George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, is apologetic that the incident has caused a divide in America and said he wished there was something he could have done to not fatally wound the 17-year old.
Zimmerman spoke for the first time since the incident on Wednesday to Fox News' Sean Hannity. Zimmerman was present with his attorney, Mark O'Mara. many have accused Zimmerman of racial profiling -- Martin was black, while Zimmerman is the son of a white father and Latino mother -- and the case has also shed a light on controversial gun laws in Florida.
I do wish that there was something - anything - I could have done that wouldn't have put me in a position where I had to take his life, Zimmerman told Hannity. I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America, that I am sorry that this happened. I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions, it's polarized and divided America and I am truly sorry.
Martin was shot and killed in Sanford on Feb. 26. Zimmerman, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the incident, has maintained his innocence and said he was acting in self-defense under the Stand Your Ground law, a law he said he had never heard of prior to the killing.
The Stand Your Ground law allows Florida residents to not back down from anyone who they reasonably fear is going to cause them bodily harm or death.
Martin Looked 'Suspicious'
Zimmerman said he feared for his life the night he got into a confrontation with Martin. He called Martin's death a tragic situation but told the host that the neighborhood has geographic advantages for burglaries and that Martin looked suspicious.
I felt he was suspicious because it was raining, Zimmerman said. He was in between housing, cutting in between houses. He was walking very leisurely for the weather. It didn't look like he was a resident that went to check their mail and got caught in the rain and was hurrying back home. He didn't look like a fitness fanatic that was training in the rain.
Zimmerman recounted a home invasion incident in August last year where a woman's house was broken into and the thieves escaped through his backyard. His wife, Shellie, who was alone at home at time, saw the burglars with the womans' belongings and was scared by the incident. It was then Zimmerman promised to keep her safe.
He carried a gun at all times, except when he was going to work.
Zimmerman also told Hannity that he wasn't in pursuit of Martin when the altercation took place. Zimmerman said he was merely going in the same direction to keep an eye on Martin to tell the police where the teen was headed.
Zimmerman also claimed that he had not ventured far from his vehicle when Martin punched him and broke his nose as he tried to place a 911 call.
He was already arm's length from me, Zimmerman said. I didn't remember if I went immediately to the ground or he pushed me to the ground, but I ended up on the ground.
Martin then allegedly began bashing Zimmerman's head on the concrete pavement. Police have released photographs showing Zimmerman with a wound and blood on the back of his head.
As soon as he broke my nose I started yelling for help 'cause I was disoriented, Zimmerman said. He continued to punch me in the head several [times], more than a dozen.
In hindsight, when he was slamming my head into the concrete and I thought I would lose consciousness, I didn't know what would happen at that point, Zimmerman told Hannity. Martin was cursing and telling me to shut up and then finally telling me he was going to kill me.
When Martin First Saw The Gun
Zimmerman alleged that Martin first saw his gun while they tussled on the ground and his jacket shifted to reveal it.
After he couldn't hit my head on the concrete any more he started to try to suffocate me, Zimmerman said. I continued to push his hands off my mouth and my nose, particularly because it was excruciating having a broken nose and him putting his weight on it.
Zimmerman said he believed the police were close but couldn't find him and so he began yelling in hopes that heard him.
[Martin] said 'You're going to die tonight, motherf--ker' and took one had off my mouth and I felt it going down my chest toward my belt, my holster, and that's when I didn't have any more time... It just happened so quickly. I didn't think I hit him, yes.
Zimmerman learned Martin was shot when the teen got up and said either You got it or you got me. At that time, the neighborhood watchman assumed Martin meant he wasn't going to put up a fight anymore so he got up from underneath the teen.
An hour after arriving at the police station, Zimmerman said he learned Martin died.
Still, Zimmerman said he does not regret following Martin and bringing a gun that night.
I feel that it was all God's plan and for me to second-guess it or judge it [shakes his head].
Zimmerman said there isn't anything he would have done differently, but he wrestled with the idea that there must have been a misunderstanding between them both.
Apology to Martin's Family
Zimmerman apologized to Martin's parents for killing their son.
I am sorry that they buried their child, he said. I can't imagine what it must feel like and I pray for them daily. I am certainly hoping to [talk to them some time.]
Though the case has been riddled with new developments and accusations - even with a bounty placed on his head - Zimmerman said he has confidence in the justice system.
At the request of his attorney, Zimmerman didn't speak about the first bond issue, when he and his wife were accused of hiding their finances from the court, causing him to go to jail a second time and landing her in trouble with the court.
I have no choice but to believe still in the system, Zimmerman told Hannity.
Watch Zimmerman's apology below: