The handgun that killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, was fired once — not twice — by a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer, according to new information obtained by The Orlando Sentinel.
SANFORD, Fla. — The handgun that killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, was fired once — not twice — by a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer, according to new information obtained by The Orlando Sentinel.
Police found a single shell casing at the scene, and when they seized George Zimmerman’s handgun, a Kel Tel 9 mm, its magazine was full, according to a source close to the investigation. The only bullet missing was the one in the chamber, the source said.
That contradicts the graphic interpretation that lawyers for the victim’s family made Friday night after listening to 911 calls from neighbors who heard or saw a fight between Zimmerman and Trayvon.
Lawyers Natalie Jackson and Benjamin Crump insisted then that they could hear two shots on one 911 call, a warning shot and a kill shot, and that that proved Zimmerman was a murderer.
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“You hear a shot, a clear shot then you hear a 17-year-old boy begging for his life then you hear a second shot,” Jackson said.
Those statements fueled a great deal of anger and frustration among those following the case in cyberspace. The Twitterverse exploded with news that two shots were fired.
Jackson and Crump were not available for comment Monday evening. But their Friday night statements about the two loud bangs on the recording run counter to other evidence. Three witnesses who have made public statements described a single shot.
Earlier Monday, in a scene reminiscent of a 1960s civil-rights rally, college students gathered outside the Seminole County criminal courthouse, sang “We Shall Overcome” and demanded Zimmerman’s immediate arrest.
“This is not acceptable,” said Jason Reed, 25, a Florida A&M University (FAMU) student. “There was a time when this was acceptable. That time is not now.”
An estimated 75 protesters gathered near the building’s front door, chanting, “We want justice now!”
They demanded and got a meeting with Pat Whitaker, chief of operations at the Sanford State Attorney’s Office and the person now in charge of Trayvon’s case, along with his boss, Norm Wolfinger.
For an hour, Whitaker sat with four protest leaders, including Shelton Marshall, a student at FAMU’s college of law.
Marshall emerged saying, “Are we satisfied? No. We appreciate the gesture.”
Zimmerman has not been arrested and that has set off a firestorm of public outrage.
Whitaker said the investigation would take weeks and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is working with his office to determine whether Zimmerman’s self-defense claim is viable.
That, though, was not good enough for Ese Ighedosa, one of the students who talked to Whitaker. He and Sanford police, she said, appear to be defending rather than prosecuting the killer.
“It seems all the people are on Trayvon’s side,” she said. “The government is on Zimmerman’s side.”
Trayvon was shot about 7:15 p.m. Feb. 26 while walking through a Sanford gated community, returning from a 7-Eleven, where he’d bought Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea.
Sanford police say they cannot arrest Zimmerman because he claims self-defense and evidence backs that up, including witness accounts and what officers saw when they arrived: Zimmerman with a bloody nose.
Zimmerman had called police to report a suspicious person — Trayvon. Zimmerman then stepped out of his SUV, while still on the phone with police, and followed the teenager on foot. The two somehow came face to face on a sidewalk; there was a fight, and Trayvon wound up dead, a single gunshot to the chest.
When police arrived, they found Zimmerman standing nearby, blood coming from his nose and the back of his head, a police report states. The back of his shirt also was wet and had grass on it.
A neighbor called 911 before the shooting and described the fight as two people wrestling. A 13-year-old boy said he saw Zimmerman on the ground and heard someone calling for help.
Zimmerman told police the cries came from him. Lawyers for Trayvon’s family say it was the Miami high school junior.
Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, appeared Monday on NBC’s “Today” show and said her son was mild mannered, never got agitated and was followed by Zimmerman because of “the color of his skin.”
“I just don’t understand why the situation got out of control,” she said.
Sanford officials had hoped to sit down Tuesday with an official of the U.S. Department of Justice, an agency with a civil-rights division and a record of taking on race-charged criminal cases.
City officials hope that will quiet what has grown into a cause celebre. On Thursday, activist Al Sharpton is to appear at Sanford’s First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for a rally.