Dorian Johnson's account
According to Michael Brown's friend, Dorian Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time, the police officer pulled up beside them and said, "Get the fuck on the sidewalk." Johnson said the young men replied that they were "not but a minute away from [their] destination, and [they] would shortly be out of the street."
Without saying anything further, Johnson states that the officer drove forward, only to abruptly back up, positioning his vehicle crossways in their path, almost hitting the two men. Said Johnson, "We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike's body and closed back on the officer."
At that point, the officer, still in his car, grabbed Brown through the open window around the neck. Brown tried to pull away, but the officer continued to pull Brown toward him.
According to Johnson, Brown "did not reach for the officer's weapon at all," insisting that Brown was attempting to get free of the officer rather than attempting to attack him or take his weapon from him.
At that point, according to Johnson, the officer drew his weapon, and "he said, 'I'll shoot you' or 'I'm going to shoot,'" and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown.
Following the initial gunshot, Johnson said that Brown was able to free himself, at which point the two fled for their lives. The officer exited the vehicle, after which he fired a second shot, striking Brown in the back. At that point, according to Johnson, Brown turned around with his hands in the air and said, "I don't have a gun. Stop shooting!" The officer then shot Brown several more times, killing him.
Piaget Crenshaw's account
Another witness, Piaget Crenshaw, said that from her vantage point, it appeared that the police officer and Brown were arm wrestling before the officer initially shot Brown from within his vehicle. The officer then chased Brown for about 20 feet before shooting him again. According to Crenshaw, when Brown then raised his arms in compliance, the officer shot him two more times killing him.
In a news conference on August 10, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar stated, "The genesis of this [shooting incident] was a physical confrontation" during which Brown "physically assaulted the police officer." According to Belmar, the officer attempted to exit his vehicle but was pushed back into the car by Brown, who then assaulted the officer inside the car. Brown then allegedly attempted to seize the officer's gun, which was fired at least once during the struggle. Belmar acknowledged that "more than a couple" of shots were fired in the course of the encounter.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson later stated that the officer who shot Brown was injured in the incident. The Ferguson City Police Department had declined to identify the officer involved in the shooting, who had been placed on administrative leave, but released Officer Wilson's name on August 15, 2014. Dashboard cameras are not used in Ferguson police cars.
Tiffany Mitchell's account
Witness Tiffany Mitchell, in an interview with St. Louis television news station KMOV, said she arrived in the area near the beginning of the altercation. She stated that she was watching as the first gun shot was fired while the police officer, but not Brown, was still in the vehicle, at which point she retrieved her cell phone in order to film the unfolding event.
As Mitchell described events, "After the shot, the kid just breaks away. The cop follows him, kept shooting, the kid's body jerked as if he was hit. After his body jerked he turns around, puts his hands up, and the cop continues to walk up on him and continues to shoot until he goes all the way down."