Gibson, who said he was driving a Hertz van at the time but was in his full FedEx uniform, told reporters Thursday that he believes that Brandon Case and his father, Gregory Case, chased and shot at him because he is Black and thought he didn’t belong in the neighborhood.
“They came out of nowhere,” Gibson said at a news conference. The 24-year-old driver, who was not injured in the incident, added, “Even if [the van] was unmarked, civilians still can’t take the law into their own hands.”
Gibson and his attorneys are calling for a federal hate-crimes probe, saying local police are not taking the case seriously. The father and son were arrested Feb. 1, more than a week after the incident, Carlos E. Moore, one of Gibson’s attorneys, told The Washington Post. Brandon Case, 35, was charged with feloniously attempting to cause bodily injury with a firearm and a deadly weapon, stemming from allegedly shooting at a vehicle with Gibson inside, according to court records. Gregory Case, 58, was charged with unlawfully and feloniously conspiring with his son to commit aggravated assault, records show.
Moore said that his client did nothing wrong before the Cases chased and shot at him but “was simply Black while working.” The attorney said the incident echoed the case of Arbery, the 25-year-old Black man who was murdered in Georgia in 2020 after three White men pursued him in pickup trucks while Arbery was jogging.
“It was clearly a copycat crime,” Moore said, adding that he has urged the Justice Department and FBI to look into the case. “These people tried to be copycats, and that’s why we need full justice, not Mississippi justice. This man went to work, and they attacked him like he was a wild animal.”
Gibson agreed, telling reporters, “I’m thinking this is a racism thing.”
The Cases, who posted bail the day after they were arrested, did not immediately respond to requests for comment early Friday. Neither Terrell Stubbs, the attorney for the father, nor Dan Kitchens, the attorney for the son, immediately responded to requests for comment.
Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of state murder charges in November, and two of them were prepared to admit last week that they pursued and attacked Arbery, who was unarmed, in part because of his race. U.S. District Judge Lisa Wood rejected a federal plea deal for Travis and Greg McMichael after Arbery’s family objected to allowing them to serve some of their time in federal rather than state prison.
Gibson, of Utica, Miss., said he had been to the neighborhood in Brookhaven, about an hour outside Jackson, Miss., only once or twice for his work at FedEx. The population in Brookhaven is 60 percent Black, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
At about 7 p.m. on Jan. 24, Gibson was delivering packages when he saw a white pickup truck approaching him and honking its horn. Court records show that Gregory Chase was driving the truck. When the vehicle cut him off as he was trying to leave, Gibson told the Mississippi Free Press that he attempted to swerve around the pickup truck to get out of the neighborhood. But as he drove past a couple of houses, Gibson said there was another man in the road — and he had a gun pointed at him. That man was Brandon Case, according to court records.
“There’s another guy standing in the middle of the street pointing a gun at my windows and signaling to me to stop with his hands, as well as mouthing the word, ‘Stop.’ I shake my head no, I hide behind the steering wheel, and I swerve around him as well,” he told the Free Press, the first to report the news. “As I swerve around him, he starts firing shots into my vehicle.”
After he eventually got away from the men, Gibson told reporters that he called police to report what happened to him. As he was explaining the incident, a dispatcher interrupted him and asked whether he had been on Junior Trail, the street where the driver was delivering packages.
“I said, ‘Yes,’ ” Gibson said at the news conference. “He was like, ‘Well, I just got a call of a suspicious person at this address.’ ” Gibson recalled to the Free Press how he responded, “Sir, I’m not a suspicious person, I work for FedEx. I was just doing my job.”
Gibson told FedEx what had happened and filed an incident report the next day, on Jan. 25, to the Brookhaven Police Department detailing that he heard “at least five shots and heard the bullets hitting the van.” The police report includes an interview with a woman identified as Gibson’s boss who confirmed that the van had at least two bullet holes and three packages inside the vehicle had bullet holes.
The Cases eventually turned themselves in on Feb. 1 but were released from the Lincoln County Jail on bonds the next day — Gregory Case for $75,000 and Brandon Case for $150,000.
Gibson and Moore criticized police for not doing enough.
“Some semblance of justice was served, but we’re disappointed since we think the charges should be attempted murder because that’s what it was,” Moore said.
Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, told WLBT that the Cases were charged based on the evidence they had available.
“We charged the Cases with the evidence that we had, and it’s a real good case,” Collins said. “We did our job, now the FBI has picked up the case. They come down this morning and got the case file and they’re going to investigate it on the federal hate crime side, because only a federal agency can do that. We are just local, we can’t bring that charge.”
The case is expected to be presented before a grand jury in April. Gibson also plans to file a lawsuit against the Cases, Moore said.
Gibson and his attorney also expressed their displeasure with FedEx, which they claim has not done enough to support him in the weeks since the incident. Moore said that his client, who was previously put on unpaid leave by FedEx, is suffering from anxiety. He noted at the news conference that the company is voluntarily paying for Gibson’s therapy.
“Mr. Gibson is emotionally battered and worn out,” Moore told The Post.
A FedEx spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement to CNN, the company said it “takes situations of this nature very seriously, and we are shocked by this criminal act against our team member, D’Monterrio Gibson.”
“The safety of our team members is our top priority, and we remain focused on his wellbeing,” a company spokesperson said. “We will continue to support Mr. Gibson as we cooperate with investigating authorities.”
Moore announced Friday that FedEx had reinstated Gibson’s pay retroactive to Jan. 31.
Gibson acknowledged Thursday that he was reluctant to speak out about the incident until he was reminded of Arbery’s murder and similar fatal incidents involving Black people in recent years.
“I thought about all the people who ain’t here to speak” for themselves, he told reporters.
When asked about what he would ask to the Cases, the FedEx driver said he just wanted to know what was going through their heads last month. The Mississippi native said he had “never really experienced racism … not to this extent.” Now, he’s just thankful to be alive.
“I’m just looking at everything way different now,” he said. “You can just die doing your job.”
Hannah Knowles and David Nakamura contributed to this report.