A Black FedEx driver in Mississippi says he was making deliveries late last month when he was chased by a pair of white men, one of whom fired multiple bullets into his vehicle as he tried to escape them.
D’Monterrio Gibson, 24, said he believes the men pursued him because he is Black and because they thought he didn’t belong in their neighborhood. Now he’s asking the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation to take the case from local police and for the men to face federal hate crime charges.
The incident has drawn comparisons to the encounter between Ahmaud Arbery, who was Black, and three white residents who chased him through a south Georgia neighborhood in a pair of pickup trucks for five minutes in February 2020.
Arbery, who had been jogging, was blocked between the trucks and ended up in a confrontation with one of the men, who shot and killed him.
Gibson said Thursday that, like Arbery, he was chased by a father and son, who he and his attorney believe have received preferential treatment from police.
Gibson, who lives in Utica, about 50 miles from Brookhaven, where the encounter occurred, said the incident has left him traumatized.
He said he dropped off a package on a street called Junior Trail at about 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 while wearing his FedEx uniform. He said he was not in a FedEx truck but in a Hertz van with the rental company’s markings on the sides.
After the drop-off, a man in a white pickup truck began following him closely while honking his horn, Gibson said. He drove past a couple of houses and encountered a man standing in the middle of the road with a gun pointed at him, he said. The man was mouthing the word “stop,” Gibson said.
Gibson said he swerved to get around the man, who started shooting toward the rear of the Hertz vehicle. He said he called his manager, who told him to return to the FedEx station. The pickup truck chased him all the way to an interstate, he said.
He eventually was able to get away from the pickup truck and called police to report what happened. He said a dispatcher interrupted him and asked whether he had been on Junior Trail.
“I said, ‘Yes,'” Gibson said. “He was like, ‘Well, I just got a call of a suspicious person at this address.'”
He told the dispatcher he was not a “suspicious person” and that he was just doing his job and had been shot at, he said. The dispatcher told him that had not been relayed by the person who reported seeing a suspicious person in the neighborhood.
Gibson said the dispatcher told him to go to the police department the next day to file a report.
When Gibson got back to the FedEx station, he said, one of his superiors inspected the van and found multiple bullet holes in the rear of the vehicle and on packages.
Gibson’s narrative was corroborated by the police report.
He went to the Brookhaven Police Department the next day with one of his managers to file a police report, a copy of which he provided to NBC News. The police report quotes a woman identified as Gibson’s boss, who told police that the van had at least two bullet holes — one in the back door and one in the bumper — and that three packages inside had bullet holes in them. She also had a photo of a bullet lying on the floor bed, according to the police report.
Gibson’s attorney, Carlos Moore, said the suspects, Brandon Case, 35, and his father, Gregory Case, 58, turned themselves in on Feb. 1, which the Mississippi Free Press first reported.
Gregory Case was arrested on investigation of conspiracy and Brandon Case on suspicion of aggravated assault, and they posted bail the next day on $75,000 and $150,000 bonds, respectively, the Lincoln County Jail told the Mississippi Free Press.
Brandon Case did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment Thursday. Numbers listed for Gregory Case were no longer in service.
The Lincoln County Jail would not confirm that the men had been released or what charges they faced. The Brookhaven Police Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation did not reply to phone and email requests for comment.
The population of Brookhaven is 60 percent Black or African American and 37 percent white, according to the most recent census data.
Gibson and his attorney said they believe the charges are too lenient.
“We are not satisfied with the charges at all,” Moore said. “We believe they should be upgraded to attempted murder.”
He said they were disappointed that Brandon and Gregory Case were allowed to wait almost a week before they turned themselves in.
“Had the roles been reversed and Mr. Gibson had been accused of shooting at them, he would’ve been arrested that same night, charged with attempted murder and put in jail and not allowed to bond out so easily,” Moore said.
“We just want to have a fair criminal justice system in Mississippi, and we want them fully prosecuted,” he continued. “Not only on the state level for the attempted murder, but also we want the feds to come in and look at prosecuting them for hate crimes similar to what was done in the Ahmaud Arbery case.”
Moore compared Gregory and Brandon Case to Gregory and Travis McMichael, the father and son who armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after they spotted him running in their neighborhood. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the pursuit in a separate pickup and recorded the encounter with his cellphone.
The men were not charged until months later, after the video leaked and stirred widespread outrage. They were convicted of murder and other counts in state court in November and later sentenced to life in prison. The three men were also charged with federal hate crimes. That trial began Monday.
“They’re a copycat father-son duo,” Moore said.
Gibson said it is not lost on him that he could have died.
“Some of the packages that got hit were, like, actually right behind me,” he said. “By the grace of God, I actually survived that shooting.”