Unarmed teen shot dead in self defense

SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior MemberPosts: 5,458 Senior Member
Don't know if it has been posted anywhere on here, but this story is getting quite a bit of publicity. I don't have enough facts to give a good opinion of the subject, but here is the link to the article:

http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-12/justice/justice_florida-teen-shot_1_martin-family-gated-community-dispatcher?_s=PM:JUSTICE

Question is, how easily could something like this (same outcome, not necessarily the same circumstances) happen where we felt our life was in immediate danger then there ended up being no weapon to speak of on the deceased? You can guarantee if I draw and shoot, it is because I felt the level of danger to my person warranted it, but that can get blurry when there is darkness and unknowns... What do you guys think?
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Replies

  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,245 Senior Member
    Corollary: how likely are you to get out of your vehicle and chase down the person who you think is suspicious? 911 operators advised Zimmerman to stay in the vehicle. He got out. I don't know how the wresting match started, but were I in the kid's place, yeah, I might run, especially if I wasn't doing anything suspicious.

    That being said, I have a feeling there's more to this story than meets the eye.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • xLPlushyxLPlushy New Member Posts: 18 New Member
    ^x2. Even though it's not mandatory to follow the dispatchers advidce, it is highly recommended. They are advising you to do what they feel to be the safest for all parties involved based on the info that you are giving them.

    ETA: You have already done the right thing by calling 911 and reporting the "suspicious" individual. IMO why involve yourself any further IF there isn't a crime being committed, especially a crime that can put YOUR life in jeopardy. As bream said, there's more to the story than we're being told. If I was the shooter I simply would have notified the police and maintained visual contact until the LEO's arrived, unless a crime was being committed against me, then there would have been different actions taken-most likely less than lethal in this case.


    Tapatalked via iPhone
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Scary story, because any of us might overreact (as it seems this guy did) in a tense situation. That is, unless we keep our cool.

    Just from the story (and as bream says, there's probably more to the story), the shooter was in his vehicle, the kid on foot. The kid offered no real threat to the shooter. I mean, roll up your windows or simply drive away if you feel you're in jeopardy, right?

    Instead he got out and either pursued or confronted the kid. Why? If he were a LEO then yes, that's his duty to maintain order and if someone's (maybe) floating around where he shouldn't be, yes, the LEO would question him. But still, shoot him? Not likely. Unless previously attacked or a gun is seen or some other felony in progress, LEOs don't shoot at fugitives much any more.

    I can only make suppositions based on the story, but this guy being a "neighborhood watch commander" may have had "mall ninja" thoughts about being a REAL cop. That happens occasionally, usually with unwelcome results.

    I do know this: I've never been an LEO nor have I ever carried a weapon except as a private citizen. And ALL my training, even from the earlier, more, er, "random" years, has emphasized that I never never never shoot unless my life or property are immediately in jeopardy. I've said this before, but it bears repeating: "Don't confuse vigilance with vigilantism".

    Of course we don't know the whole story and can only presuppose. Florida being fairly lenient with their self defense laws, this guy may get a pass.

    Still, I think it's an excellent example posting (thanks!) because it highlights the quick judgment calls we might face and gives us something else to ponder.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • gunrunner428gunrunner428 Senior Member Posts: 1,018 Senior Member
    That being said, I have a feeling there's more to this story than meets the eye.

    :that:

    Much, much more.

    At first look, the shooter was WAY too aggressive for his position - "neighborhood watchman" in a gated community. Not a security officer, not a police officer (public or private) on patrol, sounds like an overzealous dude with a deluded sense of self-righteousness.

    Then again, that could just be a result of the slant of the reporting.

    Questions to ask are: Was there a curfew, and was the kid aware of this? Was the kid a regular resident, or as the report says, jus visiting "dad's" house? What is recorded on the 911 tapes, was there a verbal altercation or challenge on either side? Comparative physical sizes (the kid is a 17-year old FOOTBALL PLAYER - not a lightweight, depending on position played) and the "watchman's" physical build, condition, and age is not mentioned - there could still be a disparaty of force in the shooter's favor here.

    The news media is notorious for coloring the story the way they want by the inclusion or omission of whatever facts support their bias, we need, as Paul Harvey says, "the rest of the story."
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,245 Senior Member
    The neighborhood watch dude looks pretty stocky. He also was an unofficial watch man, i.e. there doesn't seem to be an organized, police recognized neighborhood watch program in place. He's made over 40 calls to 911 since January 2012, evidently, and he was arrested in 2005 for assaulting a police officer. Which might be why he's been denied applications at local police departments.

    I don't believe that Sanford has a curfew. The kid was visiting. I don't know about if there was an altercation recorded, reports are conflicting. The watchman is 28. Also, pics of the kid don't show him to be that big.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • gunrunner428gunrunner428 Senior Member Posts: 1,018 Senior Member
    Thanks, bream; a more complete picture takes shape. Still a lot of unanswered questions, biggest for me was WHY IN THE BLUE BLAZES was this neighborhood watch ninja so anxious to mix it up that he disregarded the instructions/suggestions of the 911 dispatcher (granted, many are not trained in law enforcement so much as they are in strict communications) and leave the car to confront the kid?
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,245 Senior Member
    I think the answer may lie in the question of: why hasn't he gotten an LE job?
    Overkill is underrated.
  • bobbyrlf3bobbyrlf3 Senior Member Posts: 2,475 Senior Member
    Listening to the 911 call the watchman placed, he clearly was not in any danger before he started following the kid, at which point the dispatcher told him "we don't need you to do that". The guy ignored the dispatcher and kept following. However much more there is to the story, that's where I would have drawn my line. Report, observe, but do not follow, unless an attack on a person is imminent, which was not the case here. Some of the other 911 calls from neighbors don't paint this in a positive light for the watchman either.
    Knowledge is essential to living freely and fully; understanding gives knowledge purpose and strength; wisdom is combining the two and applying them appropriately in words and actions.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    He should have followed the dispatchers instructions.
    He had no business in engaging the young man any further.

    Edited to add:

    I remember a gated community in N.Y.C., and if you were not a resident, you almost needed an act of Congress to enter, a resident had to vouch for you as a visitor, even as a LEO, you needed a warrant to enter the gate, or prove pursuit of some kind, they did not have security guards, they had a Police force and deputized agents under the Special Patrolman provision of the N.Y.S penal code.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,273 Senior Member
    xLPlushy wrote: »
    ^x2. Even though it's not mandatory to follow the dispatchers advidce, it is highly recommended. They are advising you to do what they feel to be the safest for all parties involved based on the info that you are giving them.

    Slight thread drift here; I've known a LOT of dispatchers, was one for a time...while some of them are VERY good at what they do (the very best being those who have LE, Fire, EMS background)...there are lots of others who are, to put it kindly, idiots...which you get when you call is a crap shoot....but in the end....I call 911 to report an incident and get a response moving my way, not to get advice on the particular pickle I'm in...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,273 Senior Member
    Thanks, bream; a more complete picture takes shape. Still a lot of unanswered questions, biggest for me was WHY IN THE BLUE BLAZES was this neighborhood watch ninja so anxious to mix it up that he disregarded the instructions/suggestions of the 911 dispatcher (granted, many are not trained in law enforcement so much as they are in strict communications) and leave the car to confront the kid?

    Good point! The job of Neighborhood Watch EVERYWHERE is to "Observe and Report"....period....while I can see carrying a firearm for SD purposes, any other use of said firearm is pretty much forbidden. I could be wrong, but from what I'm reading the shooter should have stuck to his cell phone and flashlight.
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,854 Senior Member
    Still a lot of unanswered questions, biggest for me was WHY IN THE BLUE BLAZES was this neighborhood watch ninja so anxious to mix it up that he disregarded the instructions/suggestions of the 911 dispatcher

    Sorry, couldn't help but wonder if our old friend Gecko45 found himself a "job".

    Seriously, I know it's feeding into the media hype, but overzealous neighborhood watchguy vs. "suspicious looking" black teenager walking at night in a rich white neighborhood...sometimes the most obvious answer is the right one.
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • xLPlushyxLPlushy New Member Posts: 18 New Member
    Jayhawker, first off thanks for the service to the community as a dispatcher. Second off, myself having a background in fire/EMS I understand it's a crap-shoot as to how well versed your dispatcher is. And finally, I dial 911 for that same reason, report an incident and start units responding, however dispatchers generally(at least our county's dispatchers) give you instructions as to what to do...i.e. A car accident, check for injuries and advise said dispatcher, advise how many vehicles, if they are blocking traffic, etc, etc, etc and then they say to get off the road so you don't block traffic and advise you to stay there until PD, Fire, EMS arrives as the responding officer will likely want a statement from you. At least that's my experience locally. I'm not trying to say it's going to be the same in every county and parish in the country.


    Tapatalked via iPhone
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Posts: 5,458 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    .there are lots of others who are, to put it kindly, idiots...which you get when you call is a crap shoot....but in the end....I call 911 to report an incident and get a response moving my way, not to get advice on the particular pickle I'm in...

    This. I don't trust 75% of the dispatchers half as far as I could push them in their rolling office chairs...
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,273 Senior Member
    A little more thread drift....

    When I was working the streets either on an Engine or in an ambulance, there was one dispatcher who was good...and I mean VERY good...you could count on her from the second the call went down to the time we returned to the station...directions were always spot on, no matter how obscure the location was, regular welfare checks, appropriate additional units en-route almost before we asked for them. Articulate too...knew the difference between a truck and an engine and who did what...She enunciated when she spoke...You could actually understand what she was saying on the radio.....and all the while talking a scared person through CPR or comforting a terrified child....truly phenomenal at what she did.....she was actually so darn good....I married her....:tooth: Chased her til she caught me....(this ones for you honey! :up:)
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,380 Senior Member
    I was listening about this on NPR tonight. Obviously, the story was framed as a black/white thing and there is some merit to it, but anyway...

    Florida has a "stand your ground" law and I feel that the neighborhood watch guy went waaaaaaaaay past the standing your ground stage and went into ninja mode. I am sure that there is more to this, but from what I know at this point, it is a bad shoot. It is one thing if the guy found the kid breaking into a house or something and quite another if he is just walking around. There was absolutely no reason to confront the kid. Police were dispatched, and the last I knew, looking "suspicious" (or from what I have heard-- "being black") is not a crime.

    Standing your ground is one thing. Pursuing and forcing a confrontation is another.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Last night Fox News said the kid had a clean record, but was suspended from school...no big big deal. Shooter said he thought he went for something in his pocket, he did, it was Skittles. Now the Feds are investigating it as a hate crime. So far the Buffoon makes us all (CCWs) look bad and the antis are jumping all over it and using it to make arguments against CCW and the FLA Stand Your Ground/ No Retreat/Castle Doctrine Law. How that law plays into this is yet to be seen.


    Now Al Sharpton is coming down to Sanford FLA to make racial hay outta the tragedy. Who is next...Jesse Jackson and The Brady Bunch??????????

    This is bad press for all of us legal law abiding CCWs/gun-owners who would of had better sense than to shoot some unarmed kid and opens up a whole new can of worms and gives the Antis plenty of (pardon the expression) ammo.

    Looks like a bad shoot to me, but I don't know all the facts.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,738 Senior Member
    Living here in Florida, this is getting lots of attention in the news, as it should. This morning, they pointed out that the kid was walking along, drinking his iced tea, and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone when when the armed guy approached him. The girfriend supposedly heard the conversation between the kid and the shooter but none of that is being released. They also pointed out that the shooter is going to school and studying criminal justice. So far, it really looks like a bad shooting and the outrage is because the shooter was not held or charged with anything.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,245 Senior Member
    And... more is uncovered...

    http://gma.yahoo.com/trayvon-martin-killing-911-tape-reveals-possible-racial-005007672--abc-news.html

    Possible racial slur, using a narcotics officer to investigate a possible homicide, no drug or alcohol test on the shooter, slowly releasing 911 tapes, and the girlfriend's recounting of the cell phone conversation.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • gunrunner428gunrunner428 Senior Member Posts: 1,018 Senior Member
    As more emerges, the "self-appointed" [!] "neighborhood watch leader" is a moron. Mug shot on file from a 2005 arrest (probably why he ISN'T working on any official police force) a chip on his shoulder when it comes to those who happen to be of a different race, and if the latest link is accurate, would be taken to be the threat by pursuing a kid.

    While Trayvon told his girlfriend he "put his hoodie on" because a man was watching him (a move to hide his face?) he was avoiding an unknown potential assailant who, truth is, looks like the stereotypical white supremacist bigot (first impressions are a double-edged sword here, Mr. Neighborhood Watch!) And it seems the local police are mishandling so many facets of this investigation, it's gonna be interesting to see the fallout!
  • mythaeusmythaeus Senior Member Posts: 831 Senior Member
    There are more damning details, even if only media reports, summarized here and links to the articles cited:
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/03/18/446768/what-everyone-should-know-about-about-trayvon-martin-1995-2012/?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150670597153836_21799710_10150674585038836&&mobile=nc
    Jermanator wrote: »
    I was listening about this on NPR tonight. Obviously, the story was framed as a black/white thing and there is some merit to it, but anyway...

    Florida has a "stand your ground" law and I feel that the neighborhood watch guy went waaaaaaaaay past the standing your ground stage and went into ninja mode. I am sure that there is more to this, but from what I know at this point, it is a bad shoot. It is one thing if the guy found the kid breaking into a house or something and quite another if he is just walking around. There was absolutely no reason to confront the kid. Police were dispatched, and the last I knew, looking "suspicious" (or from what I have heard-- "being black") is not a crime.

    Standing your ground is one thing. Pursuing and forcing a confrontation is another.

    This is the biggest issue for me. A case like this gives Stand Your Ground a REALLY bad name and will make it that much more difficult for other states to pass SYG. It also gives the anti a lot more to label gun carrying people as "trigger happy". I really want to stick with innocent until proven guilty here, but so many reported facts that have been consistent to show major wrong-doing by Zimmerman, as the article above pointed out. What gets me is the police interpretation of SYG. I wonder if they purposely wanted to give SYG a bad name because they were the ones against it in the first place. EVEN with SYG, especially when the person who died is unarmed, there's a lot of room for affirmative defense (i.e charged with homicide and only absolved if deemed justified by jury). Taking words of the shooter and seemingly ignore or failed to look into the rest of the evident, even if circumstantial, is miserable LE failure, IMHO. Something about this whole thing stinks.

    Al
    "In a controversy, the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves." - Siddhartha Gautama
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,229 Senior Member
    News media is playing this for all it's worth. Trayvon was 6'2" tall; the photo they are using is from several years ago when he was 12-13 y.o. Zimmerman is of Cuban extraction. He was arrested for being in an altercation with a cop during an arrest of his friend. Plea bargained down from assault on an officer so he could have a CCW. There are few facts out there, but there is a dump truck load of conjecture and innuendo making the rounds. Let the judicial system hash it out; innocent until proven guilty still applies.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • BullgatorBullgator Member Posts: 393 Member
    Seriously, I know it's feeding into the media hype, but overzealous neighborhood watchguy vs. "suspicious looking" black teenager walking at night in a rich white neighborhood...sometimes the most obvious answer is the right one.

    What makes you think this was a "rich white neighborhood"? From what the local radio was saying the neighborhood was experiencing a lot of break-ins. Also it seems the racial makeup of the neighborhood is roughly 50% White, 25% Black, and 25% Hispanic. I believe those numbers are on par with the racial makeup of the city of Sanford.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Regardless of anything, the neighborhood watch guy, once he had reported a "suspicious person" and thereby having discharged his responsibility in the matter, he should have:

    1. Stayed in his car

    2. Have nothing to say to that person.

    3. If approached by said person, driven away.

    Things probably escalated quickly and got way out of hand due to a lack of sensitivity on certain issues, a lack of training and good judgement and "common sense", and a failure to follow simple instructions.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,854 Senior Member
    Bullgator wrote: »
    What makes you think this was a "rich white neighborhood"? From what the local radio was saying the neighborhood was experiencing a lot of break-ins. Also it seems the racial makeup of the neighborhood is roughly 50% White, 25% Black, and 25% Hispanic. I believe those numbers are on par with the racial makeup of the city of Sanford.

    The media (which is the only source any of us have on this story)...they always make reference to the fact that it was a "gated community" and implications that it was a well to do area of town. It's true it could have been a poor, multicultural gated community, but I'm not as familiar with those. In all of the cities I've ever lived in, the majority of gated communities are in the more wealthy areas of town and have demographics that skew towards the paler side on average. You could be right though this could have just been a gated apartment/condo complex or something that the media is just trying to make sound different than it actually is. The speech and actions of Zimmerman however tend to reinforce the idea that a black teenage walking through the community was not a common or expected thing and that at least Zimmerman did not believe he had a legitimate reason for being there. I guess the counterpoint is that Zimmerman managed to live there so the area couldn't be all that nice...
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,847 Senior Member
    I guess the counterpoint is that Zimmerman managed to live there so the area couldn't be all that nice...

    Best analysis of the area I have seen so far.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,245 Senior Member
    Neighborhood's "meh." Evidently Zimmerman lives in a house he does not own. A news report I read indicated very few blacks in the community.

    Here's some of the homes for sale there:
    http://www.rprealty.com/subd.cfm?subd=1111

    http://www.easystreetrealty-orlando.com/sanford/retreat-at-twin-lakes-townhouses
    Overkill is underrated.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    I heard the talking heads this morning, I was still half asleep, but they seemed to have problems with this guys use of the word "punks" getting in and vandalism etc....
    The gated communities I have had reason to visit in the past, seemed to be made up of a majority of senior citizens, mostly white, and patrols of armed (mostly retired) uniformed LEOs in security marked golf carts, and marked patrol vehicles, and they would ask anyone they knew was not a resident, the nature of their business in that area.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,854 Senior Member
    Neighborhood's "meh." Evidently Zimmerman lives in a house he does not own. A news report I read indicated very few blacks in the community.

    Here's some of the homes for sale there:
    http://www.rprealty.com/subd.cfm?subd=1111

    http://www.easystreetrealty-orlando.com/sanford/retreat-at-twin-lakes-townhouses

    Thanks for finding. Facts are always better than guesses. That being said let me guess some more :tooth: ....

    (yes this is all conjecture) Looks like a typical exurban community built at the height of the housing boom targeted at yuppies and young families that got absolutely crushed by the housing collapse. Would be absolutely shocked if at least 25% weren't either in default or foreclosed already. Tons of places like that in AZ too. After the collapse demographics in many of them changed rather significantly as the prices plunged. If Zimmerman lived their from the beginning I could see how both the real and persevered decline of the neighborhood could have gotten to him and could have been a driver of his perceived obsession with protecting the neighborhood.
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,245 Senior Member
    Your guessing's pretty good. The community is near a large local mall and an interstate. As with many of the places, it probably has had the default/foreclosures.

    I live about 20 miles from the place. Here's a Google map link to one of the homes.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&q=1251+retreat+view+circle,+sanford,+fl&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x88e71298ff6b234d:0x852d8bdb18bc4de6,1251+Retreat+View+Cir,+Sanford,+FL+32771&gl=us&ei=7VNqT5WKBcOzsALI5vChCQ&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CCAQ8gEwAA
    Overkill is underrated.
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