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George Zimmerman questioned after wife calls 911: 'He's gonna shoot us' (+video)

George Zimmerman and his estranged wife were involved in an incident that police are still trying to sort out. Shellie Zimmerman says he threatened her with a gun, but she won't file charges.

By Contributor / September 9, 2013


Less than week after George Zimmerman's wife filed for divorce and told ABC News that she thought her husband felt "more invincible" after he was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Mr. Zimmerman came under police investigation Monday afternoon for a claim of domestic battery involving a gun.  

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Staff writer

Fabien Tepper writes for the Monitor's science desk and weekly magazine.  She holds a master's degree in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University, and a bachelor's degree in art from Swarthmore College.

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Zimmerman's now-estranged wife, Sherrie, dialed 911 from their shared home in Lake Mary, Fla., and told a police operator that Mr. Zimmerman had "punched my dad in the nose" and "is about to shoot us," according to CBS news.

Mr. Zimmerman was released after a brief police detention, and three hours after placing her call, Ms. Zimmerman announced that she would not press charges.

But the incident has returned Mr. Zimmerman to the media spotlight less than two months after his acquittal of manslaughter and murder charges by a Florida jury provoked nationwide protests and kindled questions about gun ownership, "stand your ground" laws, and racial bias in the court system. Mr. Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watch captain, said that he shot Trayvon, who was black, in self-defense.

During her 911 call Monday, Ms. Zimmerman said, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune: "He's in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun and keeps saying step closer ... and he's gonna shoot us."

She added that "he's just threatening all of us with his firearm."

"I don't know what he's capable of. I'm really, really scared," she told the 911 operator. At one point in the call, she can be heard saying: "Dad, Dad, get inside the house. George might start shooting at us."

Mr. Zimmerman told the police that his wife was the one being aggressive, the Tribune reports.

"There was an altercation and one party put their hands on another party," Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell said. "We're still trying to figure out who touched whom."

Since the verdict in his murder case, Zimmerman has struggled to keep a low profile.

  • In July, he was pulled over for speeding in Texas, asked if the officer recognized him, and said he had a gun in his glove compartment.
  • In August, a picture surfaced online of him touring the factory of the of the gunmaker that manufactured the weapon he used to kill Trayvon.
  • Last Tuesday, the location of his home became public when he was ticketed for speeding in Florida. 
  • And on Thursday, Ms. Zimmerman filed for divorce and told ABC, in a video interview, "I have a selfish husband, and I think George is all about George."

Reuters reported that the now-separated couple went through gun training together, earning their concealed-weapons permits and buying a pair of guns in 2009. 

Four years earlier, according to the same report, Mr. Zimmerman had been charged with resisting arrest, violence, and battery of an officer, but avoided conviction by agreeing to participate in anger-management classes. The same year, he and his then-fiancée, Veronica Zuazo, were both granted restraining orders against each other after she alleged domestic violence.

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