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Wife of George Zimmerman reverses story, says she didn't see a gun

Shellie Zimmerman, the estranged wife of George Zimmerman, called 911 Monday to say he was threatening her with a gun. She has now dramatically changed her story.

By Contributor / September 10, 2013

George Zimmerman, left, arrives in Seminole circuit court with his wife Shellie, in Sanford, Fla., June 24, 2013.

Joe Burbank/AP/File

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Just hours after Sherrie Zimmerman frantically called 911 Monday and told police that her recently estranged husband, George, had punched her father in the nose and threatened both of them with a gun, she recanted, saying that her father would not press charges and she had seen no 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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Her turnaround put brakes on a fresh police investigation into the man who was acquitted in July of murder and manslaughter in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Florida law treats domestic violence as "a criminal act rather than a domestic matter," so police could still pursue the case and arrest Mr. Zimmerman after viewing video footage gathered from home surveillance cameras and police squad cars.

But police told AP they did not find a gun on Mr. Zimmerman, and Lake Mary, Fla., Police Chief Steve Bracknell said that “domestic violence can’t be invoked because she has changed her story and says she didn’t see a firearm."

According to CNN, Mr. Zimmerman was sitting in his truck when Ms. Zimmerman called police on Monday:

On the 911 call, Shellie Zimmerman is breathing heavily when she tells a dispatcher that Zimmerman is still at the house.

"He's in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun, and he's saying, 'Step closer.' He's just threatening all of us with his firearm," she says.

The same report points to some discrepancy about reports of the alleged gun:

The question of the gun became confused later when police told reporters there was no gun involved, but George Zimmerman's attorney told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 that he believed his client had a firearm on him.

"He acted appropriately. He never took the weapon out," said Mark O'Mara, who is also a CNN legal analyst. O'Mara said he never saw the gun.

In a July police video taken when a traffic policeman pulled Mr. Zimmerman over for speeding near Dallas, the officer refers clearly to a firearm in Zimmerman's glove compartment.

"Just take it easy, go ahead and shut your glove compartment.  Don't play with your firearm, OK?"

Zimmerman got off with a warning, but it was his second return to the public eye within two weeks of his shooting verdict. Days earlier, he had made headlines for helping to rescue a family of four who were trapped in their car, after it rolled over on a highway in Sanford, Fla.

Since then, he has remained visible by earning a speeding ticket in Florida, touring the factory of the of the gunmaker that manufactured the weapon he used to kill Trayvon, and his wife's choice to file divorce. "I have a selfish husband," Sherrie Zimmerman told ABC in a video interview, "and I think George is all about George."

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