What did happen, according to Wilson: Brown stopped running at a light pole and confronted Wilson. The cop said he yelled at the youth to get on the ground. “When he looked at me, he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound and he starts, he turns and he’s coming back towards me,” Wilson recalled. “His first step is coming towards me, he kind of does like a stutter step to start running. When he does that, his left hand goes in a fist and goes to his side, his right one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me.”

Wilson opened fire. He missed a few times. But he also hit Brown, who “flinched.” What Wilson remembered as “tunnel vision” came over him, homing in on Brown’s right hand in his waistband. “I’m just focusing on that hand when I was shooting.” But the shots, Wilson said, didn’t deter Brown, who continued to charge toward him.

“He was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting him,” Wilson said. “And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.”

Wilson took aim at Brown’s head for the shot that would kill the unarmed teen. “When he fell, he fell on his face,” Wilson recalled. “I remember his feet coming up … and then they rested.”

Then came the end.

“When it went into him,” Wilson said, “the demeanor on his face went blank, the aggression was gone, it was gone, I mean I knew he stopped, the threat was stopped.”

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Tom Holmes

Tom's been writing about religion – broadly defined – for years in the Journal. Tom's experience as a retired minister and his curiosity about matters of faith will make for an always insightful exploration...