George Zimmerman’s brother spoke out for the first time Thursday night, calling his brother “a neighbor everyone would want to have” and insisting he defended himself after being attacked by Miami-Dade teen Trayvon Martin.
“He prevented his firearm from being taken away from him,” Robert Zimmerman Jr. told Piers Morgan on his CNN program.
Trayvon, 17, was shot and killed on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fl. by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old insurance underwriter, college student and neighborhood crime watch volunteer.
The Miami Gardens teen was unarmed, carrying just candy and ice tea the night he died. The teen’s death and lack of an arrest has triggered a nationwide crusade for Zimmerman’s arrest and calls to change Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.
But Robert Zimmerman Jr. said that carrying candy and tea should not automatically mean his brother wasn’t threatened. He then gave his account of how he believed the night in question unfolded.
He said his brother didn’t chase anyone. He had been on his way to Target. He thought Trayvon looked suspicious as he walked around the gated community, but not because of race but because of what had been happening in the community. There had recently been several break-ins.
During the exchange with Trayvon, he said his brother reached to get his cell phone. He wanted to call 911 again, Robert Zimmerman Jr. said. “He never got to make that phone call because he was attacked by Mr. Martin,” he said.
The screams captured on 911 recordings, Robert Zimmerman Jr. said, sound like his brother. He wishes neighbors who heard the screams had come out to help.
“Despite those screams, no one came to his aid,” Robert Zimmerman Jr. said.
His brother would have been the dead one if he had not acted, he said.
He also mentioned a witness who had seen what happened, “from the first blow.” He didn’t say what the witness saw, but seemed to hint that it backed up his brother’s story.
When asked about the snippet of 911 audio captured that night that some believe reveal that George Zimmerman uttered a racial slur, Robert Zimmerman Jr. said, “it could have been anything.” He said he didn’t even think they were full words.
But he added that the supposed slur was a word that wasn’t in his brother’s vocabulary.
Robert Zimmerman Jr. said his brother was fluent in two languages and called him “the most honest brother; straight as an narrow.”
As for a video released Wednesday that showed George Zimmerman in police custody without any obvious injuries from a fight, his brother said he had confidence that the medical records would explain everything. Robert Zimmerman Jr. added that he thought his brother’s nose did look swollen to him in the video.
His brother’s nose has yet to fully heal, he said, and George Zimmerman, who is in hiding, now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of what happened that night.
He also acknowledged the loss of the Martin family, calling what happened a tragedy.
“This is a story about human beings,” he said, later adding “We all wish this was a different situation.”
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