March 20th, 2012
11:55 PM ET

Neighbor: Trayvon Martin Shooting wasn't self defense

Anderson Cooper speaks with two neighbors who called 911 when Trayvon Martin was killed. They have some startling claims about how police responded to the shooting.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Trayvon Martin
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Pam

    I wonder....especially since this was a GATED community....had there really been break-ins etc? Are there police records to back up what Zimmerman said about there being problems in the recent past in the neighborhood? Somehow I doubt it. I wonder if Zimmerman was stating this on the 911 tape to "validate:" what he had already decided to do which was at the very least HARRASS this young black teen (wearing the oh-so-frighting hoodie) but really had he already intended to shoot him and claim self-defense? I can't help but think that the fact that Zimmerman first makes this statement when the FIRST question the dispatcher certainly asked him was "what is your emergency" was to make us all believe he was protecting the neighborhood. Then he had follow the Trayvon quickly and fight with him/shoot him before the police got there so that there would be nobody to say otherwise. I really would like to know if there were actually reports from the recent past, who made the reports and how Mr. Zimmerman knew of them. Was he notified or was he doing his "job" of head of neighborhood watch just a little too far and was he checking into the police records getting ready to play vigilante? (which in my mind shows heavy planning and premeditation.) By the way, I am a middle aged white woman and I feel that this act of hatred is horrible and that he had no right to follow etc this young man. He had a right to CALL 911 and that is it!!!

    March 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  2. joan Holton

    I watched your show yesterday about Trayvon Martin. That young mans death was indeed a senseless tragedy. I want to say that this kind of thing is happening more often than the general public realizes because they never hear about it. On Tuesday March 6,2012 my dear friend Joyce Hamilton Berry lost her son at the hands of a Pennsylvania State Trooper on the PA. Turnpike. There are so many unanswered questions surrounding Daryl's death and the PA State Police are under a cover of silence that is unbelieveable. As in the Trayvon Martin case, the only account of the iincident as to what is supposed to have happened is from the perpertrator. Let's be real, does a trained State Trooper have to shoot a 5'7" young man three (3) times to bring him under control????? If your researchers go on line to Daryl Jerome Berry, they will find the info. This young business man(electrical engineer) was returning to Cincinnati, Ohio following a week long visit with his Mother and siblings in Columbia, Maryland. His Mother's last words at Daryl's funeral were, " I want to know what happened to my child?" ANOTHER SENSELESS MURDER!

    March 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  3. El Flaco

    I have never been confronted by a criminal with a gun. Over the past 30 years, I personally have almost been killed three times by sportsmen with guns out in the southwestern desert where I live. My mother was intimidated by a few legal gun owners.

    1. Two yokels were tossing beer cans as they emptied them into the air and shooting at them with their revolvers, never thinking that their bullets would eventually return to earth on the other side of the hill where I was hiking. When I returned to the area on another day, I saw that they had left the shot-up beer cans and the cartons from two twelve-packs, which I cleaned up and carried to my car.

    2. A mother was teaching her son to shoot a .22 rifle in a gully. They were both looking at the boy’s trigger finger – not downrange - as he squeezed off a round and just as I rounded the corner, narrowly missing me. (The mother had the decency to apologize.)

    3. A skeet shooter was throwing disks into the air on the edge of a canyon, oblivious to the hikers in the valley below. The shooter told me, when I confronted him, that if I was so stupid as to hike in the desert when I could hear gunfire, I deserved to be shot.

    4. My 80 year old mother put up no hunting signs and padlocked her gates after hunters killed her dog and shot a neighbor's cow. The hunters shot her signs to pieces, shot the locks off her gates, and seined all the fish out of her pond to teach the old lady a lesson. She learned. She never put up another no-hunting sign and she never locked another gate.

    So my life-experience has taught me to be very frightened of my fellow-citizens with legal guns.

    March 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  4. Ed

    Furthermore, whether or not Zimmerman used a racial slur, or was racially motivated is 100% irrelevant. A child was murdered. We know who did it. We know that it was in cold blood. The motive is trivial at this point.

    I'm willing to assume that maybe Zimmerman's crime wasn't racially motivated, but that doesn't explain why he is walking free. He should rot in jail.

    March 23, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  5. Ed

    How is it that a grown man can shoot a child to death, claim self defense, have absolutely NO evidence that it was self defense, and get off? This whole situation makes me want to throw up. EVERY SINGLE OFFICER involved in this investigation should be fired and should NOT receive unemployment. Let them find new careers.

    It's just like Jimbo said in South Park over a decade ago. Shoot anything you want, just remember to yell, "Oh my God! It's coming straight for us!"

    March 23, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  6. sharon l gardner

    Regardless of your race please stand up and take a change to stop the maddness. stop the brutality of our african american citizens. It time to make a change. If this was the other way around that black man would be hung before he made it to jail.

    March 23, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  7. sharon l gardner

    zimmerman needs to be charged with first degree murder. why is he still walking around. Put him behind bars where he belongs. I pray for trayvons family that GOD gives them the strenght to carry on. GOD bless the family and other familys that have and are going through this same exact problems. GOD bless.

    March 23, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  8. Daniel

    What might have happened was. This kid was on a spice drug,(undetectable) that's why he was acting weird and paranoid. Zimmerman confronted him and got his but kicked. YOU CAN NOT START FIGHTS WITH STRONGER PEOPLE, HAVE THEM BEAT YOU UP AND USE IT AS AN EXCUSE TO SHOOT THEM. Zimmerman seems like a shady snake to me.

    March 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  9. Angyl

    I believe that Zimmerman didn't respond to his neighbor's calls of concern because he was busy snuffing the life out of poor Trayvon Martin. This was a premeditated, calculated, cold blooded murder. Zimmerman had probably prayed that an "f-ing coon" would one day come his way and romanticized the idea of how he would snatch his last breath away. Satan answered that prayer when poor innocent Trayvon armed with only a can of ice tea and skittles, while talking to his girlfriend, walked back to the home of his father. Little did he know that it would be his very last walk. Zimmerman should be hunted down and given a double portion of what he gave that beautiful child. Racial profiling, racism and hatred for Blacks has got to stop in amerikkka or there will be blood shed like never seen before in the history of man. Enough is Enough already! Our children deserve to live just like any other race of children do. Woe unto this nation when the sleeping sons of Judah AWAKE!

    March 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  10. Why

    It is really funny how white people have spent years raping, lynching, terrorizing and making life miserable for anyone that did not look like them, but blacks are the violent ones. Oh, forgot that's the past, we should let that go.

    March 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  11. Carole

    To any parent who ever lost a child, this case must be painful. To know your precious child was hunted down, terrorized, then executed? My profound condolences to Treyvon's mother & father. I admire their efforts to bring some kind of justice & "meaning" to this blatant murder. The perp in question is in "hiding" is he? What a coward, what a monster....

    March 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  12. Joanne

    We have this stupid law also in Texas, It is now time to repeal this law in all states before more innocent people lose their life to it !

    March 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  13. pkrbkr

    This is such a sad story. My prayers go out to Traymon's family. If a white person had been killed by a person of color arrest would have been made and the whole story much different. Laws can be passed but until hearts and minds are changed we will continue to have these things happen. The black people built this country, for heaven't sake! Let's get beyond looking at colorof skin, look instead as brother or sister, all part of God's creation, and live together in peace and understanding!

    March 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  14. Kim Kittle

    My apologies, Trayvon Martin, I mispelled his name, May god keep you safe now in his arms, and sheltered from the injustice's that are here on Earth!!

    March 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  15. Neighbors

    Also, shame on you neighbors for wanting to be on TV, I heard this was going to happen. Again, I am a black woman who wants justice, but to go about things this way is wrong. There is no way those two could give anyone a play by play, but they know this and will have to answer for that one day.

    March 22, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  16. Sonya

    What really makes no sense is the "self -defense" law. So, basically, virtually anyone can just go out and shoot another person, wait on the police and claim self-defense, even if there is NO evidence to prove this claim? Wow! Sounds like the wild, wild west, or some other barbaric and lawless place.

    March 22, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  17. W. Mobley

    I want Justice for Trayvon Martin this was a senseless killing. Zimmerman deserves to be arrested and charge with murder. I feel in my heart he had no intention on waiting for the police to arrive after he was told not to pursue this young man. He took matters in his owns hands who gives him the right to take a life. My prayers are with this family and we as the people should stand behind this matter so this type of thing can never happen again. We can't bring him back but we can help fight for justice on his behalf.

    March 22, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  18. dj

    Yeah, he was out to kill this young kid. You can hear in his voice and words. SAD!

    March 22, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  19. E. Rolando

    Everyone is saying how this law is the reason Zimmerman might get away with murder; however, I see 2 interpretations of this law in what happened that night. Zimmerman said he shot in self defense, when all the evidence, the 911 calls, etc, show that he pursued Treyvon against the wishes and requests of the 911 dispatchers. When police arrived, there were wounds on Zimmerman from an altercation.

    Is it possible that Zimmerman shot because Treyvon was STANDING HIS GROUND against a man who was a stranger to him, who approached him in Treyvon's neighborhood, had been following him around enough to make him uneasy enough to mention it to his girlfriend on the phone, mention it enough that she told him to run, but he decided to STAND HIS GROUND, and not let this stranger run him out of his home area. There are no reports that Zimmerman identified himself as neighborhood watch, only asking him what he was doing and apparently in a threatening enough manner.

    Look at the pictures. Zimmerman was a large man. Treyvon was only 19 and smaller, still a teenager, intimidated by a larger, older, overtly threatening male figure of unknown origins. No ID on car and if there was was, it was dark and he was focused on the person who had been following him and approached him for no apparent reason. He fought for his life, causing some damage to Zimmerman, and this, in my opinion, further infuriated Zimmerman who pulled out his gun and fired to permanently stop the fight.

    Treyvon was standing his ground against a man who didn't identify himself, who approached him with preconceived notions in his head, in a gated community where security should've been available, in a community where Treyvon had every right to be as his father lived there. Zimmerman was the aggressor and an aggressive person cannot in good conscious claim self defense. You assume a reasonable risk when you approach someone against the advice of professionals without identifying yourself in the dark. Treyvon had every right to fight back. Zimmerman had no right to fire a gun and decide to take the law into his hands and become the judge, jury, and executioner all for an iced tea and a bag of skittles.

    March 22, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  20. Elizabeth

    Oh, as far as has been reported, Zimmerman was not given medical treatment. It sounds like the blood the police saw on Zimmerman and from what the ladies saw, the blood on Zimmerman was from the teen. Did Zimmerman even have as much as a bruise? Did the police check for signs that he had been assaulted?

    March 22, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  21. Elizabeth

    IMPORTANT POINTS: All that has been published so far about Zimmerman's injuries are that he had blood on the back of his head and a bloody nose. The two ladies that went on Anderson Cooper said they saw Zimmerman with his hands on the front of the teen's body, then they saw him pacing reaching for the back of his head. Do the police actually know if Zimmerman was actually injured or was it the teen's blood on Zimmerman's face? Did they take the clothes he was wearing so they can match up exactly where he fell on his back in the grass? Did the police take any evidence at ALL from Zimmerman?

    March 22, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  22. Michelle

    In reference to the racial slur, I read somewhere that the word in question could be punks. When I listened to the 360 playing of the tape, first listening for coons then again listening for punks, it sounds equally possible that it could be either. It just depends on what word you are anticipating. That aside, I think there is no question that Trayvon was targeted and pursued because he was an African American young man. I wish that were enough to bring federal charges. This is so tragic and demonstrates the racism and bigotry that is rampant in this country. Not only is it evident in the violence perpetrated against people of color but also in the value assigned to the lives of these victims. Trayvon is one of so many that are never spoken for. I hope in this tragedy Trayvon is recognized as the martyr he is for bringing witness to the world of the results of bigotry and hatred. I hope others will come forward to share their stories. And enough of the victim blaming. As a proud young man who had every right to walk down the street, he had no obligation to submit to the questioning or degradation of a random stranger. In fact, we teach our youth not to speak to strangers. I cannot imagine the anger, frustration, sorrow and loss his parents and family are experiencing. I just keep thinking of how I would feel if one of my children was targeted and terrorized and murdered by someone who police didn't feel it was even necessary to arrest. God forgive us all and please be with Trayvon and his loved ones.

    March 22, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  23. Mother of Ty

    I can only imagine all Treyvon saw was a large adult male watching his every move and eventually chasing him. For all he knew it could of been a child molestor, kidnapper an or killer after him. The world is sick today where children are snatch and killed daily. We teach our children not to talk to strangers. In those situations we do everything possible to fight for your life. . . It sounds like he fighting for his life and that's why Zimmerman had some minor injuries. It's an issue with the police system were they don't do a proper investigation on any death that involves a gun. It sound like anyone can claim self defense with this law to avoid jail time. As a mother I am of fear of no only people with the mindset of Zimmerman but of law enforcement who don't do their jobs to protect our children. . . . .

    March 22, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  24. hugh

    I fill like im living in crazy town the news is goning to lynch this man because they thought he was white and that fits there narative nobody is showing the local fox 35 station interviewing the mans yard it happened in he tells a different story than everything i have seen on the news i had to look in the orlando news market to get the story it just did not make any sense the way everybody else was reporting it i tuned to anderson he mostly reports it straight but i guess this was to hot the video is there for everybody to see on fox 35 orlando fl dont let the facts get in the way of agood story

    March 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  25. H.Edwards

    I just saw and heard the the tape of Zimmerman when the specialist was trying to listento se what was the blurred words he was saying and it truly sounded like he was saying the F word along with the A word ending with the word holes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  26. Ronnie H Meredith

    I have questions that may shed light on some of this. As I understand it was a Gated community therefore would have had a fence or some control arround it. I would like to have some idea of why the boy may have been in the community. I do not in any way support what happened as it appears there are serious problems with how the man conducted himself and I believe he acted outside the law based on what I have heard. I believe in having the stand your ground law I do not support that itshould be used in a persue and confront situation as that is not the law. I also know that all the time young people are forced into scopping out residential areas for theift. If the boy had no reason for being there then it may shed light on what started this terrible sequence of events. I feel that George Zimmerman acted outside the law and a poor level of investigation was done by police based on the facts I have heard from the news.

    March 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Adaora

      If you read the articles throughout you would see that he was visiting with his father and his fathers fiancee (whom lived in the gated community). He left to go to a convenience store to get skittles for his younger brother and tea. I never knew it was a crime to walk home...

      March 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Why

      Trayvon's father and fiancee lived there and Trayvon was visiting them. Is that a good enough reason for him to have been there?

      March 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Andrew

      His father lives in that community, and he was heading back home from a convenient store.

      March 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tiffany

      He was walking back to his fathers fiancée's house from the store. She lived in that community.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • AJ

      I believe the kid was staying with family. It's pretty obvious Zimmerman saw a black kid he didin't recognize and made assumptions about his intentions. How could anyone not interpret that as racial profiling?

      March 23, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Holly

      Ronnie, the boy was staying with his father and stepmother, who lived in the gated community. He was walking back to his father's house when he was shot.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Niobe

      From what I understand, Trayvon’s father and his father’s fiancé live in the gated community. Trayvon was watching the game there before he left to buy skittles and ice tea and was retuning when Zimmerman spotted him. The “looking around at houses” that Zimmerman mentioned could very well have been Trayvon trying to figure out how to get back to his father’s house. In a nutshell, Trayvon wasn’t scoping out the neighborhood or even using the gated community as a shortcut to his neighborhood. Trayvon had every right to be there.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • UM....

      It's already been stated time and time again that the kid was staying with his dad, his dad's fiancee, and his younger brother, in the gated community. Isn't that reason enough to be in there??? Or was he not supposed to be visiting his dad at his residence??? He waited till half time during the game they were all watching AT HIS DAD'S RESIDENCE IN THE GATED COMMUNITY to walk to the store and get a can of iced tea and skittle for his brother.

      Your question about why he was in the community in the first place solves nothing. Maybe you should read about things before you post about them. It's been stated time and again why Trayvon was there.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Mandy

      He was visiting his father's fiancée who lived in the gated community.

      March 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mike

      The boy was visiting family. He had every right to be there.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  27. TJ

    I live in Central Florida. If you kill (gun, club or knife) an Alligator without an Alligator hunting license, you go to jail. If you shoot an unarmed frightened black teenager and you're a white male claiming self defense, the cops cover for you and you walk away free as the breeze.

    The world is watching American freedom and democracy at home. How in the world is America going to institute freedom and democracy in another country when it's own citizens don't have it at home? Is it democracy or democrazy?

    March 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  28. D Perkins

    While it is important whether or not George Zimmerman used a racial slur, I think more revealing is that fact that he was already angry, (whatever he called him) prior to questioning Trayvon and finding out why he was in the neigborhood.
    So even if the racial slur is not clearly audible, George Zimmerman's anger and disgust IS. His actions after that point were PREMEDITATED!

    March 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Angyl

      I totally agree with you.

      March 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  29. JAY

    The problem with this is not about the protect yourself law, its about how police tried to cover up what was sooo wrong. Simple and plan, did the man pursue the kid? Did the police handle the body correctly? Did they do a back ground check on the shooter? Why do you check the victim AND NOT check the aggressor? Basically, the police department and sheriff made major mistakes... Go Figure!!!!

    PS: to the neighbor, WHY DO A 17 yr old kid have to answer about his being in a neighborhood? Let me answer that, because he was black?

    I heard a sermon and part of it was that in a all white neighborhood, this white lady was robbed three times. She was asked was she afraid of BLACK men and she said YES. She said that BLACK MEN are violent people who do bad things. She was then asked who robbed her, she responded, "a white man", she then was asked who robbed her the second and third time, she responded, "both white men". Then she was asked and you are scared of BLACK MEN? She got really quite with NO response. We as Americans need to Check ourselves, racial profiling is serious and WRONG!!!!

    March 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Angyl

      That story made me reflect on the Central Park jogger, and Susan Smith, and the Sister Mary Tucotte, Bethany Sturro, Carolyn Bryant and the list could go on and on. Black people are profiled as sexual deviants, criminals, savages and anything that lessens us as a people. However, the white people who are saying those things, are the ones who committed those atrocities and many other heinous acts not only against us from the moment they saw us but also to this very day. Our lives are like ashes in the wind to them. I say NO MAS!

      March 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  30. Tracy

    I am sick about this story, listened to a Zimmerman supporter on the news last night indicate that Trayvon Martin was invited to that neighborhood, since when do you have to be invited to walk through a particular neighborhood. I believe Zimmerman is a dangerous man and should be take off the streets before another BLACK, man looses his life. I stress the BLACK, because that is how Trayvon Martin is labeled even in the police report, if I am not mistaken he is never addressed as the deceased, or victim it was always the BLACK male, stereotyping at it's worst.

    March 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  31. Lyric

    His own neighbours dont believe self defense . It's wierd to think that the Sanford Police Department did a drug test on the dead boy's body and not even a backgroud test or drug test on the killer. God help us all if this crime goes unpaid!

    March 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  32. Irene

    OMG....just listening to this interview sent chills down my spine!! It was a cold blooded murder. This beautiful, young man with his whole life ahead of him!!! I wish I could execute that guard mysel!!! He deserves the death penalty!!!!

    March 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  33. Wendy Smith

    I can't believe that man has not been arrested yet? If the circumstance were reversed & a white child was shot ,the arrest would have been made before the dust had settled !

    March 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  34. Ruby

    On behalf of Trayvon Martin, I would like to be a voice. In reference to proven who was the aggressor, go back to the 911 call which Zimmerman made to police dispatcher. This alone proves that Zimmerman was the aggressor, when police ordered Zimmerman to not pursue the unarmed 17 year old victim, yet Zimmerman ignored police orders and pursued the victim anyway. This proves that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor. Also on the 911 tapes, you can heaike from an arm or leg twisting. The child was shot in the chest, but when police came, the child wr the child screaming out of fear, it is also a sound of someone going through excruciating pain, las said to be face down, and a witness said they saw Zimmerman with his hands on Trayvon's body. The facts are already evident...Zimmerman's family members know of this man's passion to pursue and harm victims of whom he profiles.. Zimmerman's actions and words prove premeditation..

    March 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  35. Merle

    Having lived in South Florida with children in the school system there, I'm not surprised by this. The schools have police who are retired homicide cops from NYC, who treat the kids like they are criminals, especially the kids with special needs. I believe Zimmerman murdered this lad and the police don't seem to care. Waitin for a grand jury on April 10th is too long, there are witnesses who dispute his claim of self defense, so why is he not charged. I think Florida is an amoral state, their behavior here certainly supports that belief.

    March 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Shirley

      @Merle, I'm lived in FL for over 20yrs myself and I left there almost 6yrs ago and I have not looked back since. My two kids were young when I left, I on the other hand attended school in Florida and I can tell you the school, city and state sucked all around. It was so apparent of the divide amongst the race groups down there. Whenever I hear they say that Florida is a melting pot I think melting pot yes in regards to the hot humid heat but when it comes to the people that's a whole different story. Even when I left it was still the same, you saw it and diffently heard it. I'm black and when I would date a hispanic or caucasian man all eyes are on me as if I had two heads. I wanted different for my kids, I wanted normalcy for them so I left there and moved up north where I'm originally from. I can't stand ignorace of any kind. What happened to Mr. Martin down there is a travesity and uncalled for. That whole police department down there should be shut-down.

      March 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  36. R.J.Cunningham

    Justice for Trayvon

    March 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  37. Joesnopy

    The major problem in this case is the local police who is Latino and the shooter is Latino. The rights of the teen who was defending his life was not considered. Even if the teen had done a crime or was getting ready to do a crime he did not desire to die. Is this what America has become. A 240 pound adult shoot a 140 pound teen. Do you understand the 240 pound adult is much stronger than that 140 pound teen. I know some of you clown do not understand the team had not developed fully and looking at the teen picture he was small. This is plan murder.

    March 21, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  38. Adepaola

    I highly recommend "In The Gravest Extreme," by Massad Ayoob. It offers a very serious look at what constitutes self-defense, and how and when lawful carriers of firearms should and should NOT use their weapons. I wasn't there and the facts aren't all in, but this sounds like it should never have happened the way it did. Race aside, to use your firearm in true self defense, you can't have been the one who started the fight. The fact that an unarmed person who was trying to flee was shot and killed is a horrible tragedy – and wrong no matter the races of the people involved.

    March 21, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  39. Jueseppi B.

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Eye witnesses who reportedly had to chase down Sanford P.D. to give eye witness accounts. There was NO door to door canvassing for witnesses.

    March 21, 2012 at 2:53 am |