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Witness records aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting

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Witness runs out of his Ferguson, Mo., apartment to film the aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting

Kevin Seltzer sat on the carpet in his Ferguson apartment on Friday replaying videos of what he witnessed after his friend Michael Brown was shot.

Seltzer, 30, lives at the Canfield Green apartments. He had seen Brown briefly before the 18-year-old left for a quick trip to the neighborhood mini-mart.

“I had just walked inside when I heard the shots,” said Seltzer, who is African American, lanky and tattooed.

He rushed to a window with his iPad, then a balcony to record the scene.

As a video played, two white workers could be seen standing by a truck outside the apartments, gazing toward Brown’s body in the street, saying, “He had his hands up.”

Seltzer filmed as police strung yellow tape and an ambulance arrived.

In one video, he can be heard saying, “I want to go over there, but I don’t want to disrespect the dead.”

Seltzer eventually approached the police cordon around Brown’s body, by then draped with a white sheet.

Ferguson and St. Louis County police can be seen in his later videos. Seltzer said Ferguson police tried to stop him from filming, saying, “You better get back, or you could be next.” He said one officer had his hand on his gun.

In one video, an African American woman Seltzer did not know who witnessed the shooting can be heard describing what she saw.

She said the officer pulled up to Brown in his car and shot at him from the window, then "he stood over him and dumped on him," shooting him again.

Seltzer, who is unemployed, had moved to the apartment complex from the south side of St. Louis with his girlfriend at her urging, looking for quiet. He said two of his neighbors who witnessed the shooting had since broken their leases and left.

He shared his videos with several news outlets, and he hopes people who see them understand that Brown did not pose a threat to police.

“I just want them to see the truth. He wasn’t doing anything. That could have been me,” he said.

He was still trying to track down other eyewitnesses late Friday to tell their stories.

At least one of his neighbors said she had also rushed to film the shooting scene.

Terri Williams, 25, a recording engineering student and stay-at-home mother of five, had been on her way to the store when she heard gunshots and backtracked. By the time she returned, Brown lay in the street, she said, two officers standing over his body, one with gun drawn.

The image has haunted her.

On Friday, she and her family joined the Rev. Jesse Jackson as he led a procession of dozens to their complex from the looted Quik-Trip gas station that has become a rallying point for protesters.

They marched in the rain to a small shrine erected in the middle of Canfield Road where Brown was shot.

There the crowd observed a moment of silence.  Jackson prayed and posed for photographs with Williams’ children — including 1-year-old Jesse.

The family had fashioned construction paper hearts and taped them to their chests, each scrawled with a crayon message: “No justice, no peace.”

As the street emptied, Williams’ children played around her on the apartment steps. She stared at the shrine’s melted candles and waterlogged signs.

She was thinking about Brown again, twisting her long braids.

“That was somebody’s child,” she said. “That baby, laying in that street."

She pointed, remembering something else: “His mama trying to get over there to identify her baby.”

Williams had watched the police hold the older woman back. She thought of her own young sons.

“He laid there bleeding out,” Williams said. “And I remember watching the blood just dripping.”

She grew quiet.

During the last week, Williams has been trapped at home by riot police, pepper-sprayed, her husband tear-gassed. But this is what will stay with her - the image of Brown’s bloody body in the street in front of her apartment.

“I haven’t been to sleep in four days,” she said.

Follow @mollyhf for national news.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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