Nothing to Dispute Sanford Shooter's Self-Defense Claim in Miami Boy's Death: Police Chief

The Sanford police chief gave some details on the case Monday afternoon

By Edward B. Colby and Gilma Avalos
|  Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012  |  Updated 12:21 PM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee said there isn't enough evidence to refute a self defense claim in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee said there isn't enough evidence to refute a self defense claim in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

advertisement
Photos and Videos

Nothing To Dispute Sanford Shooter's Self-Defense Claim: Police Chief

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. said Monday that his department has nearly completed "a thorough and fair investigation" into the fatal shooting of a Miami high school junior, but said police do not have anything at this point to dispute shooter George Zimmerman?s self-defense claim. According to police, Zimmerman, 26, the captain of a neighborhood crime watch group, told them that he shot Trayvon Martin, 17, in self-defense after an altercation on the night of Feb. 26.

Father Wants Man Who Shot His Son Arrested

The mother of a Miami boy who was fatally shot in central Florida said Friday she cannot understand why the shooter has not been arrested. "As a mother, my heart is broken," Sybrina Fulton said. Her son Trayvon Martin, 17, a junior at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School in Miami, was in Sanford visiting his father when George Zimmerman allegedly shot him on Feb. 26. Police said Zimmerman told them that he shot Martin in self-defense. Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. said that evidence and testimony may corroborate Zimmerman's story, because he had a bloody nose and had grass clippings on the back of his shirt, like he had been in a defensive posture.
More Photos and Videos

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. said Monday that his department has nearly completed “a thorough and fair investigation” into the fatal shooting of a Miami high school junior, but said police do not have anything at this point to dispute shooter George Zimmerman’s self-defense claim.

“Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him,” Lee said of Zimmerman. According to police, Zimmerman, 26, the captain of a neighborhood crime watch group, told them that he shot Trayvon Martin, 17, in self-defense after an altercation on the night of Feb. 26.

Martin, who attended Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School in Miami, was visiting his father and his father’s fiancée at The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford and walking home from a 7-Eleven when, police said, Zimmerman called them using a non-emergency line and reported a suspicious person in the area. He followed Martin from his car, according to police.

Several callers told police that they saw a fight and heard a gunshot. Zimmerman, with the gun, was bleeding from his nose and head when authorities arrived, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Lee said that afterward police took Zimmerman into investigative detention and took his gun, which is being tested.

Zimmerman has not been arrested. Martin’s family has made many calls for that to happen.

Neighbor James Davis responded to Lee's comments Monday by saying, "This police chief is setting policy in regard to a black man in a predominantly white neighborhood."

Some members of the African-American community left the press conference outraged, saying that Martin was a victim of racial profiling.

"It becomes racial because Zimmerman thought that black males with hoodies are criminals," said attorney Natalie Jackson, who is representing Martin's family.

Lee said what transpired "indeed has been a tragedy, especially for the Martin family, for the community members that live in that community, and for the city of Sanford.”

“We understand that it seems like this has taken us a long time to complete this investigation,” he added, but said police expected to finish it later Monday, before handing the case over to the State Attorney’s Office Tuesday morning.

He alluded to “reaching some form of justice with this event.”

“We just want the community to know that the Sanford Police Department will do a complete and fair investigation in any case so we can reach a fair and just decision,” he said.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our New iPad App
Now optimized for iPad, NBC 6... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out