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Nation reacts to shooting death of unarmed Florida teen

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 4/16/2013, 4:34 p.m.
Floridians divided over state's stand your ground laws

"All he wanted to do was go to the store, come back from the store and go home. That's all he wanted to do," said Tracy Martin in an interview with the AmNews, speaking about the shooting death of his son, Trayvon, in Sanford, Fla., which has now garnered national attention.

"He got killed simply going to the store," Martin continued. "He didn't ask for any of that. He didn't approach this individual or anything. As a father, I'm trying to hold my stability. If I break down right now, my son's death will be in vain.

"My son never had a run-in with the law. My son was simply killed because it was raining, he had on a hoodie and he was not known to this gentleman. I'd like to see justice."

Martin offered these words on the night he arrived in New York City before heading to a slew of scheduled interviews the following day with mainstream media outlets, accompanied by his attorney, to tell his story.

The word "outrage" is not nearly enough to describe the nation's reaction to the shooting death of the Black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of a white man who has also been identified as a multiracial, light-skinned Hispanic man, George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman has yet to be arrested and charged in the shooting, claiming self-defense to justify the shooting of the 17-year-old who had aspirations of becoming an aviation mechanic.

The incident took place Feb. 26, when Trayvon left the house of his father's girlfriend in a gated community to go to the 7-Eleven to buy candy and iced tea. On his way back home, Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain, spotted him.

Trayvon was speaking on his cell phone to his girlfriend, who reported earlier this week that he told her a strange man was following him. She told him to run.

"I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast," she told ABC News. "I told him to run, but he said he was not going to run.

"Trayvon said, 'What are you following me for?' and the man said, 'What are you doing here?' she described. "Next thing I hear is pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the headset just fell. I called him again and he didn't answer the phone."

Prior to the confrontation, reports indicate that Zimmerman called 911 when he spotted Trayvon in the neighborhood. Tapes released earlier this week show the contents of Zimmerman's suspicions.

"This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something," Zimmerman told 911 dispatchers. He then described what Trayvon was wearing: "A dark hoodie, like a gray hoodie, and either jeans or sweat pants and white tennis shoes."

The dispatcher instructed Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon, adding that police would take care of the situation. Zimmerman ignored the order. Some reports indicate that while he was walking to confront Trayvon, Zimmerman said "f--ing coon" under his breath.

Witnesses say a scuffle ensued between Zimmerman and Trayvon, followed by Zimmerman shooting Trayvon in the chest. "No! No!" and "Help! Help! Help!" along with agonizing screams could be heard, believed to be coming from Trayvon.