A witness to the Michael Brown shooting says she heard the teenager say, "I give up," before being fatally shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.
The unnamed witness told her story to law enforcement agents on Aug. 16, one week after the shooting. Her interview was presented as evidence during the grand jury hearing into whether Wilson would be charged with a crime in Brown's shooting. The interview, along with other grand jury testimony and evidence, was made public Monday night.
In her conversation with an agent who appears to be from the FBI, the witness says she had gone to the store to buy soda and had stopped on Canfield Drive on her way home to visit her cousin. She says she was standing outside smoking a cigarette in a parking lot very close to the spot where Brown had his fatal encounter with Wilson. She claims to have seen the whole exchange.
The witness said she was watching Brown talk to Wilson through the window of the police car when Wilson grabbed Brown. She says a scuffle ensued, Wilson fired two shots, and at least one of them struck Brown.
"I know I seen a spot on him; knew that he was hit; and then the second shot rung off," she says. At that point, Brown ran away from Wilson and toward where she was standing, she says.
When he reached a nearby telephone pole, Brown stopped running. "And that's when his arms went up and he turnt around, and he was walkin' back towards the police," she says. "But ... I heard him say, 'I give up.' I know I heard him say that ... 'I give up.'"
Wilson had gotten out of the police car by now, the witness says, and when Brown turned around with his hands in the air, she says, Wilson fired at least four more times until Brown, who was unarmed, collapsed to the ground. Wilson fired 12 shots in total, according to St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch.
In his grand jury testimony, Wilson said that Brown punched him twice in the face through the car window and that a third blow could have been "fatal" or at least rendered him unconscious. He said he had warned Brown to get back from the car, or he would shoot. He also said that he felt using his weapon was his "only option."
Wilson said that after Brown ran away from him, Brown turned back around, making a "grunting" sound and then charging at him. That was when Wilson said he fired the shots that killed Brown.
In announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson on Monday, McCulloch talked about the problems inherent in eyewitness accounts. He said that many people who saw the shooting "truly believe" their version of events "even in the face of their testimony being in conflict with the physical evidence."
The witness who told law enforcement that Brown said, "I give up," for instance, said there was another police officer in the car with Wilson during the incident, even though accounts from both sides have always maintained Wilson was alone.
Several eyewitnesses offered contradictory accounts of both the timing and order of events of the shooting. Some claimed Brown held his hands up before he was shot, while others claimed he did not. Other witnesses said Brown charged Wilson before being shot, while yet additional witnesses claimed the teenager was on his knees before his death. There is also conflicting testimony on whether Brown made a motion toward his waistline, as Wilson described.
A young woman, who witnessed a portion of the incident from a third-floor apartment window, said she saw Brown on his knees "grabbing his, either this stomach or his side and had it ... then he put his hands up and then the man just keep aiming ... um ... firing and then that was it." Another witness who saw the shooting from a third-floor window claimed that he saw Brown on his knees with his hands up in the air, telling Wilson, "Please don't shoot me."
A man who witnessed the incident while on his porch claimed that Brown was shot in the back while he was running away. According to his testimony, Brown then turned around, put up his hands, and said, "Don't shoot."
A man who says he watched the shooting from the window of his third-floor apartment on Canfield Drive as he was getting ready to go to work, says Wilson was running toward Brown while firing his gun.
A man who was working about 100 yards from the shooting, however, claimed that Brown's hands never went up at all, and that he was not on his knees.
"He turned around and he did some type of movement. I never seen him put his hands up or anything. I'm not sure if he pulled his pants up or whatever he did but I seen some type of movement and he started charging towards the police officer," said the witness, who was not close enough to hear any words being exchanged.
"I know for sure they weren't above his head," he added.
Igor Bobic contributed reporting.
This post has been updated to include the account of a witness who watched from his third-floor apartment while getting ready for work.