FERGUSON • The Aug. 9 fatal shooting here that sparked three months of protests and calls for change from around the world happened in less than 90 seconds, interviews and an analysis of police and EMS records shows.
The records, obtained by the Post-Dispatch via Missouri's Sunshine Law, provide the best timeline yet for the events surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown Jr., 18. Also released were police station surveillance videos that provide the most recent images of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who has stayed out of the public eye since the shooting. Wilson left the police station for the hospital two hours after the shooting, accompanied by other officers and his union lawyer.
They returned about two and one-half hours later.
Shortly after Brown's death, a grand jury began hearing evidence to determine whether Wilson should be indicted in the killing. The grand jury's decision is expected any day.
A FATAL ENCOUNTER
At 11:29 a.m. on Aug. 9, a dispatcher asked Wilson to help other officers search for a man who had reportedly threatened to kill a woman. At 11:47 a.m., Wilson said he would respond to a call for a 2-month-old with breathing problems. Wilson drove his police SUV from the west side of West Florissant Avenue to Glenark Drive, east of Canfield Drive and Copper Creek Court, where the fatal encounter would soon occur.
At 11:53 a.m., a dispatcher reported a "stealing in progress" at the Ferguson Market. The 911 operator was still talking to the caller in the background. In a second broadcast, 19 seconds later, the dispatcher says the suspect is a black male in a white T-shirt running toward QuikTrip, and had stolen a box of Swisher cigars.
About four minutes later, there's more detail: the suspect is wearing a red Cardinals hat, a white T-shirt, yellow socks and khaki shorts, and is accompanied by another man.
At noon, Wilson reports that he’s back in service from the sick-baby call. He then asks the officers searching for the thieves -- units 25 and 22 -- if they need him. Seven seconds later, an unidentified officer broadcasts that the suspects had disappeared.
At 12:02 p.m., Wilson says, "21. Put me on Canfield with two. And send me another car." His call triggered at least two officers to head his way, including one who said he was close to Wilson.
Sources have told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson has told authorities that before the radio call he had stopped to tell Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, to quit walking down the middle of the street. They kept walking, and he then realized that Brown matched the description of the suspect in the stealing call.
Wilson then asked dispatch for backup and backed up his SUV next to Brown and Johnson.
Wilson said Brown attacked him, sources said, and that they struggled over the officer's gun before Wilson was able to fire twice, hitting Brown once. Brown ran away.
Wilson has told authorities that he called, "Shots fired, send all cars," on his radio, but during the struggle his radio had been jarred and the channel changed.
The Post-Dispatch reviewed radio calls made during that period on all St. Louis County police channels, the fire channel used by Ferguson and other channels publicly archived online and could not locate the call. At least one channel on the Ferguson police radio is "receive-only," meaning that the call may not have been broadcast.
After the call, Wilson pursued Brown on foot.
According to sources, Wilson has said that Brown turned and charged, and that Wilson then fired once, paused when Brown appeared to flinch and fired again, multiple times. He said he then radioed for an ambulance.
Witnesses' accounts vary widely. Most saw only part of the encounter. Johnson said that Wilson grabbed Brown by the throat, and, later, tried to pull him into the SUV. Johnson also said that Wilson's fatal shot came after Brown turned around and was getting to the ground with his hands in the air.
Other witnesses have said that Brown stood still or walked, staggered, stumbled or fell toward Wilson before he was killed. Some witnesses said Brown's hands were up; others said they were not.
Forty-one seconds after Wilson's call, unit 25 reported that he was about to arrive at Wilson's location, saying he was "going out on Canfield" and accompanied by the sound of his racing engine.
Forty-eight seconds later, another officer had arrived or was about to, announcing, "22's out."
At 12:03 p.m., an eyewitness to the shooting Tweeted:
I JUST SAW SOMEONE DIE OMFG— Thee$avageEP (@TheePharoah) August 9, 2014
If his smartphone's clock, or Twitter's, agreed with the clock on dispatch records, Brown was killed less than 61 seconds after the dispatcher acknowledged that Wilson had stopped two men.
At one minute, 13 seconds after Wilson's call, an unidentified officer has arrived and asks, “Where's the other one?” referring to Johnson.
Eleven seconds later, there's a brief burst of static and an unintelligible bit of speech. A dispatcher responds, “10-4 on Canfield.”
Twenty seconds later, unit 25 called in to ask if the dispatcher could send a supervisor to Canfield and Copper Creek Court.
At 12:05, a dispatcher called for an ambulance, erroneously reporting that someone had been hit with a Taser.
By 12:07 p.m., a woman wailed in the background as an officer called over his radio: “Get us several more units over here. There's gonna be a problem.”
BROWN FAMILY LAWYERS RESPOND
Lawyers for the Brown family issued a statement Saturday saying that from the beginning the Ferguson Police Department has sought to “vilify the victim and put the shooter on a pedestal.”
The statement also said, “the audio clearly demonstrates that the initial interaction with the officer and Brown had nothing to do with the incident at the convenience store.”
Christine Byers of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.