- Associated Press - Monday, August 18, 2014

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - A look at the key figures in the case of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Aug. 9 - a death that has stoked days of violent unrest north of St. Louis.

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MICHAEL BROWN

Michael Brown graduated from Normandy High School this spring and was preparing to attend Vatterott College, where he planned to study to become a heating and air conditioning technician. Friends say he eventually wanted to go into business for himself.

Relatives and friends described Brown, who grew up in a tough neighborhood, as a quiet, gentle giant who stood around 6-foot-3 and weighed nearly 300 pounds.

Police said Brown was a suspect in the “strong-arm” robbery of a convenience store moments before he was killed. A family attorney said Brown may have made mistakes, but didn’t deserve to be shot. Others doubted Brown’s involvement in the crime.

“He was just looking forward to getting on with his life,” said his grandmother, Desuirea Harris. “He was on his way.”

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OFFICER DARREN WILSON

Some of the descriptions of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson are eerily similar to descriptions of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old Wilson shot to death on Aug. 9. Both men have been described as gentle and quiet. Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Wilson had no previous complaints against him and a strong record in the career he began six years ago.

“He’s devastated,” the chief said after naming Wilson as the shooter on Friday. “He never intended for this to happen. He is, and has been, an excellent police officer.”

Wilson began his career in nearby Jennings. He moved to the Ferguson job four years ago. Since the shooting, his whereabouts are unclear. Neighbors who live near his tidy brick home in another area of suburban St. Louis say they haven’t seen him for several days.

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FERGUSON POLICE CHIEF THOMAS JACKSON

Thomas Jackson was a police veteran long before he came to Ferguson. He spent more than 30 years with the St. Louis County Police Department, at one point serving as commander of the Drug Task Force. Before that he was a SWAT team supervisor, undercover detective and hostage negotiator.

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