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Crime scene investigator describes evidence collected at scene of Arbery shooting

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 12:38 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2021 at 3:49 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - Day two of testimony in the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery got underway Monday morning in Brunswick.

Three men, all neighbors, are charged in the shooting death of Arbery, who was chased by them in their neighborhood and then shot during a confrontation.

Monday morning, jurors heard from a crime scene investigator who described what she collected as evidence on the day of the shooting. She said one of the bullets fired during the shooting went through the window of a neighbor’s home and into the living room wall.

Prosecutors showed photos of the bullet hole in the window and the wall. The home was feet away from where Arbery was killed by three shotgun blasts.

“Because the projectile did enter through the window, it stopped through the wall in the living room,” said Sheila Ramos, Glynn County Police Department Investigator.

Defendant Travis McMichael is the one who fired the gun, which his attorney says was in self-defense while his father Greg stood in the bed of a pickup.

A neighbor, William Roddie Bryan Jr., also chased Arbery in his pickup and took a video of the shooting.

All three are on trial for felony murder, including several other felony charges.

Ramos described the process of assessing the crime scene, including the gunshot wounds on Arbery.

“Are you manipulating the clothes in any way to get to the wounds,” asked a prosecutor.

“Not until we’re done doing what we have to on the outside and we’ll manipulate it by pulling out so we can get a full view of it,” Ramos replied.

“Did you make those cuts in the shirt at all,” the prosecutor asked.

“No,” Ramos replied.

Arbery was shot three times. But the shot that took Arbery’s life was a shot to the chest.

One of the witnesses expected to take the stand Tuesday is another Glynn County police officer who responded to the scene.

First officer on scene takes the stand

Before court broke for lunch, the first police officer on the scene testified about how he was responding to another call in the neighborhood when he turned a corner and heard the shotgun blasts that killed Arbery.

We learned more about the “true tragedy” that unfolded on the day Ahmaud Arbery died. It’s a term prosecutors have used to describe what happened when the first officer arrived on the scene.

Former Glynn County Police officer Ricky Minshew was on the stand for several hours, being cross examined by the prosecution and defense.

Minshew testified he was in the Satilla Shores neighborhood investigating a suspicious person call when he heard shotgun blasts. Seconds later, he found Greg and Travis McMichael along with William Bryan. Ahmaud Arbery was face down in the middle of the road covered in blood.

The jury got to see Minshew’s body camera and his interaction with the defendants.

His body camera footage shows him pull up to the scene. Later you can see and hear him explain to other officers what happened as they arrived on scene.

“Satilla Drive and Holmes Road. Satilla Drive and Holmes Road. I need a unit to bring some caution tape,” Minshew said.

“I was coming right through there and I heard the shots. I didn’t... It took me a minute to grasp what was going on. I heard the shots when I was coming through, but I didn’t realize what had happened until I got right there.” Minshew said.

“I was looking around trying to figure out where it was coming from and I saw two guys with guns over here. Then when I got right here they were still standing with guns in their hands and he had already fell down, dude,” he continued.

There are questions about his actions that day. According to police body camera footage, that officer did not speak to or help Arbery, who was lying on the ground bleeding. He also didn’t check for a pulse.

After watching the video in the courtroom, Arbery’s mother said she thought it was “very disturbing” none of the defendants were initially detained by police.

“He arrived on scene and he saw a man in the middle of the road, and he also saw people, two other guys that were standing there. I haven’t really put it all together on what he was thinking. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense at this time,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother.

Arbery’s mother also says she doesn’t know why Minshew didn’t attempt any life saving measures.

Minshew explained why he did not render aid when he was questioned by the prosecution.

It wasn’t until backup arrived that officers checked on Arbery. Minshew testified his reason for not initially beginning life saving measures had to do with his own safety and security.

“When I got there, I did not know any of the people or any of the facts or circumstances to what had happened. The only thing I knew, that I observed, was the body laying in the middle of the roadway that had just bled out by apparent gunfire. Being I was the only officer on scene, without having any other police units to watch my back, there wasn’t any way I could’ve switched attention to anything medical and still be able to watch my surroundings and watch out for my own safety,” Minshew said.

Minshew also said he didn’t have adequate medical training or supplies in his patrol car to attempt any life saving measures.

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