“We wanted those charges to be upgraded. We want them actually prosecuted as well,” said Sharon McClendon, the mother of a 24-year-old FedEx deliveryman, D’Monterrio Gibson.
McClendon is still counting her lucky stars nearly a year after two white men nearly killed her son as he was delivering FedEx packages on Jan. 24.
As the case still churns through the criminal justice system, Gregory Charles Case and his son, Brandon Case’s charges were upgraded on Nov. 18 to attempted murder, conspiracy and shooting at a motor vehicle after a Lincoln County, Mississippi grand jury handed out the indictments. Gregory Case was charged in February with one count of conspiracy assault, and Brandon Case was charged with one count of aggravated assault.
“I definitely think they’ve been getting way too many slaps on the wrist already; it’s been an extremely long process already for the charges to get upgraded since March or April,” Gibson said. “These dudes literally chased me throughout the city after they shot at me. If that wasn’t attempted murder, I don’t know what is,” he continued.
The Jackson, Mississippi, resident says he is still wrestling with the thought he came close to dying at the hands of the Cases while doing his job. He believes he was targeted because he was Black.
“I definitely believe it was race-related, I had an entire FedEx uniform on, why would I look suspicious to them,” Gibson said.
On the night of the incident, around 7 p.m., Gibson had just delivered a parcel at a home in the Brookhaven, Mississippi neighborhood, as he returned to his delivery truck, marked in Hertz branding, to drive away, he sees a white pickup truck driven by Gregory Case approached his delivery truck.
Gibson grew suspicious and tried to drive away and out of the neighborhood, but that is when he saw Brandon Case standing in the middle of the street with a gun pointed toward him, telling him to stop, but as Gibson continued driving, Brandon Case fired several gunshots into the delivery truck.
“I was acting completely off instinct, I had no awareness of what was going on, my body started moving by itself,” Gibson.
Gibson says he did not realize the gravity of the situation until the following day.
“Maybe a day or two later when they tried to put me back on that route, I was like, I couldn’t do it because I started feeling overwhelmed with it. Almost like a panic or anxiety attack, that’s when it started hitting me, but I do think about it on a daily basis now,” Gibson described of the lasting effects the attack has on him.
Although the 24-year-old is still employed by FedEx, he says the company was not much help during his time of crisis.
“The only time they started taking me serious about it once we started getting all types of media coverage and doing interviews with news stations. Originally, they put me back on the same route the following day,” Gibson said of his employer’s reaction to the shooting incident. “They offered me two weeks off without pay, which I felt like was unfair because I didn’t ask to be put in that situation, it’s just something that kind of happened, and I feel they should definitely support me,” he continued.
McClendon says she often thinks about her son’s situation and him being able to walk away alive, an outcome not all Black men have been afforded when confronted by white men with the intent to cause harm.
“I still think about what would have happened had he not made it out, that runs through my mind every day, all day,” said McClendon said of her son’s near-fatal encounter with the Cases. “I think about Ahmaud, he didn’t make it, but D’Monterrio did,” she added.
Like with the case of the father-son duo who killed their neighbor Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020, McClendon hopes for a federal investigation into Gibson’s case and hate crime charges against Gregory and Brandon Case.
Gibson’s attorney, Carlos Moore, says the upgraded attempted murder charges are a step in the right direction but he remains wary.
“I am cautiously optimistic, we are pleased the indictments have finally been given for attempted murder. Originally when this came out, even Stevie Wonder could see this was attempted murder,” Moore said.
“Mississippi allows penalty enhancements for crimes motivated by race so if the Cases are convicted of attempted murder and the other crimes for which they have been indicted, the family will request the state to seek penalty enhancements at sentencing,” Moore added regarding state-level hate crime charges.
Gibson and his family plan to keep the pressure on authorities until Gregory and Brandon Case, who have since bonded out of jail are behind bars with a lengthy prison term.
“As soon as these holidays are over, we’re back out there protesting again, we are going to protest again for this conviction,” McClendon said of her son’s ongoing case and fight for justice. The family has held protests filled with local activists and residents holding signs that call for justice in the weeks following the incident in downtown Brookhaven’s Bi-Centennial Park.