Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

Warrant: Zimmerman had 5 guns, including AR-15, when arrested

SANFORD — George Zimmerman had five guns and more than 100 rounds of ammunition with him when deputies arrested him this month on domestic violence charges, according to court documents released Tuesday.

A search warrant made public by the Seminole County court clerk shows that Zimmerman had a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle and three handguns when he was arrested Nov. 18 at his girlfriend's house. The girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, told deputies that Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at her during an argument and also used it to smash her coffee table.

Zimmerman is free on $9,000 bail on charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief. He is not allowed to have guns as a condition of his bail. He has entered a written plea of not guilty.

Zimmerman, 30, was acquitted of murder in July in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in the community where Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer. The shooting sparked accusations that Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin, who was black and unarmed, and led to nationwide debates over self-defense laws.

The gun Zimmerman used to shoot Martin remains in federal custody because of an ongoing investigation and was not among those found when he was recently arrested.

Scheibe told deputies she asked Zimmerman during an argument to leave the house they were sharing. Scheibe said in an arrest report that he began packing his belongings, including some of the weapons, but became upset and took the shotgun out of the case.

According to the search warrant, Scheibe said she was going to call police. That's when Zimmerman pointed the shotgun at her and asked if "she really wanted to do that," the warrant says. Scheibe said Zimmerman pushed her out of the house while she was dialing 911 and locked the door, barricading it with furniture and other items.

The search warrant says Zimmerman told deputies a different version of events. He said that Scheibe and he had agreed to separate and that he was planning to move to Texas. But as he gathered his belongings, Zimmerman said Scheibe became upset and threw a handgun and the shotgun on the floor.

When deputies arrived, the weapons were locked in a soft-sided case with a combination lock, according to the warrant. In addition to the shotgun and AR-15 rifle, the warrant says Zimmerman had three handguns: a Glock 19, a Taurus 9mm and an Interarms .380-caliber.

The arrest in the domestic violence case was just the latest brush with the law for Zimmerman. He has been pulled over three times for traffic stops since his acquittal. He and his estranged wife, Shellie, were involved in a domestic dispute in September just days after she filed divorce papers, but police later said no charges were filed against either of them because of a lack of evidence.

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