By Dakin Andone, Nick Valencia and Jade Gordon, CNN
A Black FedEx driver who says he was shot at by a White father and son while delivering packages in Mississippi “can definitely see the similarities” between his case and that of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man who was chased and murdered in south Georgia.
“That’s why I feel it’s my responsibility to speak up,” D’Monterrio Gibson, 24, said in an interview Friday on CNN’s New Day. “Because Ahmaud Arbery didn’t survive to speak up for himself, so I want to take that upon myself to do that for me and him as well.”
Arbery, 25, was killed in February 2020 after being pursued by three White men — two of whom were father and son. All were convicted of his murder and sentenced to life in prison. Jury selection in their federal hate crimes trial remains ongoing.
Asked Friday if he believed the men were trying to kill him, Gibson told CNN, “Honestly, in my humble opinion, I think they were. Because after they fired the initial shots they continued to chase me out of the city.”
“If you didn’t succeed the first time, then I can just only imagine what they was going to do if they had caught me,” he said.
The men who allegedly fired at Gibson have been charged in connection to the incident.
Brandon Case was charged with feloniously attempting to cause bodily injury with a firearm and a deadly weapon by shooting at an occupied vehicle with Gibson inside, per an affidavit provided to CNN by the Brookhaven Municipal Court, signed January 31.
Gregory Case was charged with unlawfully and feloniously conspiring with Brandon Case to commit aggravated assault by attempting to cause bodily injury to Gibson, a second affidavit, signed February 1, says.
CNN has reached out to attorneys for Brandon Case and Gregory Case but has not yet heard back.
Gibson says he was ‘chased’ out of the city
According to the affidavits, Gregory Case was driving the truck chasing Gibson and Brandon Case was the man in the street pointing the gun at Gibson. Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins confirmed to CNN that Gregory is Brandon’s father.
Gibson told CNN he was delivering packages to a home in Brookhaven, Mississippi, around 7 p.m. January 24 when he saw a white pickup truck coming from the house behind it. The truck approached Gibson and blew the horn at him, Gibson said.
Gibson was driving a Hertz rental van with two large Hertz stickers on the back, he previously said. Gibson’s attorney, Carlos E. Moore, told CNN Gibson was wearing a FedEx jacket, shirt and pants, but the vehicle had no FedEx markings.
Gibson reiterated Friday he was in full FedEx uniform and said he and the men had not interacted prior to the incident. “No words were exchanged or anything like that,” he said.
Gibson thought he was in the pickup truck’s way and so he tried to leave, he said, but the truck swerved around him and tried to cut him off.
“At that point my instincts kick in, and I swerve around him as he (is) trying to cut me off to avoid getting stuck in the neighborhood,” he told CNN previously.
Gibson drove down the street about two or three houses, he said, when a man in the middle of the road pointed a gun at his vehicle and was mouthing and waving at Gibson to stop. Gibson shook his head “no,” he told CNN, to indicate he wasn’t going to stop and then hid behind his steering wheel while he swerved around him.
That’s when Gibson heard “at least five shots and heard the bullets hitting the van,” according to an incident report filed January 25 by the Brookhaven Police Department after officers met with Gibson and his boss.
“They essentially just chased me out of the city,” he told CNN Friday.
Moore believes his client was targeted by the Cases, who are White, “because he is African-American,” Moore said in a statement to CNN. “He was simply doing his job as a FedEx driver in full uniform when he was chased and assaulted by gunfire.”
In a statement, FedEx said it took “situations of this nature very seriously, and we are shocked by this criminal act against our team member, D’Monterrio Gibson.”
“The safety of our team members is our top priority, and we remain focused on his wellbeing,” it said. “We will continue to support Mr. Gibson as we cooperate with investigating authorities.”
Gibson on Friday said he was on unpaid leave after the incident, though the company was paying for therapy. Moore told CNN later Friday FedEx had reinstated his pay retroactively beginning January 31.
CNN has reached out to FedEx to ask if he was placed on unpaid leave.
Suspects weren’t arrested for 8 days
When Gibson called police to report the shooting, he said he was told by the dispatcher they had just received a call about a suspicious person at the same address.
Moore told CNN Friday police “did not take it seriously” when Gibson called to report the incident, so his manager took him to the police station the next day and showed them the vehicle and packages, which had been damaged by the bullets.
“And then they started to believe him,” Moore said. “However, they still allowed the Cases eight days of freedom before they turned themselves in to the Brookhaven Police Department.”
Vicki Magee, dispatch supervisor for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, told CNN the Cases were booked and bonded February 1. Brandon Case’s bond was $150,000 and Gregory’s Case’s bond was $75,000, Magee said.
When asked why the Cases weren’t arrested for eight days, Chief Collins told CNN in an interview Thursday that investigations take time. Arrest warrants were drawn up ,and when the pair came to the station for an interview they were arrested, Collins said.
It hurt to see everyone “vilifying” the police department, he said, adding race has nothing to do with the way the investigation was handled. Collins is Black.
Still, Moore told CNN he wants to see charges upgraded to attempted murder.
“Because if the roles were reversed, and he’d done this to them, he would have been immediately arrested for attempted murder and gone to jail that same night,” Moore previously said of his client. “He wouldn’t have been allowed to wait a week to turn himself in.”
The case must go through the grand jury, 14th Judicial District Attorney Dee Bates told CNN in a statement, and “the grand jury has the ability to charge whatever they find probable cause existing.”
Moore requested that the FBI investigate the case as a possible hate crime and said he believed the agency was taken the case seriously. Collins, the police chief, told CNN the FBI came to his office Thursday and picked up the case file.
The FBI in Jackson, Mississippi, told CNN in a statement it could not confirm whether matters are under investigation, citing bureau policy.
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CNN’s Nick Valencia and Jade Gordon reported from Brookhaven, Mississippi, while Dakin Andone reported and wrote this story in Atlanta. CNN’s Jennifer Henderson and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.