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Wilson Describes Confrontation With Brown In ABC Interview

Adding his voice to the mounds of grand jury evidence released Monday night by St. Louis County, Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who killed Michael Brown, told his side of the story in an interview Tuesday.

Wilson told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he has "a clean conscience" about the shooting; he also said he's sorry for the loss of life. The shooting led to both violent protests and serious conversations about race and law enforcement.

Wilson says he wouldn't have done anything differently, and that the way the incident played out had nothing to do with Brown's race.

The interview adds personal perspective to the grand jury documents the Two-Way has divided into categories of witness testimony, Wilson's testimony, and physical evidence.

Wilson says that after he had begun speaking to Brown, the 18-year-old shoved his door shut as the officer tried to get out. Wilson says they struggled, and that Brown threw the first punch. He says he also realized that Brown was "a very powerful man."

As we reported earlier, "Wilson is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 210 pounds. Brown was an inch taller and weighed about 290 pounds."

Wilson says that after Brown landed a solid punch to his head, his thoughts turned to "How do I survive?"

"I didn't know if I'd be able to withstand another hit like that," he tells Stephanopoulos.

You can watch the segment at the ABC News site; we've transcribed more of Wilson's portion, below:

'Get back or I'm going to shoot'

"I take it out, and I come up, I point it at him. And what I said is, I say, 'Get back or I'm going to shoot you.'

"And then his response – immediately, he grabbed the top of my gun. And when he grabbed it, he said, 'You're too much of a ***** to shoot me.'

"And while he's doing that, I can feel his hand trying to come over my hand and get inside the trigger guard, and try and shoot me with my own gun. And that's when I pull the trigger for the first time...

"It didn't go off.

"The gun was actually being jammed by his hand on top of the firearm. So I tried again — and again another click.

"And this time I'm like, this has, this has to work or otherwise I'm, you know, I'm going to be dead. He's going to get this gun away from me, something's going to happen and I'm going to be dead. So I pull a third time, and it finally goes off."

'Can I shoot this guy?'

Wilson then explains why he chased Michael Brown, and says Brown then turned around and began to charge at him.

"At that time I gave myself another mental check: Can I shoot this guy? You know, legally, can I?

"And the question I answered myself was, I have to. If I don't, he will kill me if he gets to me."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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