A man who lives near the construction home that slain Georgia man Ahmaud Arbery was allegedly seen at, says that the suspects accused of killing Arbery had a confrontation with a black male around two weeks before the fatal shooting.
AJC reports that Diego Perez received a text video from Larry English on February 11. English, who owns the construction home, sent the video after the motion sensor on his Satilla Shores home in Brunswick sent an alert. It was the same home 25-year-old Arbery would allegedly later be spotted in just moments before his death on February 23.
Diego told English he would take a look around and watch over the home since English was around two hours away at the time.
On February 11, Diego accompanied retired district attorney investigator Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, as they searched the area, following the security alert.
Diego, who has spoken with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, reportedly said that he was walking up to the construction home on the night of February 11, while Travis McMichael arrived at the home by driving up from the opposite direction.
Diego said they spotted Arbery in the front yard, although at the time, they didn’t know who he was.
“Travis saw him in the yard and Travis stopped. He confronted (the man) halfway into the yard. He said (the man) reached for his waistband, and Travis got spooked and went down the road.”
The pair fled to find Gregory McMichael, according to Diego. They went back to the scene while Gregory McMichael contacted the Glynn County Police Department. The man was already gone when they returned.
“All we knew about him was that he was the guy who kept showing up on our cameras,” Perez said. “No one knew who it was.”
Diego reportedly claimed that the next time he saw the man, he was deceased and lying in the road on February 23. Diego said he wasn’t there when Arbery was shot and killed, but arrived immediately after.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, on the day Arbery was killed, a man matching his description was spotted on security footage at the construction home in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.
Arbery was allegedly in the home for less than three minutes and appeared to come out empty-handed before running off.
Within minutes, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael began following Arbery in their truck. Both father and son were armed. Gregory McMichael would later tell investigators that they brought guns because they thought Arbery was armed, given the alleged confrontation weeks earlier.
A little before 1:40 p.m., McMichael and his son stopped their truck on a residential road and waited for Arbery. As Arbery approached and ran around the truck, a scuffle broke out. Travis McMichael, who had gotten out of the truck with a shotgun, began fighting with Arbery.
Arbery died at the scene after he was shot twice in the chest.
Both McMichaels are now behind bars, charged with murder, although they purportedly said they were attempting to make a citizen’s arrest when Arbery was killed.
“It is just so hard for me to take in this series of events and then to claim citizen’s arrest. That is what we understand [the defendants] are claiming,” CrimeOnline’s Nancy Grace said in the latest episode of “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace,” airing on Fox Nation and Sirius XM.
“That is not the citizen’s arrest statute in the state of Georgia. This will never stand up in a court of law. It is wrong on a couple of different levels. Number one, the citizen’s arrest statute in Georgia says that in order to make a citizen’s arrest, a private citizen must have a warrant.”
It’s not clear if the man the suspects spotted on February 11 was actually Arbery. Even if so, according to Grace, it doesn’t justify the actions taken by the McMichaels.
“Even if what they said is true — that he looked like somebody that they thought was a burglar–that still does not justify deadly force.”
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[Feature Photo: Ahmaud Arbery/Handout; Greg and Travis McMichael/Facebook]
*Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to reflect that the neighbor’s name is Diego Perez. A previous report indicated his name was Diaz.*