Witness says teen friend shot by cop 'like an animal'

FERGUSON, Mo. -- A friend who was walking beside black teenager Michael Brown when he was killed by a white police officer says the 18-year-old victim had turned and put his hands in the air when he was shot "like an animal" in the head and chest.

Related: Social media threats delay release of shooter's name

Dorian Johnson, who was finally summoned by police and FBI Wednesday to give his account of the weekend shooting, gave his dramatic account Tuesday to KSDK-TV reporter Farrah Fazal.

The shooting has angered the predominantly African-American community and sparked three nights of protests. Tensions were increased early Wednesday when police shot and wounded an armed ma

n not far from the site of a community protest meeting.

That shooting, which has left a gunman in critical condition, did not immediately appear to be related to the civil unrest, but was jarring to a community already on edge over the killing of the 18-year-old Brown.

Johnson said he has moved from his apartment with his girlfriend and young daughter because he feared retaliation from police.

"I left because I feared that if I stayed, something would happen to me. I felt like if they would have gotten me, they would have done anything possible to make sure I couldn't come forth and give my side of what happened," Johnson told KSDK.

Johnson said the incident started around 1:40 p.m. Saturday when the officer pulled up beside the pair as they were walking down the street near his grandmother's house.

Related: 32 arrested, 2 officers hurt in riot in St. Louis suburb

"He didn't say freeze, halt or anything like we were committing a crime," Johnson tells KSDK. "He said, 'Get the 'F' on the sidewalk.'

He said the officer, whose name has not been released, shoved open the car door, grabbed Brown around the neck and tried to pull him through the window. He said Brown never tried to reach for the officer's weapon.

"The second time he says, 'I'll shoot,' a second later the gun went off and he let go," Johnson said. "That's how we were able to run at the same time."

Johnson said he ducked behind a car as the officer continued shooting at them, hitting Brown in the back.

"His (Brown's) hands immediately went into the air and he turned around to the officer," Johnson recalls. "My friend started to tell the officer that he was unarmed and that he could stop shooting (him). Before he could get his second sentence out, the officer fired several more shots into his head and chest area. He fell dramatically into the fatal position. I did not hear once he yell freeze, stop or halt. it was just horrible to watch.".

Johnson, who began to sob during the interview, said he could tell Brown was in pain: "It hurt him a lot. could see it in his eyes. It was definitely like being shot like an animal.

"I definitely think (the officer) is guilty of murder," Johnson said.

Police have said that a scuffle broke out after the officer asked the teens to move. Police have not confirmed witness accounts that Brown had raised his hands to surrender when the shots were fired..

A second witness, who will be interviewed by the FBI, has told the St. Louis NAACP that Brown did not struggle with the officer inside his patrol car, where the fatal shots were fired.

The protests triggered by the shooting have rocked the city, prompting police to fire tear gas during some of the street confrontations.

The latest police shooting early Wednesday took place two blocks from St. Mark Family Church, where the Rev. Al Sharpton held a gathering Tuesday night of residents of the largely African-American community.

About a mile away, the third night of protests was largely peaceful, with several young pulling their shirts up to cover their faces.

The confrontation ended when officers fired tear gas into the crowd. Police said they were responding to protesters who had thrown bottles at them, according to CNN.

At one church gathering Tuesday with dozens of clergy members and elected officials, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon urged calm "in the face of crisis."

"We stand together tonight, reeling from what feels like an old wound torn open afresh," Nixon said. "A wound that hadn't quite healed right in the first place, and now the pain is just as searing as when the injury first occurred."

Tensions over the shooting were further heightened Tuesday after authorities backed down on an earlier promise to to release the name of the police officer who killed the unarmed Brown. All but three of the police department's 53 officers are white.

Police, who had promised to make the officer's name public on Tuesday, cite threats against the officer on social media for the delay. They say there is now no timetable for releasing the name off the white officer, who has been on the Ferguson police force for six years.

"If we come out and say, 'it was this officer,' then he immediately becomes a target," Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said. "We're taking the threats seriously."

Contributing: Brandie Piper, KSDK; Michelle Washington, McLean, Va.; Associated Press


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