Ronald Fulton developed a special bond with Trayvon Martin and says he relied on him every day.
He was permanently changed when he heard his nephew calling out for help in a phone call from the night he was shot and died in Sanford, he says.
“To this day it haunts me. It haunts me and that’s my motivation,” Fulton said. “That’s what motivates me.”
Fulton worked hard to hold back the tears in an interview Friday at the Miami Gardens home where he lived with Martin, 17, and Martin’s mother and his sister, Sybrina Fulton. On many days, Martin would see his uncle first when he came home from school.
“The reason it hurt me so much and it touched me so hard is because all I had to do was call him and he would come and help him,” said Fulton, who uses a wheelchair. “If I needed to eat, if I needed anything, he would be there for me.”
Martin was shot in the chest by George Zimmerman, 28, at a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26. Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watch captain, told police the shooting was self-defense. He has neither been arrested nor charged for the shooting, sparking protests around the country.
Ronald Fulton, who was a mechanical aviation expert in the Navy, said his nephew was devoted to helping him after he was injured in an automobile accident. He talked about how Martin, who took classes at George T. Baker Aviation School, loved flying.
Fulton, who has not traveled to Sanford, said he believes that the grand jury due to convene next week will indict Zimmerman.
“Of course I do,” he said, while emphasizing that attention remain on “the way the police department handled it.”
He urges peaceful protest for his nephew no matter what lies ahead.
He said dinnertime and the evening are when he misses his nephew most.
“It’s empty,” he said. “I feel empty, and it’s like I lost a close friend.”