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Old March 10, 2012, 12:24 AM   #1
Merad
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Neighborhood watch captain shoots teen, claims self defense

Various links:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...82709M20120308
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1332756.html
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=148258736
http://www.wftv.com/news/news/police...teen-vi/nK8LR/
http://www.wftv.com/news/news/family...-leader/nLNq9/

A basic summary:
-17 year old (black) kid walks from his dad's house in a gated community to a convenience store to buy snacks. While walking back, he's spotted by a guy on neighborhood watch who's patrolling in his car and legally CCW.
-Neighborhood watch captain calls 911 to report a "suspicious person in the area." Dispatcher advises him that LE is en route, and instructs him not to confront the kid.
-Neighborhood watch captain continues to follow the kid in his car for some time.
-At some point, he leaves the car and there's a confrontation with the kid (who had no weapons), apparently resulting in a struggle.
-A shot is fired, and the kid is killed. The neighborhood watch captain claims he fired in self defense.

There are a lot of unknowns in this case. It isn't known whether the neighborhood watch guy left his car to confront the kid, or if the kid approached the car. The police haven't released the tape of the 911 call, and there apparently were no witnesses to the actual confrontation or shooting. So far, there are no charges.

I'd be interested to see some discussion on this, because it looks like a pretty good example of how NOT to use your CHL. Seems to me that the watch captain would be considered the aggressor here (I'd say following someone in your car is provocation). It's possible that he attempted to withdraw or was attacked so viciously that his use of deadly force was justified (relevant FL law here), but doesn't seem likely. Honestly it looks like he went out looking for trouble or wanting to play LEO. Even if it wasn't justified though, since there's apparently limited evidence and he's the only surviving witness I'm doubtful that he'll be charged.
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Old March 10, 2012, 12:56 AM   #2
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Yes, the issue of race may very well have played into this. I also wonder if there was a crime problem in the neighborhood. Why did the Watch Captain feel the need to confront the young man? I am sure there is more evidence than what the article seemed to indicate. Obviously forensics will help some, but this isn’t TV and there may not be a “smoking gun”. Not sure how the legal system works in Florida, but I suspect this case will end up in front of Grand Jury to determine how it proceeds.
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Old March 10, 2012, 01:37 AM   #3
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The neighborhood watch captain - George Zimmerman is an idiot.

If I had to guess, he's one of these guys who spends a lot of time spinning scenarios and living fantasies in his head where he is the hero of the nieghborhood for killing a bad guy. He probably rehearses in front of a mirror what he would say to the media after a shootout and multiple times a day, imagines himself stopping rapists, muggers and burglars. He was out-of-touch with reality.

He could have waited for police. But then he wouldn't have been a hero and gotten on TV, and been able to hold court and tell people the story of how he shot a gang banger. He could have waited for police - the kid wasn't even running or anything.

More than an idiot - he's a murderer in my opinion.
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Old March 10, 2012, 06:41 AM   #4
shurshot
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A true case of too much ego, not nearly enough brains. There are far too many idiots out there with itchy trigger fingers. My heart goes out to the victim's family and friends.
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Old March 10, 2012, 06:56 AM   #5
ares338
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Neighborhood Watch

He used bad judgement in this case. First of all he was instructed by LE not to confront. I know that all facts are not known and may not ever be known but he might have gotten really close to the kid and the kid confronted him. He should have just backed off. This gives the gun owners community a black eye in my opinion.
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Old March 10, 2012, 07:04 AM   #6
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if he was in his car and the kid was on foot, how could he have felt threatened or felt the need for deadly force ?
It says the kid was unarmed, what was the threat ? What was the need to shoot the kid ?
IMHO this guy is way out there and should be left out there to dry in a cell. He sounds like a wanna be cop. All he had to do was follow the dispatchers advice and wait for the real cops.
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Old March 10, 2012, 09:40 AM   #7
AirForceShooter
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Watch Captain in Deep DooDoo.
Most neighbor hood watch programs prohibit CCWing even if the watch guy has a CCW.
Watch programs absolutely prohibit the watcher from intervening at all, in any way. A watchers job is "observe and report" that's all.

He was patrolling his neighborhood and didn't know the resident?

I have gone through the Sheriff's orientation .

He's toast

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Old March 10, 2012, 09:49 AM   #8
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I hope they hang the bozo, he broke too many rules and instructions (from the police).
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Old March 10, 2012, 09:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
This gives the gun owners community a black eye in my opinion.
For sure. From what I can see, it looks like this guy is simply a murderer. Of course we don't know the whole story, but he certainly over-stepped the limits of his duty as a watch captain when he disregarded the LE directive to just observe.

He deserves whatever punishment gets meted out. My heart goes out to the victim's family.
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Old March 10, 2012, 10:02 AM   #10
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Interesting update:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/...,6990127.story

Turns out that while the charges were ultimately dismissed (hence no conviction record), Zimmerman was arrested in 2005 for battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest with violence.

Sounds like just the kind of guy who should head up the neighborhood watch.

If, when I was 17, some weird 26yo dude had followed me at a low-speed crawl in his car, and then got out of the car to approach me, I'd have thought I was about to get attacked. I could very easily see myself having gone on the defensive.

It will be interesting to see the transcript of the 911 call; the Martin family lawyer has filed suit for its release, as the Sanford PD has so far refused to release it. As it is public record, it should only be a matter of time before we get to hear or read it.

Whether Zimmerman ultimately gets charged is hard to say, but based on what I've read so far, I hope that at the very least the Martin family sues him into poverty.
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Old March 10, 2012, 10:37 AM   #11
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One wonders why he has not yet been arrested....
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Old March 10, 2012, 10:38 AM   #12
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I wonder if the hood watch had a tie-in with a home owners association. if so, the HOA might be in line for a big lawsuit also...
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Old March 10, 2012, 10:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
If, when I was 17, some weird 26yo dude had followed me at a low-speed crawl in his car, and then got out of the car to approach me, I'd have thought I was about to get attacked. I could very easily see myself having gone on the defensive.
I know I certainly would have at that age; back then I believed a strong offense was the best defense.

Age has changed that somewhat, but once a threat reaches a critical point those old instincts are still there.
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Old March 10, 2012, 10:47 AM   #14
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I'm really having a hard time trying to figure out how an unarmed kid was a threat to a guy in a car, unless the guy in the car went out of his way to put himself in harm's way in direct violation of what the police told him not to do. Hopefully justice will be served... one way or another.
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Old March 10, 2012, 10:51 AM   #15
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Wow

This seems cut and dry in my book. We don't really have neighbor hood watch up here. (That would require a neighborhood) What we do have is a community of people who for the most part look out for one another.

It wouldn't be uncommon for the man in the car and the kid walking to know each other. Here the man would have probably given the kid a lift instead of shooting him.

I don't see how a young man walking home with snack food is a threat. Hopefully more details are released. Based on what we know now I feel that the shooter is in the wrong here. If 911 specifically instructed him not to approach I don't see how it even got to a confrontation.

Sad that a young man lost his life for someone's ego.

Regards, Vermonter
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Old March 10, 2012, 11:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
First of all he was instructed by LE not to confront.
Quote:
I hope they hang the bozo, he broke too many rules and instructions (from the police).
No, he was not. The person he spoke with would have been a 911 operator/dispatcher, not a law enforcement officer. http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/dps/ec/index.aspx This is not the same as being given a lawful command by a LEO.

Quote:
“I believe that Mr. Zimmerman was trying to, by his account, find an address to give the officers and also trying to keep Trayvon in eyesight.”

Zimmerman told the police that Martin noticed that he was being followed and asked, “what’s your problem?”

That's when a physical confrontation ensued, Lee said. And moments later, Martin was shot.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1332756.html

I found this rather bothersome. I can't imagine a neighborhood watch captian or any member not knowing where they are in the neighborhood such that they would need to exit a vehicle in close proximity to a person they considered suspicious and on whom they had called for the police. In my experience, neighborhood watch people usually know their neighborhoods extremely well. Thus the notion of getting out of the vehicle to find an address seems like a false excuse for leaving the vehicle.
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Old March 10, 2012, 11:20 AM   #17
Glenn E. Meyer
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My neighborhood is diverse. People of all groups walk the streets at night for exercise

However, the local DA once justified stopping African-Americans in our area as they didn't 'belong' there.

This was on local nutso talk radio. I called in and basically lambasted the fool.
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Old March 10, 2012, 11:36 AM   #18
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On one hand, it certainly doesn't look good for Mr. Zimmerman.

On the other hand, all we have is a few newspaper articles giving very little information (and of course, whenever we disagree with newspaper articles about guns we love to point out how unreliable they are).

The story is a long way from being over, and, as of now, I don't think we really know enough to draw any worthwhile conclusions.
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Old March 10, 2012, 11:49 AM   #19
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I agree - way too little information to determine exactly what happened. Although, it is hard to see how a guy in a car, who's following someone and who has already called the police felt like his life was in danger.
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Old March 10, 2012, 03:35 PM   #20
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Right, I'd like to see why a 26 year old college student feel the need of a gun against a 17 year old who's packing nothing.
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Old March 10, 2012, 03:54 PM   #21
Don P
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Quote:
Yes, the issue of race may very well have played into this. I also wonder if there was a crime problem in the neighborhood. Why did the Watch Captain feel the need to confront the young man? I am sure there is more evidence than what the article seemed to indicate
Yesterday and today I shot at our local match with one of the officers who responded to this call.
Crime problem, yes.
The teen while being followed turned and faced man following him. The teen asked if he had a problem and when the neighborhood watch man stated no the teens reply was now you do have a problem and attacked him. During the scuffle is when the teen was shot. Zimmerman's face was bloodied up because of the altercation. For now the Sanford police have handed the case over to the District Attorneys office and will let the state decide whether to prosecute or not.

Whole lotta folks here just banging away with out knowing. Just glad they are not on my jury pool
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Old March 10, 2012, 03:59 PM   #22
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I'm really having a hard time trying to figure out how an unarmed kid was a threat to a guy in a car
He should have remained as a faithful observer. If the kid approached the car he should have driven away. In my mind the only way a confrontation could have taken place is if Zimmerman initiated it by getting out of the car. If he initiated the confrontation he was the aggressor and self defense is going to be a difficult defense.

I hope a jury gets the chance to hear the facts.
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Old March 10, 2012, 04:06 PM   #23
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The guy was in the car. He was armed.
The kid was walking down a street , not armed.

I don't care what happened outside of that.

He murdered the kid- no excuses.
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Old March 10, 2012, 04:21 PM   #24
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I don't know if i am happy with the idea of armed neighborhood watch. It can be a thin line between neighborhood watch and vigilante. There where guys that set themselves up as neighborhood watch here in the past they were the biggest thugs in the area. We have neighborhood watch here they call them the police.
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Old March 10, 2012, 04:22 PM   #25
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I have to side with the watch captain is a Leo wannabe and an idiot.
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