March 22, 2012 by staff
George Zimmerman, George Zimmerman wasn’t a cop, but he wanted to be. The 28-year-old man who shot Trayvon Martin inside a gated Florida community Feb. 26 is in hiding now, as the media and the nation direct their attention to the town of Sanford, near Orlando.
The neighborhood watch captain has not yet been charged in the shooting, and claims he acted in self-defense when he shot the African-American teenager with the Kel-Tec 9mm handgun he was licensed to carry. But now, with national attention mounting, Martin’s parents are calling for Zimmerman’s arrest and prosecution.
The Zimmermans, George and his parents, Robert and Gladys, moved to Florida from the Manassas, Va., area about 10 years ago. The third of the couple’s four children and a former altar boy according to his father, Zimmerman graduated from Osbourn High School in Manassas in 2001.
The family’s neighbors from Virginia said they didn’t have many memories of Zimmerman as a boy. “He seemed to be a good enough kid,” Ron Whitis, a former next door neighbor, said.
It didn’t take long for Zimmerman to adjust to his new Florida home. In 2003, he gave chase when he saw a man steal a television from a supermarket, following the shoplifter until police could catch up. Zimmerman followed another man a year later, saying the man had spit on him.
Zimmerman’s record becomes spottier over the following years as he had a handful of run-ins with the law. In July 2005, Zimmerman was arrested after a tussle with law enforcement outside of a bar near the University of Central Florida. It was a first offense, and Zimmerman got off with a pretrial diversion program.
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