The father of Georgia shooting victim Ahmaud Arbery said Friday of his son’s death, “He didn’t deserve to go out like that.”
“He just loved people. He’s the kind of young man that if he had a dollar, and you asked him for that $1, he would give it to you,” the father, Marcus Arbery Sr., said. “His heart was just bigger than life.”
Ahmaud Arbery, who would have turned 26 on Friday, was shot to death on Feb. 23 in Brunswick, a coastal city about midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida, after being chased by father and son Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis, 34, in their pickup truck.
Arbery’s family said he was out jogging, while the McMichaels said they thought he was a burglar, according to the Glynn County police report. The McMichaels armed themselves because they believed Arbery might have a gun, the police report said.
The police report did not specifically say whether Arbery was armed, but a lawyer for the family said the victim did not have a weapon.
The McMichaels claimed Travis shot Arbery in self-defense after Arbery attacked him and grabbed his gun.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday that the McMichaels were arrested on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.
Before Thursday’s action, Arbery’s family had publicly expressed frustration that no arrests had been made.
His father said the family would have celebrated his son’s 26th birthday Friday with a cookout.
“Hanging around with friends … and try to put some meat on the grill,” the senior Arbery said of the birthday party that won’t take place. “He’d try to keep everybody happy.”
The father added that he is trying to maintain his composure for the sake of his family.
“It’s hurtful,” he said. “I just got to be strong for the rest of my family. I got to be strong for my two children. I just got to be strong for their mama, too.”