A new witness has allegedly come forward to offer his account of what took place between Trayvon Martin and his shooter, George Zimmerman. Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman, who claims he fired in self-defense.
The witness, known only as John, told Sanford police that 17-year-old Martin was attacking Zimmerman before he fired the fatal shot. "The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on [Zimmerman] was yelling to me, 'Help, help…' and I told him to stop and I was calling 911," John told Fox 35 in Orlando.
"When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on top [Martin] beating up the other guy [Zimmerman] was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point." John's testimony could completely change the investigation if it is proved accurate.
All along, Zimmerman has claimed that he shot Martin in self-defense, even though he purposely followed Martin and disobeyed orders by a 911 dispatcher. Evidence released yesterday by Martin's girlfriend recorded the last moments of his life and lend credence to the belief that Martin did nothing to provoke Zimmerman.
Martin's friends have told reporters that they support the account of his innocence. "There's no way I can believe that because he's not a confrontational kid. It just wouldn't happen. That's just not that kid," said Martin's former football coach Jerome Horton.
The nation has been captivated by the case, and influential speakers including the Reverend Al Sharpton and President Barack Obama have called it a senseless tragedy. "When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids," Obama said in a press conference yesterday.
The Miami Heat, Florida's basketball team, donned hooded sweatshirts in memory of Martin, who was wearing one at the time of his death. Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera spoke out yesterday about the fact that Martin was wearing a hoodie, saying that the sweatshirt was as much to blame for Martin's death as Zimmerman was.
"But I bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way," Rivera said on Fox and Friends. "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was."
The backlash was swift and immediate, with people taking to Twitter, Facebook and organizing the Million Hoodie March in New York. The Department of Justice is officially investigating the matter, and Sanford's police chief has temporarily stepped down as a result of a "no confidence" vote about his capability to lead.