As cries for his arrest continue to grow louder, George Zimmerman‘s father defended him in a one-page letter, saying he isn’t a racist but rather of victim of sensationalized media coverage.
The neighborhood watch volunteer, 28, has been in hiding since he shot and killed unarmed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old on his way back home to his father’s house.
His father, Robert Zimmerman, 64, said in a letter to the Orlando Sentinel that his son was Hispanic and grew up in a multiracial family.
“He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever,” the letter says, according to the newspaper. “The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth.”
He defended his son’s actions on the day that he got out of his car and shot the teen, despite being strongly discouraged by a 911 dispatcher.
“At no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin. (That’s a total contradiction to the facts already out there and in George’s own words) When the true details of the event became public, and I hope that will be soon,” the letter said, “everyone should be outraged by the treatment of George Zimmerman in the media.”
He said his family is “deeply sorry for the loss of Trayvon.”
“We pray for the Martin family daily. We also pray that the community will grieve together and not be divided by more unwarranted hate.”
As mixed as the accounts of the Feb. 26 shooting are, so are bits and pieces of George Zimmerman’s background have trickled out, painting a picture of a well behaved kid turned into a man who has aspirations of being a cop with a thread of 911 calls to his name.
In the neighborhood George Zimmerman grew up in, his former neighbors described him to the Washington Post as a “respectful” and religious kid who “didn’t play with the neighborhoods kids.”
“They had to stay home and play. It was always ‘Yes, ma’am,’ ‘No, ma’am,’ ” said Kay Hall, who lived across the streets from the Zimmermans in Manassas, Va.
In his high school yearbook in 2001, Zimmerman said he wanted to be a businessman, but by 2008 had shifted his plans and enrolled in Seminole State College, according to the Post.
He wanted, sources told the newspaper, to become a police officer. (This explains his overzealous-ness)
He moved to Florida after high school with his family and the Washington Post reported that in 2004 he made 46 calls to the emergency line to report what he saw as dangerous incidents before finding himself in some of his own trouble with the law in 2005.
He later moved to the gated community where the shooting took place with his new wife, Shellie, a licensed cosmetologist, whom he married in 2007. By 2011, he became involved with some sort of neighborhood watch program and seemed to take the job extremely seriously.
The Daily Beast reported that between Jan 1, 2011, and the night she shot Trayvon Martin, he called 911 close to 50 times to report suspicious activity.
Neighbors told The Associated Press that he was often very helpful.
“The only impression I have of George Zimmerman is a good one,” Samantha Hamilton, who lived on the same street as Zimmerman for about a year, told the AP.
Others said while he seemed to have good intentions, he was often a bit overzealous on the job.
Some neighbors told the AP it seemed strange that he felt the need to carry a concealed weapon on the watch patrol, despite having a permit for it.
“That is crazy. That is totally crazy,” one neighbor added. “Why does he have to carry a gun? Something is totally wrong with that picture.”