The Georgia man who recorded the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery used his vehicle in an attempt to detain the 25-year-old during the incident, a state criminal warrant alleges.
The man, William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, was arrested Thursday on charges of murder and attempted false imprisonment, authorities said. He is the third person to be arrested in the death of Arbery on Feb. 23 in Brunswick, Georgia.
Bryan is accused of using his vehicle on multiple occasions between about 1 p.m. and 1:20 p.m. that day to “attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority,” the warrant states.
Investigators believe this “underlying felony helped cause the death of Ahmaud Arbery,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said Friday, referring to the charge of attempted false imprisonment.
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Reynolds also said at a new conference Friday that the felony murder charge against Bryan falls under a state law which says that when a felony crime results in a death, it is felony murder.
Upon his arrest, Bryan was turned over to the local jail in Glynn County, Reynolds said.
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Earlier this month, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested after the video of Arbery’s fatal shooting was released. The McMichaels have said they believed Arbery was a burglary suspect, and that they armed themselves before pursuing him because they believed he might have a gun, according to a Glynn County police report. .
George McMichael told officers that Arbery “began to violently attack” Travis, who fired after the two “started fighting over the shotgun,” the police report said.
Arbery’s family has said he was out jogging when he was shot to death.
In a statement Thursday, lawyers for Arbery’s parents said the family was “relieved” that Bryan had been arrested. “His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation it was clear to the GBI as well.”
A lawyer for Bryan, Kevin Gough, told NBC’s “TODAY” show earlier this month that Bryan was only a witness to the shooting and had fully cooperated with investigators.
Bryan was in his yard when he saw Arbery running, followed by a white pickup truck with the McMichaels in it, Gough said. Bryan followed them because he wanted a photo of Arbery, the lawyer said.
“There had been a number of crimes in the neighborhood, and he didn’t recognize him, and a vehicle that he did recognize was following him,” Gough said.
Gough added that Bryan voluntarily went to local police and answered questions during a “lengthy” interview without a lawyer.
Gough further said on Monday that Bryan took a polygraph test voluntarily without being asked, and he noted that such tests are inadmissible in court but can be used to guide the decisions of prosecutors.
The attorney said that test confirmed that Bryan was unarmed at the time of the shooting and that he did not have any conversation with Gregory or Travis McMichael that day prior to the shooting.
Gough also reiterated Monday that Bryan was merely a witness to the killing.
But Reynolds said Friday, ”If we believed he was a witness we wouldn’t have arrested him.”
He added that he doesn’t expect more arrests in the case. “At this point, we feel confident the individuals who needed to be charged have been charged.”
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Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
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