Trayvon Martin stepped outside his father's house for the last time on Feb. 26. The 17-year-old high school junior lived with his mother in Miami, but was visiting his father, who lived in a gated community in an Orlando, Fla. suburb. They were watching the NBA All-Star Game and it was half-time. Trayvon walked down the street to a local convenient store, where he bought a can of iced tea and a packet of Skittles. On his way back home he noticed an older man in his late twenties was following him in a car.
What's your problem? Trayvon asked.
Moments later he was lying on his back in a patch of grass, a single gunshot wound to his chest. The bullet had been fired from the man's 9mm handgun.
That man was George Zimmerman, a 26-year-old college student who studied criminal justice and was head of the neighborhood watch at The Retreat at Twin Lakes townhome community in the City of Sanford. He was licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
Zimmerman had placed a 9-1-1 call earlier to report a suspicious person in the area. Police told Zimmerman that they were sending over a squad car and advised him not to follow.
[Trayvon] was stereotyped for some reason, said attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the victim's family, reported the Huffington Post. Why was Trayvon suspicious?
Crump told the Post that he suspected Trayvon had been racially profiled by Zimmerman, a white man, because he was a black youth.
When police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman explained that he had shot Trayvon in self-defense after they had gotten into a physical altercation. A search of Trayvon's body revealed the iced tea, candy and $22.
Sanford Police have not released any further details about what might have transpired between Trayvon and Zimmerman.
What happened between him being confronted, up to the point where he got shot, nobody knows but him and that guy, Tracy Martin, the boy's father, told the Post. I'm looking for justice for my family. I want answers but I don't have any to give--not for his mother, his brothers or sisters. We don't have nothing, but we want answers.
We need to get all the facts and circumstances straight so that we can determine what truly happened, said Sanford's police chief Bill Lee, the Miami Herald reported.
Lee told the Herald that the case is still under investigation and it would go to the Seminole County State Attorney's Office once it was finalized.
Zimmerman was arrested and later released. He has been interviewed by Sanford Police three times and is cooperating with the investigation, the Post reported.
Right now we're all on pins and needles, Tracy Martin told the Post. When I asked the police why there's been no arrest, they told me they respected [Zimmerman's] background, that he studied criminal justice for four years and that he was squeaky clean.
Crump told the Post that Trayvon's family is demanding Zimmerman's arrest and for the case to go before the State Attorney's Office. They are also seeking the release of the tapes of 9-1-1 calls from neighbors following the shooting. Police chief Lee told the Post that they have been withheld because they could influence the testimony of potential witnesses.
Lee added that the investigation was expected to wrap up this week, and all the pertinent information would be presented when the case goes before the State Attorney's Office.
We're going to present all the information, and if they feel that based on all of the evidence that we're able to produce that Mr. Zimmerman has satisfied the requirement that he shot in self-defense, they may, but if not, he would be charged with some type of homicide or manslaughter, Lee told the Post.
It is certainly and absolutely a tragedy, especially for the Martin family, Lee added. No one expects their teenage son to go the store and never come back.