As of press time, at least five eyewitnesses in the Michael Brown shooting case have come forward. All five witnesses had distinct vantage points: One person was with Brown during the incident, one woman was inside her vehicle, another woman observed the incident from her apartment balcony, one man was inside his apartment and another man was standing outside.
None of the eyewitnesses in this roundup—save for two—knew each other prior to the shooting. They could not have imagined that their lives would forever be intertwined as a result of what they allegedly witnessed that sunny afternoon in Ferguson, Mo.
1. Dorian Johnson, Michael Brown’s friend.
During interviews with reporters, Johnson recounted the chilling confrontation. He said that a police car pulled up alongside Brown and him, and the officer—who has been identified as Darren Wilson—allegedly told Johnson and Brown to “get the f--k on the sidewalk.”
The two men told the officer that they were only minutes away from their destination. Johnson said that Wilson backed up his car and asked Brown and Johnson what they just said. Johnson claimed that Wilson then tried to open his car door but the door ricocheted off of Brown’s body and closed again.
Johnson said that Wilson pulled Brown through the car window by his neck, and Brown began to try to pull away. Johnson said that Wilson shot Brown during the scuffle, and Brown managed to break away from Wilson’s grip. Brown and Johnson then began to run away from the police vehicle.
Johnson said that Wilson got out of his car and began to shoot at Brown while Brown was running away. Brown then stopped, put his hands in the air, turned around and pleaded with the officer to stop shooting, since he didn’t have a gun.
Johnson said that Wilson continued to fire several more shots before Brown’s body fell to the ground.
2. Tiffany Mitchell, who was visiting her employee in a nearby apartment complex.
Mitchell had never met or seen Michael Brown or Dorian Johnson. In fact, she’s not even from the area and was on her way to pick up an employee when the incident occurred.
During an interview with MSNBC, Mitchell said she was driving when she saw the confrontation at the point when Brown and Wilson were wrestling through the window. “Brown was pushing, trying to get away from the officer,” Mitchell explained, “and the officer was trying to pull him in.”
Mitchell’s and Johnson’s versions of events match up from that point on. A shot was fired, and Brown broke away and started to run down the street away from the police car. Mitchell said the officer then got out of his vehicle and started to pursue Brown, all the while shooting at him.
“Michael’s body jerked as if he were hit,” Mitchell said. “Then he turns around and put his hands up, and the officer continued to walk up on him and shoot him, until he goes all the way down to the ground.”
3. Piaget Crenshaw, the woman who saw the incident while standing on her apartment balcony.
Crenshaw was the employee that Mitchell was coming to pick up. She was standing on her apartment balcony and saw Brown running away from Wilson.
“I witnessed the police chase after the guy—full force,” Crenshaw told local news reporters in Ferguson. “[Brown] put his arm up to let them know that he was compliant and that he was unarmed, and they shot him twice more, and he fell to the ground and died.”
Crenshaw explained to reporters on the scene, “[Brown] was running this way, but his body is laying this way because he turned around to tell the police that he was unarmed.
“He didn’t have no weapon on him at all,” she continued. “They killed this boy for no reason, and there should be justice about this.”
4. Emmanuel Freeman, who reportedly tweeted about the shooting right after it happened.
Freeman, whose Twitter handle is @TheePharoah, was sitting in his home in Ferguson when he heard gunshots outside his window. He began to tweet his reaction.
Freeman soon tweeted a photo of Brown’s body lying facedown on the floor. A police officer can be seen standing over him. He again tweets:
He later tweets about the gunfire, saying:
In a tweet that has supposedly been taken down but was captured by a few news sources, including the Huffington Post, Twitter user @_amourlace asks Freeman if Brown was running away or if he was in a car.
Freeman tweeted back, “no reason! He was running!”
5. The man who spoke to Brown right before he left for the convenience store.
A man, who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, told Fox2 News that he and Brown had seen each other right before Brown went to the convenience store. The man said Brown told him that he was “feeling some bad vibes” but that the “Lord Jesus Christ” would help him through it. The man said that Brown said he’d return to continue their conversation after making a stop at the store.
Approximately 25 minutes later, the man heard gunfire and looked up and saw a man, who he didn’t know at the time was Brown, “staggering and running.”
The man said that Brown put his hands up and started screaming, “OK! OK! OK! OK! OK!” The witness claims that the police officer didn’t tell Brown to get on the ground or anything.
“He just started shooting,” the man continued, estimating that the officer shot Brown six or seven times after he turned around to seemingly surrender. “There’s no way you can justify it.”
(Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features expert advice for TV and film’s most complex characters. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.)