Kay Hall, his neighbor from across the street, said Zimmerman would often bring her dog home if he escaped from their yard, or help her family bring in groceries.
He just a caring person, very gracious and polite, Hall said in an interview.
Linda Rudenski, another neighbor, praised the family and remembers Zimmermans older brother sharing a limo with her daughter for prom. She enjoyed chatting with Gladys Zimmerman about their trips to Peru.
She was just such a kind and loving mother and so proud of her kids, Rudenski said. They were a wonderful family and Georgie was a super kid, she said.
After he graduated from Osbourn High School in 2001 and moving to Florida with his parents, Zimmerman would still visit his older brother in Manassas and drop by the old block.
A few years back, he came by and asked George Hall, Kays husband, to write a letter of recommendation so that he could apply to a police agency. Hall gladly obliged.
Whether Zimmerman ever actually applied to a police agency is unclear. But according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he never applied to take the Basic Abilities Test needed to enter recruit training.
However, in December 2008, he applied for a citizens police academy with the Seminole Sheriffs Office. In his application, Zimmerman stressed his background with the law: He wrote that his father is a retired Virginia Supreme Court magistrate judge and his mother worked as a deputy clerk of courts.
He was accepted and completed the one-night-a-week, 14-hour program.
Sheriffs spokeswoman Heather Smith stressed that the program is simply an educational tool designed to engage citizens and teach them about policing.
Its not a training academy. Participants are not issued any type of sheriffs equipment or deputization, Smith said.
His prior contacts with the law would have given police agencies pause.
In 2005, according to an arrest report, a state agent arrested Zimmerman for battery on a law enforcement officer and obstructing justice. According to the report, agents with Floridas Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco division were arresting several employees near the University of Central Florida.
Agent Paul Fleishman wrote that Zimmerman walked up to a pal under arrest and began chatting, refusing to leave. Zimmerman cursed him, Fleishman wrote, before pushing him and causing a short struggle.
The charge was later dropped when Zimmerman entered a pre-trial diversion program, which is not unusual for first-time offenders. The program usually entails paying fines and taking classes for anger management.
Zimmerman in applying to enter the citizens police academy later disputed the official version of the event, insisting that the agent never identified himself. I hold law enforcement officers in the highest regaurd [sic] as I hope to one day become. I would never have touched a police officer, Zimmerman wrote.
Before the case was resolved, he was also involved in a domestic dispute with his ex-fiancée, hair salon employee Veronica Zauzo.
Zauzo claimed Zimmerman was trolling her neighborhood to check on her. At her apartment, they spoke for about an hour when she asked him to leave. He asked for some photos and paperwork and she refused.