George Zimmerman injured in 'road rage' shooting
George Zimmerman suffered a minor facial wound during a road rage incident in an Orlando, Fla., suburb Monday, according to media reports.
Lake Mary, Fla. — The man who called 911 to report he was involved in a shooting with George Zimmerman appears to be the same person involved in a road rage incident with the former neighborhood watch volunteer last year.
Lake Mary Police Officer Bianca Gillett said during a news conference Monday that Matthew Apperson called 911 to report the shooting. She said Zimmerman was not the shooter.
Last September, Apperson said Zimmerman threatened to kill him, asking "Do you know who I am?" during a confrontation in their vehicles. Apperson decided not to pursue charges, and police officers were unable to move forward without a car tag identified or witnesses.
A bullet missed Zimmerman's head, but he wasn't seriously hurt, his attorney said.
In the latest of a string of incidents since he was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman was sprayed with glass from his vehicle's windshield and other debris in the Orlando suburb of Lake Mary, said the attorney, Don West.
"His injuries would be considered minor," West said. "The bullet missed his head. I think it broke a window and lodged in his vehicle."
Zimmerman was released from a hospital.
West said before the news conference that Zimmerman thought he knew who was responsible for the shooting and is cooperating with authorities.
Zimmerman was acquitted in the 2013 killing of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in a case that sparked protests and national debate about race relations. The Justice Department later announced it was not bringing a civil rights case against Zimmerman.
Zimmerman encountered the 17-year-old on a rainy February evening and, suspecting him of being a criminal, pursued him into the back of a darkened condo complex. When Trayvon punched and straddled him, Zimmerman pulled out his gun and shot the teenager once in the chest, killing him. A state-appointed prosecutor later indicted Zimmerman, and a year later a six-person jury acquitted him on self-defense grounds.
Zimmerman’s act and trial raised questions in America about liberalized self-defense laws that critics say seem to allow vigilantism against young black men.
But for many in the gun community, Zimmerman had done nothing wrong, and had, in fact, become a poster boy for the responsible but beleaguered gun owner protecting his neighborhood, and himself, under the law. Last March, he drew well-wishers to an autograph signing at an Orlando gun show, and in 2013 he toured a factory of the gunmaker that made the pistol he used to kill Martin.
Since then, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law, including:
— He was charged with aggravated assault after being accused of throwing a wine bottle at an ex-girlfriend, Brittany Brunelle. The case was dropped in January after she recanted her story and refused to cooperate.
— Following another domestic confrontation, he was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after his then-girlfriend said he pointed a gun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of the house they shared. Samantha Scheibe decided not to cooperate with detectives, and prosecutors didn't pursue the case.
— Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared. Shellie Zimmerman initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was unarmed. No charges were filed because of a lack of evidence. The dispute occurred days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers.
Schneider reported from Orlando. Curt Anderson contributed from Miami.