
A phone number listed for Gregory McMichael was disconnected on Wednesday. The McMichaels did not respond to emails requesting comment. It was not immediately known whether either of the McMichaels had an attorney who could comment on the charges.
William "Roddie" Bryan lives a few houses down from Travis and recorded the video, according to the district attorney's memo.
Who is investigating?
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is on the case.
Outside prosecutor Tom Durden said Tuesday he plans to have a grand jury hear the evidence in the shooting. A grand jury hearing, however, won't happen at least until mid-June when Georgia courts reopen from coronavirus restrictions.
Atlanta FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said Friday that the bureau has been assisting in the Arbery investigation. "We have been in contact with local and state authorities," Rowson said. "The FBI is always prepared to investigate whenever information comes to light of a potential federal violation." It was not immediately clear what assistance the FBI was providing or when it began.
USA TODAY's Kevin Johnson contributed reporting.