- Reuters/Orange County Sheriff's Office
George Zimmerman, 28-year-old Florida neighborhood watchman who sparked a public outcry after killing an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February, has launched a website where he is asking people for financial support.
On the website, which was launched over the weekend at TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com, Zimmerman described what he has been through since fatally shooting Martin, which resulted in tense racial relations across the country.
"On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage," Zimmerman wrote on his website. "As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life."
When the news about Martin's death broke, rumors of bounties for Zimmerman's life surfaced. Zimmerman took to his website to ask for monetary support, since he is unable to work since doing so may compromise his safety.
"I have created a Paypal account solely linked on this website as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment," Zimmerman wrote on the website. "I will also personally, maintain accountability of all funds received. I reassure you, every donation is appreciated."
Despite Zimmerman's letter to his supporters, many have expressed outrage at what they perceive as his racial profiling that ended Martin's life in a Sanford, Fla., gated community. Zimmerman killed the unarmed Martin in what he told police was self-defense on Feb. 26, and has not been charged with any offense to date.
Martin's family and many people in the African-American community have signed a petition on www.change.org calling for a further investigation by authorities for what they believe is a hate crime. Many supporters have worn hoodies similar to that of Martin, as some observers believe it may have contributed to him being targeted by Zimmerman.
Although Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the Martin case, said she will not convene a grand jury in the case, an investigation is still pending. Orlando's WFTV reported that Zimmerman may turn himself into police sometime this week.