NEW YORK (AP) — The father of a black teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch captain in Florida said he was “honored” by a march being planned for New York City in support of his son.
“I feel very honored that New York would do a rally in my son’s honor,” Tracy Martin told The Associated Press on Wednesday, hours before what was being called the Million Hoodie March was supposed to take place.
“It means a lot to me and my family knowing that people across the country, across the world, are coming together to get justice for Trayvon.”
Martin’s son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was killed Feb. 26, in Sanford, Fla. He was returning to a gated community in the city after buying candy at a convenience store. He was unarmed and wearing a hooded sweat shirt at the time.
WATCH NBC NIGHTLY NEWS COVERAGE OF OUTRAGE OVER TRAYVON:
The shooter, George Zimmerman, has not been charged in the shooting and has said he shot the teen in self-defense after Martin attacked him. Police said Zimmerman is white; his family says he is Hispanic.
The case has ignited a furor against the police department of the Orlando suburb of 53,500 people, prompting rallies and a protest in Gov. Rick Scott’s office Tuesday. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said it is sending its community relations service this week to Sanford to “address tension in the community.”
Earlier in the week, the federal agency opened a civil rights probe into the shooting, and in Florida, Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said a grand jury will meet April 10 to consider evidence in the case.
Martin said he and his son’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, found out about the march after arriving in New York City, where they have done some interviews about the situation. They got in touch with the organizers to say they would come and speak to the attendees.
The timing of Martin’s parents being in the city when the march is happening is “incredible,” said Daniel Maree, one of the organizers. He heard about the case earlier this week, he said.
“I was outraged and wanted to do something about it,” Maree said.
In recent days, information surrounding the teen’s death has been coming out, including 911 calls, and on Tuesday, an account from his family’s lawyer of a conversation he had with his girlfriend in the moments before his death was released.
Asked how he was holding up as all this information comes out, Tracy Martin said he was trying to stay strong.
“I don’t feel this is the time to break down, even though it’s a very troubling time in my life,” he said. “I’ve told myself, when I get justice for Trayvon, then I’ll have my time to break down.”
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press