Apopka, Fla. • George Zimmerman was charged Monday with assault after deputies were called to the home where he lived with his girlfriend, who claimed he pointed a shotgun at her during an argument, authorities said.
Zimmerman pushed the woman out of the house and barricaded the door with furniture, Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma said at a news conference hours after the arrest. The girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, provided deputies with a key to the home and they were able to push the door that had been barricaded.
"She was very concerned for her own safety especially having the weapon pointed at her and then being pushed out," Lemma said.
Lemma says Zimmerman was compliant and unarmed when deputies came to the house.
"The easiest way to describe it is rather passive. He’s had the opportunity to encounter this in the past," he said.
Zimmerman was charged with domestic aggravated assault with a weapon, domestic battery and criminal mischief. His first appearance was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. He will be housed in a single-person cell and guards will check on him hourly, Lemma added.
"Just when you thought you heard the last of George Zimmerman," said neighbor Catherine Cantrell. She said she had twice seen a man who looked like Zimmerman get out of a truck that’s been in the driveway for nearly a month. The truck parked there Monday appeared to be the same one that reporters have seen Zimmerman drive previously.
"I’m in absolute shock. He was never outside. It’s not like he was out flaunting around," she said.
Cantrell said Scheibe was very sweet and quiet.
Sarah Tyler, 26, also lives across the street from the tan stucco house on a cul-de-sac street of single family homes in Apopka, about 15 miles northwest of Orlando.
"It’s kind of frightening," she said.
Zimmerman, 30, was acquitted in July of all charges in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The death of the black teenager, who was unarmed, touched off a nationwide debate about race and self-defense. Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, has said he shot the 17-year-old to defend himself during a fight in February 2012 inside a gated community in Sanford, just outside Orlando.
He wasn’t charged until 44 days after the shooting, leading to protests nationwide from people who believed he should have been immediately arrested. The case sparked accusations that Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin, and demonstrations broke out again after his acquittal. Federal authorities are now reviewing the case the see if Martin’s civil rights were violated.
Zimmerman has had other brushes with the law since his acquittal.
Zimmerman and his estranged wife were involved in a domestic dispute in September just days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers, but police later said no charges were filed against either of them because of a lack of evidence.
Zimmerman has also been pulled over three times for traffic stops since his acquittal. He was ticketed for doing 60 mph in a 45 mph zone in Lake Mary in September and was given a warning by a state trooper along Interstate 95 for having a tag cover and windows that were too darkly tinted. He was also stopped near Dallas in July and was given a warning for speeding.
In 2005, Zimmerman had to take anger management courses after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was trying to arrest Zimmerman’s friend.
Later that year, Zimmerman’s former fiancee filed for a restraining order against him, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman responded by requesting a restraining order against her. Both requests were granted. No criminal charges were filed.
Associated Press writer Suzette Laboy in Miami contributed to this report.
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