Trayvon shooter allegedly threatens wife with gun

2013-09-10 09:01
George Zimmerman is escorted home by a Lake Mary police officer. (File, AP)

George Zimmerman is escorted home by a Lake Mary police officer. (File, AP)

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Lake Mary - The estranged wife of a former neighbourhood watchman acquitted in the shooting death of a black teenager called police officers on Monday, saying her husband threatened her and her father with a gun.

Shellie Zimmerman called police shortly after 14:00 on Monday, said Police Chief Steve Bracknell. In the call, she said George Zimmerman punched her father in the nose, grabbed an iPad out of her hand and smashed it and threatened them both with a gun.

Shellie Zimmerman, who has filed for divorce, initially told an emergency dispatcher that her husband had his hand on his gun as he sat in his car outside the home. She said she was scared because she wasn't sure what Zimmerman was capable of doing. But hours later she changed her story and said she never saw a firearm, said Bracknell.

George Zimmerman was not arrested, Bracknell said. He said the estranged husband and wife blamed each other for starting the fight but that Shellie Zimmerman would not press charges. Her father also declined to press charges, the police chief said.

Shellie Zimmerman left the house, which is owned by her parents, after being questioned by police. George Zimmerman remained there into early evening and his attorney denied any wrongdoing by his client. Both had been staying in the home until she moved out.

Pushing and touching

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said his client never threatened his estranged wife and her father with a gun and never punched his father-in-law. Shellie Zimmerman had collected most of her belongings on Saturday from the house.

But she had returned unexpectedly on Monday to gather the remaining items. Emotions got out of control, but neither side is filing charges against the other, O'Mara said.

"I know the [emergency call] tape suggests that Shellie was saying something but I think that was heightened emotions," O'Mara said. "There may have been some pushing and touching. That happens a lot in divorce situations ... Nobody was injured."

On the emergency call, Shellie Zimmerman is sobbing and repeating "Oh my God" as she talks to a police dispatcher. She yells at her father to get inside the house, saying Zimmerman may start shooting at them.

"He's threatening all of us with a firearm ... He punched my dad in the nose," Shellie Zimmerman said on the call. "I don't know what he's capable of. I'm really scared."

Shellie Zimmerman said in a divorce petition filed last week that she and her husband separated a month after Zimmerman was acquitted of any crime for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last July in Sanford, just a few miles away from Lake Mary. Zimmerman's acquittal led to protests nationwide.

Shellie Zimmerman was asking that her husband pay for a permanent life insurance policy with her named as the beneficiary, according to the divorce petition.

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that aired last Friday, Zimmerman said her husband left her with "a bunch of pieces of broken glass" after the acquittal. She said he only stayed in their house three or four nights since the trial ended and that they even tried counselling. But she moved out on 13 August.

"I have a selfish husband and I think George is all about George," she said.

George Zimmerman and his lawyers have made no public statements on the divorce proceedings.

George Zimmeran's brother Robert Zimmerman Jr, tweeted that "we've learned from GZ case not to 'jump to conclusions,' to wait for facts, & to avoid speculation. 'News' is a business - not your friend."

Last month, Shellie Zimmerman, aged 26, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour perjury charge for lying about the couple's finances during a bail hearing following her husband's arrest after Martin's shooting.


George Zimmerman, aged 29, said he acted in self-defence when he killed Martin and the polarising case opened up national discussions on self-defence laws and race. Martin was black. Zimmerman has a white father and Hispanic mother.

Shellie Zimmerman was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service. Her husband did not attend the sentencing hearing in the Sanford courtroom.

Zimmerman has been involved with a domestic case at least once before. In 2005, Zimmerman's former fiancée filed for a restraining order against Zimmerman, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman responded by requesting a restraining order against his then-fiancée.

Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has gotten a speeding ticket in Florida and was pulled over on suspicion of speeding on a highway near Dallas but not ticketed.

Forney police stopped Zimmerman as he drove west on US 80, about 32km east of Dallas. A police dashcam video released on 31 July shows an officer interacting with Zimmerman and letting him go with a warning.

The officer can be heard saying, "Just take it easy. Go ahead and shut your glove compartment. Don't play with your firearm".

Although the officer's comments indicated Zimmerman had a gun, a weapon can't be seen and it's not clear that he had one. However, Zimmerman had a concealed weapons permit in Florida that would be also recognised under Texas law.

The gun used in Martin's shooting remains in the custody of the federal government, which is looking into a possible civil rights case.

Read more on:    george zimmerman  |  trayvon martin  |  us  |  us shooting

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