DONALD Trump has called the shooting of a young black jogger who was mistaken for a burglar “a very sad thing”.
The president was speaking as audio recordings emerged of two 911 calls shed further light on the final moments before Ahmaud Arbery, 25, who was shot dead by two white men while on a run through a neighborhood just outside Brunswick, Georgia.
An outcry over the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery intensified after the publication of a mobile phone video which showed him struggling with the men before his death.
The dead man was killed back in February after going out for his daily jog when two white men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, pursued Arbery after believing he may have been the suspect in a recent burglary.
Footage showed them brandishing shotguns from a vehicle as Arbery jogged up the road..
In the ensuing tussle, the jogger was shot twice with the powerful weapon.
He was filmed staggering onwards for several yards before collapsing and dying.
Reacting to killing, Trump told reporters at the White House: “My heart goes out to the parents and the loved ones of the young gentleman, it's a very sad thing, I will be given a full report tonight.
“I haven't seen the video yet.”
Arbery’s parents branded the killing of their son a “modern-day lynching”.
The Guardian has obtained copies of the 911 calls made after he was shot.
In one call, made at 1.14pm, the dispatcher asks for the address and the reason for the call.
An unidentified man’s voice can be heard saying “uh, I’m out here at Satilla Shores….”there’s a black male running down the street”.
In an earlier call at 1.08pm, a different unidentified caller reports “a guy in a house right now, a house under construction”.
The dispatcher asks if the man is breaking in to which the caller responds: "No, it’s all open, it’s under construction."
My heart goes out to the parents and the loved ones of the young gentleman, it's a very sad thing
The caller then says: “He’s running right now, and there he goes right now,” referring to Arbery, who was taking his usual jog.
The dispatcher asks: “OK, what is he doing?” The caller replies: “He’s running down the street.”
A few seconds later, the dispatcher says: “I just need to know what he was doing wrong. Was he just on the premises and not supposed to be?”
The beginning of his response is garbled, but when the background noise clears, there is no clear answer to the question.
The dispatcher ends with saying she will send someone by to check.
At 1.14 pm, the second call is answered at the call center.
Following the first exchange between the caller and the dispatcher, the caller again did not respond to the dispatcher, instead yelling: “Stop. Stop that. Dammit. Stop.”
A moment later he shouts “Travis!” apparently addressing Travis McMichael.
The dispatcher attempts to redirect the man’s attention 27 seconds into the call, saying, “Sir, hello, sir,” but does not receive an answer.
Police have not released the identities of the callers. No one has been charged in the case.
Despite the incident happening back in February, neither McMichael has been charged with a crime.
Gregory McMichael previously served as a former police detective and district attorney investigator in the area.
An outside prosecutor in charge of the case now said he wants a grand jury to decide whether criminal charges are warranted.
That won't happen until at least mid-June, since Georgia courts remain largely closed because of the coronavirus crisis.
The two men have claimed they were attacked by Arbery before shooting him.
But Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Arbery's mother, said yesterday: “These men were vigilantes, they were a posse and they performed a modern lynching in the middle of the day.”
Georgia law says a person can kill in self-defense only if they reasonably believe that such force is necessary to “prevent death or great bodily injury” or to prevent “a forcible felony.”
Prominent supporters of the Arbery family – including presidential candidate Joe Biden and basketball star LeBron James – have called for the men to face charges.
After the footage was posted to Twitter, Merritt said "this is murder" and a string of big names weighed in on the tragedy, including LeBron James, Justin Bieber, Joe Biden, and Kendall Jenner.
It emerged on the same day Georgia prosecutor Tom Dunden announced plans for a grand jury to hear the evidence.
But courts won't reconvene until June 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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