In announcing Monday that Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson would not be charged in the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch provided the most detailed account yet of what led to the shooting and the shooting itself.
McCulloch emphasized that the grand jury had heard from witnesses who had not spoken to the press and reviewed the entirety of the physical evidence. “They are the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence,” he said.
This is the version of events that McCulloch gave Monday night while announcing the grand jury’s decision.
At 11:45 a.m. CT on Aug. 9, Wilson responded to a call at an apartment complex about an infant who was having trouble breathing. At 11:53 a.m. CT, Wilson heard a police radio broadcast about a convenience store robbery in progress.
Wilson left the apartment complex around that time and heard a description of the suspect, who was Brown. As Wilson was driving down the street, he encountered Brown and his friend. Wilson slowed or stopped his car and told them to move to the sidewalk. “Words were exchanged,” as McCulloch put it Monday, and Brown and his friend continued to walk down the street.
Wilson then radioed that he needed his assistance and backed up his car to block their path. An altercation then took place at the police car with Wilson seated inside and Brown standing outside the driver’s side window. Two shots were fired during that initial part of the altercation. The altercation was described as a “tussle” or “tug-of-war” by witnesses. Some said that Brown had punched Wilson. Wilson had some swelling and redness to his face after the shooting, McCulloch said.
Brown ran and Wilson chased him. Brown then stopped and moved toward Wilson, several more shots were fired and Brown was fatally injured. What happened between the altercation and the fatal shots varied some depending on the witness, McCulloch said.
Some witnesses said that Wilson fired at Brown as he chased him. Others said that Wilson did not fire until Brown turned to face him and moved toward him. One witness said that Brown went at Wilson at “full charge.” Most said that Wilson shot at Brown as Brown moved toward him.
Some witnesses said that Brown did not move toward Wilson and had his hands raised, but McCulloch said that “many” of those witnesses later admitted that they did not actually see the shooting. Some witnesses described Brown’s hands as raised, others said that they were in front of his chest or clenched in fists.
A total of 12 shots were fired. Brown was shot at least six times. The entire incident lasted less than 90 seconds.