Murder of cousin Ahmaud Arbery hits ex-Cajuns safety Tracy Walker hard

Tim Buckley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

A close relative slain on the street. The shooting captured on video. A crawl to justice.

Frustration over a high-profile murder near his hometown of Brunswick, Georgia, can be felt in the Twitter timeline last week of former Ragin’ Cajuns safety Tracy Walker, now a member of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

May 5: “That’s crazy they killed my cousin in cold blood like this.”

Later that same day, Walker retweeted a photo captioned with these words: “I was murdered by two men and both of my killers have not been arrested. Please do not forget me. My name is Ahmaud Arbery.”

Two days later, two Georgia men — Gregory McMichael and his son Travis — reportedly were arrested and charged in the murder.

More:Why men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery won't face Georgia hate crime charges

Ex-UL safety Tracy Walker, now with the Detroit Lions, breaks up a pass during a 2017 game at Texas A&M.

The 25-year-old Arbery was shot Feb. 23 as he jogged down a picturesque road, under a canopy of Spanish moss-draped trees, in Satilla Shores, Georgia, located adjacent to Brunswick.

While he ran, as clearly can be seen on the video, Arbery approached a pickup with one man standing in the bed of the truck and another on the road beside it, then was shot after making his way around the vehicle and approaching one of the men.

According to CNN.com, “That day, according to a police report, the McMichaels allegedly chased Arbery down in a pickup truck, believing he was a suspect in a string of burglaries. (Gregory) McMichael told police his son shot Arbery after the latter allegedly attacked him as he stood in the road with a shotgun, according to the police report. But those who knew Arbery said the former high school football player often jogged through the neighborhoods southwest of Brunswick.”

Also on May 5, above the video showing how the shooting unfolded, Walker tweeted this: “Life is too short.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, “Arbery’s death has reignited a national conversation about racial profiling and the shooting deaths of unarmed black men.”

Ahmaud Arbery was killed Feb. 23 outside Brunswick, Ga., in Glynn County.

Last Friday, Walker told the ENews! website eonline.com this about the outcry over the shooting on social media that came after the video went viral last week: “It’s amazing to have that much support, have that many people get behind one simple cause, and that’s justice. … That’s all we could ask for.”

According to ENews!, Walker’s grandfather and Arbery’s grandfather are brothers.

“It’s crazy that a man was out there jogging by himself and just getting exercise and he was shot down,” Walker told the website. “We can’t continue to kill ourselves and kill each other off. That’s not ok. We can’t continue with the violence.”

A participant in the 2018 East-West Shrine Game and a third-round draft choice of the Lions later that same year, Walker redshirted in 2013 and played for the Cajuns from 2014-17, starting most of all four seasons.

He came to UL from Brunswick High in Georgia, arriving as a shy freshman and leaving well-respected and with an outgoing personality.

According to an ESPN.com story published Monday night, Arbery — a year older than his second cousin — and Walker were teammates at Brunswick who lived across the street from each other while in high school and the two had spent time together the same month Arbery was killed.

“He was a beautiful soul,” Walker told ESPN.com.

“He wasn’t a hateful person. He was not. I can’t name one person he had a beef with growing up. Everybody loved Ahmaud because he was just a clown, a funny guy.”

According to CNN.com, “The Brunswick News has reported Arbery was indicted for allegedly bringing a gun to a 2013 high school basketball game when he was 19. Family attorney Lee Merritt has acknowledged Arbery’s 2018 arrest on shoplifting charges. But any reference to ‘alleged conduct from high school or shoplifting is absurd and has nothing to do with his murder,’ Merritt said.”

More:Autopsy: Ahmaud Arbery was shot twice in the chest, grazed on wrist during 'struggle for shotgun'

According to ESPN.com, Walker said that on the field Arbery “was slow as molasses, but he would hit you.”

“Man, he did not deserve that,” the ex-Cajun told ESPN.com.

“He did not deserve that. And, you know, God has a plan for everybody, man, but, you know, it’s tough. It is. That’s why I watched (the video) so many times. I couldn’t grasp it. It’s such a gruesome video, you want to know why.”

On Saturday, four days after his initial flurry of tweets, Walker retweeted the Detroit Free Press story on his cousin’s death.

Above the retweet, he simply wrote this: “Gone but not forgotten”

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