While members of the public hold rallies to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African-American teen fatally shot last month by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, new details in the case have emerged that suggest Zimmerman may have fired his gun in self-defense.
Reactions to the incident range from accusations that Zimmerman, who is Hispanic and white, was motivated by racism and shot Martin without just cause, which sparked calls for his arrest and many branding him a murderer. Zimmerman, however, claims that Martin attacked him first and gave him a bloody nose, which left him with no choice but to shoot in self-defense.
Now, a new police report and a man who claims to be a witness of the incident seem to back Zimmerman's story.
"The guy on the bottom who I believe had a red sweater on was yelling to me help, help. I told him to stop and I was calling 911. And then when I got upstairs and looked down, the person that was on top beating up the other guy was the one laying in the grass. And I believe he was dead at that point," said a man identified as John on Fox News program "The O'Reilly Factor." While the information has not been confirmed, it is believed that the man in the red sweater referenced in the account was Zimmerman, which fits with the neighborhood watchman's story.
A Sanford police report also confirms that Zimmerman was found by responding officers bleeding from his head, with grass covering his back as if he had been on the ground.
At the time of the shooting, Martin was also apparently serving a suspension from a Miami-Dade County school because traces of marijuana had been found in a plastic bag in his book bag, a family spokesman admitted.
Still, Martin's parents have argued that the suspension should play no bearing on how their son is viewed, and protested against the police report that suggests Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.
"They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation," said Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, told reporters.
Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, shot and killed the teen on Feb. 26 during a confrontation in a gated residential community in Sanford, Fla. Martin, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, was reportedly on his cell phone while walking home from the store when he was confronted by Zimmeran. Zimmerman, who was instructed during his call to 911 to not follow Martin, was not arrested or charged in the deadly shooting because of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows the use of deadly force in certain cases of self-defense. Zimmeran is reportedly said to be in hiding.
Protests continued through Monday, with students from Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University chanting "I am Trayvon!" and "Arrest Zimmerman now!" on the steps of the Georgia state Capitol. The students and supporters wore hoodies imprinted with "I am Trayvon Martin." Their signs read: "Don't shoot!" and "I could be next." The protest reportedly ended with the crowd linking hands and singing, "We Shall Overcome."