Florida Teen's Killing Erupts Into National Story

Trayvon Martin's family wants shooter George Zimmerman prosecuted
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2012 8:42 AM CDT
Florida Teen's Killing Erupts Into National Story
A picture of Trayvon Martin from an ABC News report.   (ABC News)

(Newser) – An unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Feb. 26, and Zimmerman has yet to be charged; now Reuters reports that the FBI is monitoring the controversial Sanford, Florida, case, which has garnered nationwide attention. Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking through a gated community back to his stepmother's house after going out to buy candy for his brother when Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious person. Zimmerman—who has called police 46 times since the beginning of 2011, the Miami Herald reports—was told by a dispatcher not to follow Martin, but did so anyway; he told authorities he shot the teen in self-defense.

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Martin's family has called for federal authorities to take over the case, and civil rights leaders have noted their alarm—Zimmerman, 28, is white, and reportedly specifically warned residents about unfamiliar black youth, although his father called him a "Spanish-speaking minority" in a letter to the Orlando Sentinel. Martin's family said Friday they would ask to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder. ABC, which notes that Zimmerman was never tested for drugs or alcohol the night Martin died, has Zimmerman's recently released 911 call as well as calls from others who witnessed the shooting. The Herald has more on Zimmerman as well as the Sanford police department, which has a history of racial tensions. The Sentinel notes that Florida college students are planning a rally this morning outside the criminal courts building where prosecutors are reviewing the case. (Read more Trayvon Martin stories.)

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