Perez said McMichael returned moments later with his father, Gregory, but it was not clear if they saw the young man again that night.
The next time Perez saw him was the day of the shooting, after he had already been shot and was lying on the pavement near his home, Perez said.
The McMichaels, who were charged with murder shortly after a video of the killing surfaced online last week, claim they were chasing a burglary suspect when they fatally shot Arbery.
The fatal encounter happened minutes after a man believed to be Arbery was seen on surveillance camera wandering around that same construction site. The man appeared to be on the property for about three minutes, but he was not seen touching or stealing anything.
“I don’t want it to be put out and misused and misinterpreted for people to think that I had accused Mr. Arbery of stealing or robbery, because I never did,” the property owner told CNN on Tuesday.
Lawyers for Arbery’s family said the footage “is consistent with the evidence already known” to them. And the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case last week, said the video was reviewed before arrests were made.