FERGUSON, Mo. — Michael Brown was identified as a suspect in a strong-arm robbery moments before he was shot to death by Officer Darren Wilson, police said Friday.
Ferguson, Mo. Police Chief Thomas Jackson identified Wilson as the officer who shot Brown, whose death spurred violent protests and unrest in the St. Louis suburb over the past week. Wilson has been on the force for six years and has no disciplinary action against him. Jackson would not provide further information about the officer.
Jackson announced the name Friday morning in a very short news conference, three days after saying he would name the officer, then reneging citing a fear for the officers safety. He would not provide further information about Wilson.
Jackson also gave barebones details about a strong-arm robbery at a local convenience store that took place moments before Wilson shot Brown. He did not connect Brown to the robbery during his press conference, but in police documents he released to reporters during the press conference, Brown is named as a suspect. Jackson released dispatch records and video surveillance of the robbery as well.
A police offense incident report dated Aug. 9 that was part of the packet of documents Jackson released quotes the officer writing, “I was able to confirm that Brown is the primary suspect in this incident.”
The report does not name the officer or contain an officer’s signature. It also does not contain the address where the robbery is said to have happened.
But it provides the following description of the robbery: An employee at a Ferguson convenience store saw Brown grab a box of Swisher Sweet cigars and hand them to another young man identified as Dorrian Johnson, who was standing behind him. The employee said he told Brown he had to pay for the cigars and instead, Brown reached across the counter and grabbed numerous packets of cigars and turned to leave the story.
The report says according to the employee Brown grabbed his shirt and pushed him into a display rack. Then he and Johnson left the story without paying.
The report describes Brown as 6’4, 292 pounds and wearing a white T-shirt, khaki long shorts, yellow socks and a red cardinals ball cap.
Brown was unarmed when Wilson killed him. Witnesses in the area say Brown had raised his hands to surrender when he was shot. Police have not confirmed that information.
No one answered at Wilson’s door in his home in suburban Crestwood, Mo. A police officer keeping an on the house said Wilson and his family left days ago.
A neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said that Wilson had moved into the neighborhood less than a year ago. She described him as ” tall and slim” and that she would see him walking his dog in the neighborhood of mostly single-story brick homes.
The announcement comes after Twitter suspended an account Thursday linked to a loose-knit “hacktivist” group that released the name of a police officer it said shot and killed Brown on Saturday night. However, police, Ferguson’s mayor and the stepmother of the man named all said the group was incorrect and that the person named is not a police officer.
As of early Friday morning, no violent clashes were reported after hundreds of protesters gathered and marched near the flashpoint where riots and civil unrest have unfolded here in recent days.
Citizens protesting Brown’s death appeared to be getting along peacefully as they marched alongside state troopers, who took over operational control of the protest scenes Thursday.
Several marchers stopped to shake hands with police and troopers. Some people stopped to hug and chat with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Highway Patrol, who was born and grew up near this community and is now overseeing security.
The scene stood in stark contrast clashes earlier this week when officers wore riot gear.
Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that the Missouri Highway Patrol would be taking control of security in Ferguson and that the unit in the embattled town would be overseen by Johnson.
“What’s gone on here over the last few days is not what Missouri is about. It’s not what Ferguson is about. This is a place where people work, go to school, raise their families, go to church,” Nixon said. “But lately it’s looked a little bit more like a war zone and that’s unacceptable.”