The police officer opened up to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos
Credit: Kevin Lowder/ABC

A day after a grand jury decided not to indict him, Darren Wilson spoke out for the first time about why he shot Michael Brown.

“He had grabbed my gun and he had charged me,” Wilson, 28, told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s World News on Tuesday night. “And he was going to kill me.”

The Ferguson, Missouri, police officer had kept out of the public eye ever since he killed 18-year-old Brown during an altercation Aug. 9.

The incident lead to looting and riots in the city and sparked protests throughout the country. Critics called the slaying an act of racial prejudice, but Wilson says he acted in self-defense.

In his first TV interview, he outlined his version of the tragic events, saying he saw Brown – who had recently robbed a convenience store – walking down the middle of the street and pulled up to him in his police car, asking him to come to the side of the road.

“That’s when he said, ‘What the f— are you going to do about it?’ and slammed my door shut on me,” Brown told Stephanopoulos.

He said Brown began punching him from outside the vehicle: “I just felt the immense power he had. The way I’ve described it, it was like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan. That’s just how big this man was.”

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to withstand another hit like that,” he continued. “I said, Get back or I’m going to shoot you,’ and his response, immediately, he grabbed the top of my gun. And when he grabbed it he said, ‘You’re too much of a p—- 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 to shoot me with my own gun, and that’s when I pulled the trigger for the first time.”

After two misfires, he shot Brown, who initially ran but then came towards him. It was the first time Wilson had ever used his gun.

Pressed by Stephanopoulos, the cop maintained he could not have done anything differently – and that he would have reacted the same way had Brown been white. But will the memory of that night haunt him?

“I don’t think it’s haunting,” Wilson said. “It’s always going to be something that happened.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Brown’s family are asking for peace as people protest.

“Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction,” Brown’s parents said in a statement. “Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.”

By Tuesday, more than 12 local businesses had been set on fire, 14 people were injured and 61 arrested during the Ferguson demonstrations, according to the Associated Press. More than 2,200 National Guardsmen have been deployed near the St. Louis suburb as authorities anticipate more damage.

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