In his first interview since the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was unrepentant, telling ABC News that his conscience was clean "because I did my job right."
Speaking to ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Wilson gave his version of what transpired after he ordered the 18-year-old to stop walking in the middle of the street.
As Wilson tried to exit the patrol car, he said Brown slammed the car door back shut and a scuffle ensued between the two. Both men are more than 6 feet tall, but Wilson said he felt like "a 5-year-old grabbing onto Hulk Hogan."
Once outside the patrol car, a struggle for the officer's gun quickly broke out, with Brown's hand initially preventing the weapon from discharging, Wilson said. As Brown ran away, Wilson gave chase, setting the stage for what would become a deadly confrontation.
With one hand in his waistband and the other clenched into a fist, Wilson said the teenager charged, and kept doing so despite the officer firing multiple rounds.
"Once he's going in that direction and he hasn't stopped, what's going to stop him?" Wilson said.
With Brown just 8 to 10 feet away, Wilson said he looked down the barrel of his gun and opened fire.
"I saw his head and fired my gun and that's where it went," Wilson said.
Pressed by Stephanopoulos on whether Brown at any time raised both of his hands in a show of surrender – a gesture that thousands of protestors have repeated during demonstrations in past weeks – Wilson was adamant that it never happened.
"That would be incorrect," Wilson said.
And if Brown had been white, would the outcome not have been different?
"No way," Wilson said.
"No way?" Stephanopoulos pressed.
Fearing for his and his family's safety, Wilson, 28, has been in hiding since the fatal shooting.
He gave the interview at an undisclosed location after Monday night's announcement that a St. Louis County grand jury would not indict Wilson.
The decision set off a violent reaction that spiraled out of control overnight Monday as protesters torched cars and businesses, many of which were also looted. More than 80 people were arrested, authorities said.
The segment aired on World News Tonight With David Muir, and additional segments were scheduled to be broadcast on Good Morning America and Nightline.
Asked whether the young officer would be haunted by the killing, Wilson dismissed Stephanopoulos, saying he would not have done anything differently that day.
"I don't think it's haunting, it's always just going to be something that happened," Wilson said.
He continued: "The reason I have a clean conscience is because I did my job right."
The interview came as night fell on Ferguson and residents girded themselves for the possibility of another wave of violence.
Local clergy and officials again appealed for calm as Gov. Jay Nixon ordered more National Guard troops into the area.
For the man at the center of the firestorm, and his wife, there were no lofty hopes or dreams, just desire for a return to normalcy.
"We just want to have a normal life," he told Stephanopoulos. "That's it."
Watch the complete interview from World News Tonight:
Jason Wells is deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jason Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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