Sunday, Feb. 26: Trayvon Martin, 17, a junior at Miami’s Krop Senior High School, is fatally shot in the chest by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 28, in a gated community in Sanford, according to police. Martin was visiting with his father at his father’s girlfriend’s home there and was returning from a 7-Eleven when Zimmerman followed him from his car and a fatal confrontation ensued, police said. Zimmerman told them that he shot Martin in self-defense, they said. He is neither arrested nor charged.
Friday, March 9: The story gets widespread media attention for the first time, as Martin’s parents hold a press conference. Father Tracy Martin said that "my son left Sanford, Florida in a body bag, while George Zimmerman went home to sleep in his own bed." Sybrina Fulton said “as a mother, my heart is broken.”
Several callers told police that they saw a fight and heard a gunshot at The Retreat at Twin Lakes on the night of Feb. 26. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and head when authorities arrived. 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. Lee said a dispatcher asked Zimmerman, after he called them after seeing Martin, “to wait until we got there,” but he did not.
Martin’s parents and their lawyers called on police to arrest Zimmerman and release details.
Tracy Martin told The Miami Herald that his son was out of school because he was suspended for a week, and that he brought him to Sanford “to disconnect and get his priorities straight.”
Sunday, March 11: Martin’s parents demand justice in their son’s shooting in a gathering at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Miami Gardens. Family and friends said a prayer and read a poem for the teen. "Not only did I lose a son, I lost a dear friend," Tracy Martin said outside the church.
At this point, police have said that Zimmerman called police and reported Martin as a suspicious person in the neighborhood, before following Martin from his car. "I think it's just profiling, I think it has something to do with the fact that he was a young black African-American kid," Fulton said. "I don't know why he became suspicious."
Zimmerman, who told police that he shot Martin in self-defense, has not been charged at this time.
"We need answers and we need justice," Tracy Martin said. "Not only are we looking for an arrest, we're looking for a conviction."
Monday, March 12: Lee said that his department had nearly completed “a thorough and fair investigation” into Martin’s shooting, but said police did not have anything to dispute 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.
Friday, March 16: Martin’s parents get access to 911 calls from the night of the shooting, and portions of those are made public.
Monday, March 19: The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI announce that they have begun an investigation into Martin’s death.
Tuesday, March 20: Family attorney Benjamin Crump said that Martin’s final phone call with his girlfriend moments before he was shot contradicts Zimmerman’s self-defense claim.
State Attorney Norm Wolfinger announced that a grand jury would be investigating the case.
As the Martin case gets significantly more attention in Florida and across the country, Miami Congresswoman Frederica Wilson praised state and federal authorities for getting involved, called for an end to racial profiling, and pushed people to stand up for Martin, "for our children," and for justice.
Ben Jealous, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called for the Sanford police chief to resign and for federal authorities to come in and take over the police department because of “a pattern and practice of discrimination.” About 350 people attended a town hall meeting at Allen Chapel AME Church in Sanford, and those who cannot fit indoors rally and chant “I am Trayvon Martin” outside.
A neighbor of Zimmerman, Frank Taaffe, spoke out in his defense, saying that Zimmerman shot Martin after numerous burglaries at The Retreat at Twin Lakes.
Wednesday, March 21: The Sanford City Commission, by a 3-2 vote, said it had no confidence in the police chief, Lee, over his handling of the Martin shooting.
A “Million Hoodie March” is held in Union Square in New York. Hundreds of people attend, including Martin’s parents.
Thursday, March 22: About 300 to 400 students walked out of Miami’s Carol City High School to protest that Zimmerman was not arrested. The protest brought traffic on nearby streets to a stop as students marched for several blocks, chanting and pounding on car hoods. The school’s principal approved the demonstration, which started on campus, but students were not given permission to leave school.
Lee temporarily stepped down as Sanford’s police chief amid mounting public criticism of his department’s handling of the case and outrage that Zimmerman had not been charged. He acknowledged that his presence as the chief had become a distraction, while standing by his department and its investigation. Tracy Martin said “the temporary step-down of Bill Lee is nothing” and said he wanted Zimmerman arrested and convicted. The Rev. Al Sharpton held a rally with Martin’s parents in Sanford that was attended by thousands. The rally was the latest of many held across the country over the previous week.
Gov. Rick Scott announced his appointment of State Attorney Angela Corey of Jacksonville as a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation after Wolfinger recused himself in an effort aimed at “toning down the rhetoric and preserving the integrity of the investigation.”
Friday, March 23: Students at 15 Miami-Dade schools held walkouts in support of Martin. In Cutler Bay, students formed a “TM” on a football field for Martin. Protests were also held in Broward.
In an unrelated Rose Garden ceremony, President Barack Obama spoke publicly on Martin’s death for the first time, calling it a “tragedy.” He said: “You know, if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon."
LeBron James tweeted a photo of he and his Miami Heat teammates wearing hoodies, their heads bowed.
Monday, March 26: A Martin family spokesperson confirmed that Trayvon Martin had been suspended from school for possession of an empty marijuana baggie. His mother Sybrina Fulton and the family’s attorneys blamed police for leaking the information in what they called an attempt to demonize the teenager. "They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," Fulton said.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that authorities revealed that Martin took down Zimmerman with one punch, then climbed on top of him and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times before Zimmerman shot him
A large rally was held in Sanford before a city commission meeting where Martin’s parents, Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others spoke. Sharpton noted that it was the one-month anniversary of Martin’s death.
Tuesday, March 27: The Miami Herald reported that Martin had been suspended three times for a series of incidents that included carrying the empty marijuana baggie and getting caught spraying graffiti. The third suspension was for tardiness and truancy, his family said.
Wednesday, March 28: Sanford Police released video of Zimmerman, on the night of the shooting, being led into the police headquarters in handcuffs.
Thursday, March 29: Robert Zimmerman Jr. said his brother was in a fight for his life the night of the Martin shooting, and insisted the cries for help heard on a 911 call were that of George Zimmerman.
Sunday, April 1: Several thousand people attended a rally for Martin in downtown Miami.
Monday, April 9: The day before a grand jury was due to meet, Corey announced she would not be taking the case to the grand jury.
Tuesday, April 10: Zimmerman’s two attorneys announced that they were no longer representing him, saying that he had not returned phone calls or emails for the past few days. They reiterated that they still believed Zimmerman was acting in self-defense on Feb. 26.
Wednesday, April 11: Corey announced that Zimmerman will be charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Martin. "We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. We prosecute based on the facts of any given case, as well as on the laws of the state of Florida," she said.
Zimmerman turned himself in to law enforcement and was taken to the Seminole County Jail and booked, 45 days after he shot Martin in what he said was self-defense.
Sources: NBC Miami reporting and coverage, Associated Press, MSNBC, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald