There are new developments in the case involving the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black teenager in suburban Orlando. Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was visiting family in Sanford from his home in Miami on February 26. Martin was returning from the store when he was shot by self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who has not been charged by police.
Three witnesses contacted by the Miami Herald contradict Zimmerman's claims and say they heard the teen crying before the fatal gunshot.
Three witnesses contacted by The Miami Herald say they saw or heard the moments before and after the Miami Gardens teenager’s killing. All three said they heard the last howl for help from a despondent boy, and believe the sequence of sounds shatters the notion that Trayvon was killed in self-defense.
Police have not moved from their official statement of the shooting. But as the controversy grows, so does the number of voices disputing the official version that watch captain George Zimmerman gave to police: that the six-foot, three-inch, 140-pound teen assaulted him when Zimmerman, 28, tried to question him. In fear for his life, he pulled Kel Tek 9mm handgun from his waistband and shot.
"I heard someone crying — not boo-hoo crying, but scared or terrified or hurt maybe," said Mary Cutcher, 31, who lives in the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhome community where the shooting occurred. "To me, it was a child."
Cutcher adds that police have dismissed her account and refused to take her statement.
"We heard no fighting, no wrestling, no punching. We heard a boy crying. As soon as the shot went off, it stopped, which tells me it was the child crying. If it had been Zimmerman crying, it wouldn’t have stopped. If you’re hurting, you’re hurting."
"She and her friend say they heard the sounds from a few steps away, where they were inside beside an open window. Seconds later, they dashed out to find a boy face down on the ground and a man standing over him, a foot on each side of the body on the ground, with his hands pinning the shooting victim down.
"I asked him, 'What’s happening here? What’s going on?' " said Cutcher’s friend, Selma Mora Lamilla. "The third time, I was indignant, and he said, 'just call the police.' Then I saw him with his hands over his head in the universal sign of: 'Oh man, I messed up.'"
A 13-year-old boy walking his dog also heard crying. "I heard screaming and crying for help," Austin Brown told the Herald. "I heard, 'Help me.' "
On the evening of February 26, the 28-year-old Zimmerman called 911 to report a "suspicious" man, authorities said. The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to leave his SUV and confront Martin but he ignored their instructions. This was Zimmerman's "46th call in the past 14 months to report shady people" or other alleged disturbances, reports the Herald.
The Sanford Police Department has not explained why Zimmerman left his vehicle or how he and Martin came to be face to face. Zimmerman also reportedly made a comment about Martin's race on the 911 call, which police have refused to release.
Trayvon Martin was 140 pounds, nearly 100 lbs less than Zimmerman. The teen was unarmed and carrying a soda and Skittles. The case is now in the hands of the Seminole County State's Attorney.
Martin's family is requesting that the Department of Justice review the case. The family's attorney may "file a complaint against Sanford police for witness intimidation, tampering and obstruction of justice," reports the Orlando Sentinel.
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