Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Father offers Zimmerman's version

SANFORD — George Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman, has told a local TV station that his son had no choice but to kill Trayvon Martin or risk being beaten to death.

"Things were not going to go well. One of them was not going to walk away," he said. "I hope at one point everyone will go beyond the hate. At some point when all this settles, they'll say, 'George Zimmerman is a pretty nice guy.' ''

Robert Zimmerman, a retired Virginia magistrate, told the Orlando Fox affiliate that the family is in hiding.

He said his son was heading to Target the night he spotted Martin. He thought Martin, 17, looked suspicious because there had been a rash of break-ins and Martin was walking in a paved path behind two sets of townhouses.

George Zimmerman, 28, called police and started "walking in the same general direction to see where the individual was going" and get an address for police. At one point, the father said, Martin approached him saying, " 'Do you have an f-ing problem?' " George said no and reached for his cellphone.

Martin "punched him in the nose, his nose was broken, and he was knocked to the concrete," Robert Zimmerman said. "It's my understanding Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him in the face, in his nose, hitting his head on the concrete."

Robert Zimmerman said George tried — with Martin still on top of him — to move away from the concrete onto the grass. In doing so, the gun he kept in a holster on his waist was exposed.

"Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of 'you're going to die now' or you're gonna die tonight' — something to that effect," he said. "He continued to beat George. At some point, George pulled his pistol and did what he did."

He said his son had a broken nose and cuts on his scalp. He had not seen the Police Department surveillance video showing Zimmerman some time after the incident, in which he does not appear to have any injuries.

"He's not dealing with it well. I don't know if the injuries are physical or mental. He's not in good shape," Robert Zimmerman said.

Spike Lee apologizes, settles with couple

Elaine and David McClain have reached a settlement with Spike Lee after the pair said they had to leave their Sanford home when Lee helped spread a Twitter posting listing their address as that of George Zimmerman.

Their attorney, Matt Morgan, says Lee called to apologize for retweeting their address. Settlement details weren't disclosed.

Information from the Miami Herald and Associated Press was used in this report.

Father offers Zimmerman's version 03/29/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 29, 2012 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman


    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion


    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.