News Guide: Q&A in the Trayvon Martin Shooting

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, April 11 2012 4:40 p.m. MDT

This combo made from file photos shows Trayvon Martin, left, and George Zimmerman. The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager _ Martin _ by a neighborhood watch volunteer _ Zimmerman _ led to nationwide protests calling for the shooter's arrest. Martin's parents, civil rights leaders and other people are portraying the case as racially charged, saying the Zimmerman would have been arrested had he been black and the victim white. Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense after Martin pursued and attacked him. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

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SANFORD, Fla. — The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a neighborhood watch volunteer led to nationwide protests calling for the shooter's arrest. Trayvon Martin's parents, civil rights leaders and other people are portraying the case as racially charged, saying the shooter, George Zimmerman, would have been arrested had he been black and the victim white.

Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense after Martin pursued and attacked him.

The case has raised a multitude of questions, some of which remain unanswered. Here are some of the answers and some of what's not known.

Q: WHAT HAPPENED?

A: Martin, 17, was shot and killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest Feb. 26 during a confrontation with Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community of townhomes in Sanford, Fla., about 20 miles northeast of Orlando.

Zimmerman was driving through the neighborhood when he spotted Martin, who was unarmed and walking to the home of his father's fiancee. She lived in the same gated community as Zimmerman.

Martin was returning from a trip to the convenience store with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. It was raining, and Martin was walking with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head. He talked to his girlfriend on a cellphone moments before the shooting, according to Martin's family's attorney.

Q: WHAT IS GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S SIDE OF THE STORY?

A: On his website, therealgeorgezimmerman.com, Zimmerman has described the shooting as "a life altering event" but he says he can't go into details about what happened.

"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," he said on the site.

Zimmerman has told police that he spotted Martin as he was driving through his neighborhood and called 911 to report a suspicious person.

"This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something," Zimmerman told the dispatcher from his truck. He added that the teen had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes.

"These a-------. They always get away," Zimmerman said on a 911 call.

There had been several break-ins in the community in the past year, including one in which burglars took a TV and laptops.

A dispatcher told Zimmerman he didn't need to follow Martin after Zimmerman got out of his truck and started following the teen.

Zimmerman told police he lost sight of the teenager and was walking back to his vehicle when he was attacked. He and Martin fought, according to witnesses. Zimmerman said Martin punched him in the nose and slammed his head against the ground.

At some point, Zimmerman pulled a gun and shot Martin. Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense.

Police said Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head. He told police he had yelled out for help before he shot Martin.

He has not been arrested or charged, but a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the special prosecutor in the case plans to arrest and charge him. The prosecutor has announced a news conference for 6 p.m. Wednesday, but hasn't said what information she will release.

Q: WHAT IS THE MARTIN FAMILY'S SIDE OF THE STORY?

A: Much of Martin's side of the story comes from a cellphone conversation he had with his girlfriend moments before the shooting. She was interviewed by the family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, and he released much of what she said to the news media. She has not been identified.

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