News

George Zimmerman threatens wife with a gun

George Zimmerman threatens wife with a gun

George Zimmerman, right, is escorted to a home by a Lake Mary police officer, center, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in Lake Mary, Fla., after a domestic incident in the neighborhood where Zimmerman and his wife Shellie had lived during his murder trial. Zimmerman's wife says on a 911 call that her estranged husband punched her father in the nose, grabbed an iPad out of her hand and smashed it and threatened them both with a gun. Zimmerman was recently found not guilty for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Photo: Associated Press/John Raoux

By Barbara Liston

LAKE MARY, Florida (Reuters) – George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted of murder two months ago in the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, was questioned on Monday by police after his estranged wife called 911 saying he threatened her with a gun.

“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,” a breathless and clearly scared Shellie Zimmerman told the police emergency operator, according to the 911 call released by police.

“He’s just threatening all of us with his firearm,” she added.

Shellie Zimmerman, who filed for divorce last week, also said her husband had punched her father in the nose and smashed her iPad.

“I don’t know what he’s capable of. I’m really, really scared,” she told the 911 operator.

Lake Mary, Florida, police spokesman Zach Hudson said no one had been arrested or injured after police officers were called to a house belonging to Shellie Zimmerman’s father, David Dean.

At one point she told her father to take cover. “Dad, Dad, get inside the house. George might start shooting at us,” she can be heard shouting.

“Oh my God, oh my God,” she added, breaking down in tears.

Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell later said Shellie and her father did not to plan to press charges.

Zimmerman, 29, was briefly put in a patrol car and later the former neighborhood watchman accused his wife of being the aggressor in the incident, he said.

“There was an altercation and one party put their hands on another party,” Hudson added. “We’re still trying to figure out who touched whom.”

Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara blamed the incident on “fallout” from the Martin case, as well as heightened emotions over the impending divorce. “No one is filing charges against anybody,” he said, adding that he had heard the 911 call. “Emotions are running very high,” he added.

O’Mara confirmed Zimmerman had his gun on him. “He was armed … He put his hand (on the gun) to make sure it was holstered,” he said. “He knows how to carry responsibly.”

Police initially took away Zimmerman’s gun, but O’Mara said it was later returned to his client.

Shellie Zimmerman’s lawyer was also at the scene but did not return calls seeking comment.

The three-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac in a leafy suburb of Orlando was where the couple lived during George Zimmerman’s month-long trial, said Shellie’s brother, David Dean Jr.

Shellie, 26, and her father arrived on Monday with a truck and a trailer to remove her belongings from the house after she filed for divorce last week.

Zimmerman was acquitted on July 13 of murdering Martin as the 17-year-old walked back to the townhouse where he was staying after buying snacks at a nearby convenience store. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in February 2012 in self-defense.

The shooting and trial in the central Florida town of Sanford polarized the U.S. public on issues of race, gun laws and self-defense laws.

Zimmerman’s life has been tumultuous since his acquittal. Family friends say he left central Florida shortly after the trial.

He has twice been stopped for speeding in recent weeks.

Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce last Thursday and told ABC News that the trial had strained their marriage of six years.

John Donnelly, a family friend who testified in George Zimmerman’s defense at trial, said that Shellie was “devastated” when her husband “just packed up and left” after his acquittal.

Shellie had lost touch with him and had grown increasingly upset, Donnelly said.

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