SANFORD, Fla. » The fatal shooting of a black teenager by a neighborhood watch captain who then went free has led to nationwide protests calling for the shooter’s arrest. Trayvon Martin’s parents, civil rights leaders and social media users alike are portraying the case as racially motivated, saying the shooter would have been arrested had he been black and the victim white.
The shooter, George Zimmerman, told police he acted in self-defense after Martin pursued and attacked him.
The case has raised a multitude of questions, some of which remain unanswered. Here are some of the facts of the case that have been established.
What happened » Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed Feb. 26 during a confrontation with George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community of townhomes in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman was patrolling the neighborhood when he spotted Martin, who was unarmed and walking to the home of his father’s fiancee. He was returning from a trip to the convenience store with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. It was raining, and Martin was walking with the hood of his sweat shirt pulled over his head. He talked to his girlfriend on a cellphone moments before the shooting.
What is George Zimmerman’s side of the story? » George Zimmerman has not spoken publicly. He told police that he spotted Martin as he was patrolling his neighborhood and called 911 to report a suspicious person.
"This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something," Zimmerman told the dispatcher from his sport utility vehicle. He added that the teen had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes.
"These a-------. They always get away," Zimmerman said on a 911 call.
A neighbor said there had been several break-ins in the community in the past year, including one in which burglars took a TV and laptops.
A dispatcher told Zimmerman to stay in his sport utility vehicle and that an officer would be there momentarily. Zimmerman, for unknown reasons, got out.
Zimmerman told police he lost sight of the teenager and was walking back to his sport utility vehicle when he was attacked. He and Martin fought, according to witnesses. Zimmerman said Martin punched him in the nose and slammed his head against the ground.
At some point, Zimmerman pulled a gun and shot Martin. Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense.
Police said Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head. He told police he had yelled out for help before he shot Martin.
He has not been arrested or charged.
What is Martin’s family’s side of the story? » Much of Martin’s side of the story comes from a cellphone conversation he had with his girlfriend moments before the shooting. She was interviewed by the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, and he released much of what she said to the news media. She has not been identified.
In the interview, she said Trayvon Martin told her that he was being followed.
"She says: ‘Run.’ He says, ‘I’m not going to run, I’m just going to walk fast,’" Crump said, quoting the girl.
The girl later heard Martin say, "Why are you following me?" Another man asked, "What are you doing around here?" Crump said.
After Martin encountered Zimmerman, the girl thinks she heard a scuffle "because his voice changes like something interrupted his speech," Crump said. The phone call ended before the girl heard any gunshots.Next Page >
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