"I shot him."
Travis McMichael took the stand in the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday, testifying that he feared for his life when he shot the 25-year-old Black man in a Georgia neighborhood last February.
"It was obvious that, that he was attacking me. That if he would have got the shotgun from me, then it was a - it was a life or death situation... I shot again because I was still fighting. He was all over me, over the shotgun and he was not relenting. So I shot again to stop him."
McMichael, who is white, told jurors his decision to grab a gun and chase Arbery was motivated by an encounter almost two weeks prior.
He testified he had seen Arbery quote "creeping in the shadows" at night around a nearby house under construction, and suspected he may have been armed.
"As he comes out of the shadows... he comes directly to me, I'm out of the door, and he comes out and he pulls off his shirt and goes to reach in his pocket or waistband area... It freaked me out."
Prosecutors say Arbery was an avid runner out for an afternoon jog on the day he was killed, and was not armed.
McMichael frequently cited law-enforcement training he got when he was in the U.S. Coast Guard.
And sought to convince jurors he had good reason to jump into his truck with his father to chase Arbery down, saying they thought he might be a burglar.
Arbery later ran toward McMichael at the end of the chase, when they briefly grappled over the shotgun, before McMichael fired at Arbery three times.
"You pull a weapon on someone, from what I've learned in my training, usually that tells people to back off."
The 35-year-old McMichael has pleaded not guilty to murder and other crimes alongside two other white defendants, his 65-year-old father Gregory and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan.