George Zimmermann, a resident of Florida who has been condemned for the alleged killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was defended by at least two friends on television interviews. A recording of a 911 call by a witness to the shooting is being cited as evidence that the young Martin may have been the aggressor in an incident that led to his death at the hand of Zimmermann, who was armed with a 9mm pistol.
Attorney Craig Sonner, who is serving as Zimmermann's legal advisor, says that his client is in hiding but is in contact with him and fearful for his life. In a television interview, a friend of ten years, Joe Oliver said confirmed that Zimmermann is living in fear and has been weeping disconsolately since the day of the killing. When asked whether Zimmermann is a racist, Oliver said that in his experience with the accused killer that there was nothing that would indicate such a prejudice.
Police reports, and community organizers who have put on rallies denouncing the killing, have identified Zimmermann as "white", while Zimmermann's own father describes him as "Hispanic".
Political figures such as Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan have denounced the local police department in Sanford, Florida, for failing to arrest Zimmermann, noting that Trayvon Martin was not armed at the time of his death. The New Black Panthers, have called for justice and offered a $10,000 reward for Zimmermann's capture. Movie director Spike Lee has tweeted George Zimmermann's address for worldwide consumption. Zimmermann is married.
President Barack Obama entered the issue by saying at the White House that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. Whether this statement may have an effect on an eventual trial on the matter remains to be seen, even as a grand jury will soon begin deliberations and the FBI continues its investigation of the local police department handling of the case.