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Zimmerman's wife won't press charges despite call

By Kyle Hightower & Mike Schneider

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:17 p.m. HST, Sep 09, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. >> The sobbing wife of George Zimmerman called 911 today to report that her estranged husband was threatening her with a gun and had punched her father in the nose, but hours later decided not to press charges against the man acquitted of all charges for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin.

Lake Mary police officers were still investigating the encounter as a domestic dispute, but no charges had been filed Monday afternoon. Shellie Zimmerman left the house after being questioned by police. George Zimmerman remained there into early evening and his attorney denied any wrongdoing by his client. He was not arrested.

Shellie Zimmerman, who has filed for divorce, initially told a 911 dispatcher that her husband had his hand on his gun as he sat in his car outside the home she was at with her father. She said she was scared because she wasn't sure what Zimmerman was capable of doing. Hours later she changed her story and said she never saw a firearm, said Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell.

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.

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 said he grabbed an iPad from her hand and smashed it.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said his client never threatened his estranged wife and her father with a gun and never punched his father-in-law. Shellie Zimmerman had collected most of her belongings Saturday from the house, which is owned by her parents, where she and George had both been staying there until she moved out. She had returned unexpectedly Monday to gather the remaining items. Emotions got out of control, but neither side is filing charges against the other, O'Mara said.

"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.

Prosecutors 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.

Police spokesman Zach Hudson said the estranged husband and wife were blaming each other for being the aggressor and that police officers were sorting through their accounts.

Shellie Zimmerman in her divorce filing last week said she and her husband had separated a month after he was acquitted of any crime for fatally shooting the 17-year-old Martin in Sanford, not far from where Monday's investigation happened.

Shellie Zimmerman asked the dispatcher to send an ambulance to check her father out. A fire department ambulance arrived at the house but nobody needed to be transported, Hudson said.

"The call went out as a 911 call that Mr. Zimmerman was threatening them with a firearm," Hudson said. "We're trying to see if that's true or not."

In her divorce petition, Shellie Zimmerman asked that her husband pay for a permanent life insurance policy with her named as the beneficiary, according to a divorce petition made public last week.

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that aired last Friday, Zimmerman said her husband left her with "a bunch of pieces of broken glass" after the acquittal. She said he only stayed in their house three or four nights since the trial ended and that they even tried counseling. But she moved out Aug. 13.

"I have a selfish husband and I think George is all about George," she said.

George Zimmerman's brother Robert Zimmerman Jr., tweeted after the news got out of the dispute at the home 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."

Last month, Shellie Zimmerman, 26, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying about the couple's finances during a bail hearing following her husband's arrest after Martin's shooting.

George Zimmerman, 29, said he acted in self-defense when he killed Martin and the polarizing case opened up national discussions on self-defense laws and race. Martin was black. Zimmerman has a white father and Hispanic mother.

Shellie Zimmerman was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service. Her husband did not attend the sentencing hearing in the Sanford courtroom.

Zimmerman has been involved with a domestic case at least once before. In 2005, Zimmerman's former fiancee filed for a restraining order against Zimmerman, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman responded by requesting a restraining order against his then-fiancee.

Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has gotten a speeding ticket in Florida and was pulled over on suspicion of speeding on a highway near Dallas but not ticketed.

Forney police stopped Zimmerman as he drove west on U.S. 80, about 20 miles east of Dallas. A police dashcam video released July 31 shows an officer interacting with Zimmerman and letting him go with a warning.

The officer can be heard saying, "Just take it easy. Go ahead and shut your glove compartment. Don't play with your firearm."

Although the officer's comments indicated Zimmerman had a gun, a weapon can't be seen and it's not clear that he had one. However, Zimmerman had a concealed weapons permit in Florida that would be also recognized under Texas law. The gun used in Martin's shooting remains in the custody of the federal government, which is looking into a possible civil rights case.


Schneider reported from Orlando.

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Slow wrote:
Any Zimmerman supporters care to speak up? Or maybe he was justified in standing his ground against his wife and father in law. Is he the NRA pinup boy of the year?
on September 9,2013 | 09:33AM
hanoz808 wrote:
it's cause he's free
on September 9,2013 | 10:30AM
2NDC wrote:
The man was acquitted. Leave him alone and let him get his life back in order.
on September 9,2013 | 10:42AM
hanalei395 wrote:
His life is "back in order". He is back with his gun.
on September 9,2013 | 11:14AM
copperwire9 wrote:
Do you believe that his life was 'in order' before he killed Mr. Martin?
on September 9,2013 | 04:12PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Many people make the mistake of equating acquittal or not guilty with innocent. That is not the case. the former merely means that the prosecutor presented insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The latter means he didn't do the crime he was charged with -- for example someone else did it. Zimmerman did kill a teenager. There was not proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did not think his life was in danger when he pulled the trigger. The problem the prosecution faced is that the only other witness to the killing is the person who was killed. It's for that reason why pirates killed everyone on the ships they captured -- dead men tell no tales.
on September 9,2013 | 06:30PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Mrs. Deedy .........watch out.
on September 9,2013 | 10:50AM
kelbells34 wrote:
Deedy, Bully with a Gun and Badge...Zimmerman, Bully with just a Gun. His wife probably left him because she knew the truth and didn't like it. We'll here a tell ALL from her soon. Take notes future jurors...This is what happens when you let a guilty man walk.
on September 9,2013 | 11:04AM
thepartyfirst wrote:
Guns do not kill people.
on September 9,2013 | 05:41PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Thepartyfirst, that's right -- people who wouldn't be able to kill someone without a gun kill people, instead of just bruising them, which would be the case if the killer didn't have a gun. Case in point, the preacher's kid who killed the innocent mother on the freeway. Maybe if you were the daughter of the mother who was killed by the preacher's kid and watched helplessly while someone you loved gets killed randomly you would have a different view of guns.
on September 9,2013 | 06:38PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Kelbells34. You hit the nail on the head. Once you let a killer loose, he feels free to engage in violence freely. After all, he got with murder once, he thinks he can get away with murder again.
on September 9,2013 | 06:33PM
lowtone123 wrote:
He may wind up in jail after all.
on September 9,2013 | 12:22PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
I haven't seen the mainstream media persecute an innocent man so hard since their rush to judgment against Richard Jewell over the Atlanta Olympic bombing.
on September 9,2013 | 12:52PM
NotNasti wrote:
She might be setting him up . . . posturing for her divorce case. It happens all the time in divorce cases. One spouse files a TRO against the other accusing the spouse of abuse, seeking temporary, and then permanent custody of the children. A common divorce lawyer tactic.
on September 9,2013 | 01:46PM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
Zimmerman has kids?
on September 9,2013 | 01:51PM
NotNasti wrote:
No. But I was speaking in general terms.
on September 9,2013 | 02:27PM
8082062424 wrote:
But his ex gf also put a tro on him
on September 9,2013 | 03:16PM
Mahalo wrote:
Mrs. ZImmerman don't play the system! If you call for help except the help and don't use it for your own personal gains. Lets see you have already been conflicted of lying about the bail money funds.. now your playing games again! Time to make her play some real time in jail.
on September 9,2013 | 05:12PM
Skyler wrote:
Now according to the update, he didn't have a gun after all. Divorces are high-emotion situations, and I"d say in this case, someone overreacted.
on September 9,2013 | 05:54PM
Iuki wrote:
Someday Zimmerman is going to pull his ever ready gun on somebody and that person will also have a gun and Zimmerman will be the one who ends up dead.
on September 9,2013 | 06:42PM
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