LAKE MARY, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — The father of a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager says despite dispatchers telling his son to stop following Trayvon Martin, he kept going so he could get an address for police to check.
Robert Zimmerman spoke to WOFL FOX 35 in Orlando in an interview that aired Wednesday night. He says his son was suspicious because of several break-ins and thought it was strange for someone to be walking between the town homes on a rainy night.
He reiterated what other George Zimmerman supporters have said. He says his son was walking back to his car and Martin confronted him.
He says Martin broke his son’s nose and knocked him to the concrete.
“It’s my understanding that Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him,” Zimmerman told the station.
Zimmerman also says that Martin threatened his son’s life.
“Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of ‘you’re going to die now’ or ‘you’re going to die tonight,’” Zimmerman told the station.
He says Martin continued the beating and his son “pulled his pistol and did what he did.”
A security video shot after the death of Martin shows George Zimmerman being led in handcuffs from a police car, and an attorney for the teen’s family said it is obvious to him that Zimmerman did not have injuries to his face and head as his supporters have asserted.
Sanford police Sgt. David Morgenstern on Wednesday confirmed that the video being shown by ABC News is of Zimmerman. The 28-year-old’s head and face are visible throughout and he is dressed in a red and black fleece jacket. Police are shown frisking Zimmerman whose hands were handcuffed behind his back. They then lead him into a building.
Zimmerman said that on Feb. 26 he was pursuing the 17-year-old Martin, who was not armed, because the teen was acting suspiciously. He said he lost sight of the black teenager and Martin attacked him as he headed back to his sport utility vehicle. Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
The neighborhood watch volunteer told police he fired in self-defense and he was not arrested, touching off widespread public outrage and protests across the country. Zimmerman’s attorney, Craig Sonner, has said in more than one interview that his client’s nose was broken during the fight with Martin.
The Orlando Sentinel, citing anonymous sources, has reported that Martin grabbed Zimmerman’s head and banged it several times against the sidewalk. A statement from Sanford police said the newspaper’s story was “consistent” with evidence turned over to prosecutors.
Sonner said the gash on the back of Zimmerman’s head probably was serious enough for stitches, but he waited too long for treatment so the wound was already healing. Miguel Meza, who identified himself as Zimmerman’s cousin, said Zimmerman was in “the fight of his life.”
“This certainly doesn’t look like a man who police said had his nose broken and his head repeatedly smashed into the sidewalk,” Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin’s family, said in a statement. “George Zimmerman has no apparent injuries in this video, which dramatically contradicts his version of the events of February 26.”
Sonner did not immediately return an after-hours call to his office.
Crump called the video “riveting” and “icing on the cake” that Zimmerman should be held accountable for what happened.
Since the shooting, Zimmerman’s supporters say he’s gone into hiding and that he and his family have gotten death threats.
Martin’s supporters, including a host of outspoken celebrities and civil rights leaders who have appeared on television for the past two weeks, don’t believe Zimmerman’s story. They want him arrested and prosecuted.
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