Robert Zimmerman Jr. is steadfast in his defense of his brother George, insisting that he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to death in self-defense only because the teenager attacked him and attempted to take his gun, putting Zimmerman in mortal danger. “That’s called ‘saving your life,’” Robert Zimmerman Jr. said.
He appeared Thursday on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight denying that Zimmerman pulled a gun from its holster and fired, instead saying that “he stopped someone from disarming him and shooting him, he didn’t pull out a gun and shoot him. George showed tremendous restraint.”
But according to an initial police report, Zimmerman told officers arriving at the scene of the Sanford, Fla., incident that he shot Trayvon Martin. Police reported that they found Trayvon lying face down on the ground and could not revive him. Zimmerman’s father, Robert Sr., told Orlando’s WOFL-TV in a silhouetted interview that the teen attacked his son, threatening to kill him. “At some point,” Robert Sr. said, “George pulled his pistol and did what he did.” His information was based on his own conversations with his son and others, he said.
Zimmerman has claimed that Trayvon pummeled him, broke his nose and smashed his head against the ground, causing severe injuries. But a police surveillance video obtained Wednesday by ABC News, showed Zimmerman handcuffed in police custody and apparently without any of the injuries that would be consistent with a life-or-death struggle. But his brother insists that he actually was hurt and was treated at the scene.
However, a unidentified man who claimed to see the shooting told CNN that he saw the two of them fighting on the grass, and heard one of them yell for help in the darkness, then a gunshot. He then saw one figure get up, a larger figure and a boy remained face down on the ground. He said the person who got up did not appear hurt. “As far as seeing any blood, or anything else, no.”
Zimmerman has not been charged with a crime in the case. Investigators initially did not believe his story and wanted to arrest him, but were overruled by the Seminole County state attorney’s office. The case has since been assigned to Special Prosecutor Angela Corey who will decide to either bring charges, not pursue them or let a grand jury convene on April 10.
Meanwhile, Corey has imposed a news blackout and will not be commenting further on the case, her office said. She cited that leaks about the case that have surfaced in recent days should never have come out. She is imposing the blackout, she said, “to protect the integrity of the case.”
Also, filmmaker Spike Lee settled with a Sanford couple after he mistakenly re-tweeted out their address, believing it was George Zimmerman’s. The couple left their home in fear of reprisals for the shooting. They received hate mail and a series of unwanted visits from reporters. The amount of the settlement was undisclosed.