Zimmerman's wife calls 911, won't press charges
By Kyle Hightower and Mike Schneider, Associated Press | 9/10/2013, 10:37 a.m.
LAKE MARY, Fla. (AP) -- The 911 call seemed frantic: George Zimmerman's sobbing estranged wife said he was threatening her and her father with a gun and she feared for her life. Please come.
Hours later, after police converged on the home Monday in an Orlando suburb and after speaking to her attorney, she changed her story, said Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell. She said she never saw a gun and that she and her father, whom she said Zimmerman had punched in the face, had no interest in pressing charges.
Police later said they did not find a gun on Zimmerman's person.
The encounter Monday was the latest in a string of events that have landed Zimmerman in the news since his acquittal July 13 of all charges for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Besides Shellie Zimmerman filing for divorce last week, George Zimmerman has twice been pulled over on suspicion of speeding and ticketed once. He's also appeared in photos at a gun maker that were published online and helped members of a family from their vehicle following a car wreck.
Monday's dispute involving the Zimmermans isn't uncommon for a couple in the midst of a divorce, said his attorney, Mark O'Mara, who led the defense team that secured the jury's not-guilty verdict. He said his client never threatened anyone with a gun and never punched his father-in-law.
Shellie Zimmerman had collected most of her belongings from the house where both she and her husband had been staying until she moved out. But she had returned unexpectedly Monday to gather the remaining items, and emotions got out of control, O'Mara said. Police talked to everyone about what happened, but neither side is pressing charges and no one was arrested.
"I know the 911 tape suggests that Shellie was saying something but I think that was heightened emotions," O'Mara said. "There may have been some pushing and touching. That happens a lot in divorce situations. ... Nobody was injured."
Her father also declined to press charges, the police chief said.
George Zimmerman's brother Robert Zimmerman Jr. tweeted after media reports surfaced about the dispute that "we've learned from GZ case not to 'jump to conclusions,' to wait for facts, & to avoid speculation. `News' is a business - not your friend."
Prosecutors, though, could still build a case based on surveillance video from cameras outside the house and also video from the squad cars of officers who responded. Florida law allows police officers to arrest someone for domestic violence without the consent of the victim.
But for the time being, "domestic violence can't be invoked because she has changed her story and says she didn't see a firearm," Bracknell said.
Shellie Zimmerman, 26, in her divorce filing last week, said she and her husband had separated a month after he was acquitted. She has asked that her husband pay for a permanent life insurance policy naming her as the beneficiary.
In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that aired last Friday, Shellie Zimmerman said of her husband: "I have a selfish husband and I think George is all about George." She also said her 29-year-old husband is reckless and feels invincible.
Shellie Zimmerman, who was convicted of perjury last month for lying about the couple's finances at her husband's bail hearing, initially told a 911 dispatcher Monday that her husband had his hand on his gun as he sat in his car outside the home.
On the 911 call, Shellie Zimmerman is sobbing and repeating "Oh my God" as she talks to a police dispatcher. She yells at her father to get inside the house, saying Zimmerman may start shooting at them.
"He's threatening all of us with a firearm ... He punched my dad in the nose," Shellie Zimmerman said on the call. "I don't know what he's capable of. I'm really scared." She also alleged that George Zimmerman had grabbed an iPad from her hand and smashed it.