George Zimmerman claims that he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense, according to Sanford police. Although he still has yet to make a public statement — Zimmerman is thought to have gone into hiding — his official statement and account of what occurred the day that he shot and killed the unarmed teen has been unearthed by the Orlando Sentinel.
The self-appointed neighborhood watchman was en-route to the supermarket when he noticed Trayvon walking through his “gated community.” In response to what he claims was suspicious behavior — Trayvon “acting strangely and perhaps on drugs”— Zimmerman called local police.
Trayvon’s parents say he was visiting his father’s fiance, who lived in that community, and at the time Zimmerman spotted him, was returning from a near-by 7-Eleven convenience store.
WATCH A ‘TODAY SHOW’ INTERVIEW WITH A DEFENDER OF ZIMMERMAN, JOE OLIVER:
[MSNBCMSN video=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640″ w=”592″ h=”346″ launch_id=”46853931″ id=”msnbc25849e”]
Zimmerman says that he got out of his SUV and proceeded to follow Trayvon on foot. When the dispatcher on the line during the 911 call asked Zimmerman — who has been accused of serial 911 dialing — if he was following the youth, and he said yes, the dispatcher told him there was no need to do so.
According to police, there is an approximate one-minute gap between that moment and when Zimmerman claims he began walking back towards his SUV, away from the gun-shot victim, whom he says he lost sight of.
Then, Zimmerman claims Trayvon approached him, coming from the left rear of his car. According to him, they exchanged words.
Zimmerman says Trayvon asked if he had a problem, to which he replied “no,” while reaching for his cell phone. He then claims that Trayvon said, “well, you do now,” and proceeded to punch Zimmerman in the face.
Zimmerman fell to the ground, and Trayvon got on top of him and began to bash his head into the sidewalk, he told police. Although he says he cried for help, there is debate over whom those cries actually came from.
Trayvon was shot in the chest, one time, at close range.
Upon arriving at the scene nearly two minutes later, police report that Zimmerman had a bloody nose, swollen lip, and lacerations to the back of his head. Still, he didn’t receive medical care until the following day.
The Department of Justice appointed prosecutor, Angela Corey, said last week that there’s not enough evidence to file a manslaughter charge or present evidence to a grand jury.
Today, the Sanford Police Department released a statement in response to the article published by the Orlando Sentinel, in which they clarify that the information provided to the media did not come from an authorized source and was possibly leaked from within the department.
“We do not condone these unauthorized leaks of information,” said City Manager, Norton Bonaparte, Jr.
“Acting Chief Scott will be doing an internal investigation within the Sanford Police Department as this type of action compromises the integrity of the law enforcement agency which has pledged to uphold the law.”
Despite condemning this behavior—Bonaparte says that anyone found leaking information could possibly be terminated—the information provided in the article (Zimmerman’s account) is consistent with what the Sanford Police Department provided to the State Attorney’s office.
Follow Briana Lopes on Twitter at @briananikohl