Reporting Juan Fernandez
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Students gathered on the USC campus, lighting candles and donning hoodies, in honor of Trayvon Martin, while across town the brother of the man who shot and killed the Florida teen spoke publicly for the first time Thursday night.
Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of George Zimmerman, came to Los Angeles to give his brother a voice.
The younger Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, has been in hiding since the shooting death of of Trayvon Martin, 17, in late February.
Zimmerman told host Piers Morgan that his brother acted in self-defense.
“Well he stopped someone from disarming him and shooting him. He didn’t pull out a gun and shoot him. George showed tremendous restraint,” Zimmerman said.
Robert Zimmerman said that his brother had lost track of Martin after calling 911 that night and that it was Martin, who confronted his brother, taking him by surprise.
“What did George tell you he said,” Morgan asked Zimmerman?
“One of those things, you know, ‘do you have a problem with me, following me. Why are you following me?’ Something like that. My brother drew back to grab his phone in retreat to call again 911 and say, ‘well now this person, who I lost sight of and was not pursuing has now confronted me,’” Zimmerman replied.
That part of the story is in question following the release of a video tape showing Zimmerman arriving at the police station about a half hour after the shooting. In the video it does not appear that Zimmerman was injured.
However, police reports say that Zimmerman did receive some medical attention at the scene.
The funeral director, who received Martin’s body, said that he did not find any obvious signs of trauma on his body, beyond the gunshot wound.
“George was out of breath. He was barely conscious. His last thing he remembers doing was moving his head from the concrete to the grass,” Robert Zimmerman said.
He went on to say that his brother is not a racist, despite what appears to be a racial slur heard on the 911 tape.
Zimmerman also said that his family had been receiving death threats for weeks, demanding that his brother be arrested.
“But as far as George goes, he’s the neighbor that everybody would want to have,” Zimmerman said.
While the investigation developed, the case continued to be a topic of discussion across the nation.
Students gathered Thursday night at USC for a vigil and hopes of a better understanding of what happened.