The “suspicious” person who was shot and killed by the neighborhood watch captain was a 17-year-old boy who had just bought some candy for his younger brother.
Chief Bill Lee of the Sanford Police Department on Thursday evening said the account given by Martin’s family and attorney is correct, that Zimmerman saw the young man walking home from the store. He said that Zimmerman did indeed call 911 and report a suspicious person, and that he was told not to follow him.
“For some reason he felt that Trayvon, the way that he was walking or appeared seemed suspicious to him,” Lee said. “He called this in and at one part of this initial call [the dispatcher] recommends him not to follow Trayvon. A police officer is on the way at that point.”
Lee said that Zimmerman instead followed Martin.
“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.
Lee said that Zimmerman has a legal permit to carry the weapon used in the shooting, and that he told police that he shot Martin in self-defense.
I guess the lesson here is that if you’re an African-American teenager whose father lives in a gated community, do not go to visit your father at his home. If you must visit your father, do not think about leaving the house after dark. You will be considered “suspicious,” you may be followed, and if you argue about being put under this scrutiny, you may be shot. The shooter will continue to be in charge of the neighborhood watch, and he will be allowed to continue carrying a loaded gun. Your presence in the neighborhood will be considered “out of place” and will accordingly be reported.