The Miami Herald

FBI queried gun dealers in Zimmerman case

The FBI dispatched at least 10 special agents to Central Florida to investigate the Trayvon Martin shooting, records filed in Seminole County Court show.

The agents interviewed up to a dozen firearms dealers, gun range employees and private investigators about George Zimmerman, according to a court document filed Friday by Assistant State Attorney Bernardo de la Rionda. Another 11 investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement also joined the probe.

“Two FBI agents showed up here with a picture of Zimmerman asked me if I recognized him,” said gun dealer Khaled Akkawi, who was listed as a witness in the case. “They were pretty much asking along the lines of if he had made racial comments or anything. My employees told me it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Didn’t the guy have a Sunday school in his house for minority kids?”

Before he shot the unarmed teen, Zimmerman mentored a black child, his family has said.

Akkawi owns Shoot Straight, a firearms store and range that boasts seven Florida locations and the “largest selection of guns for sale in the Southeast.” Zimmerman purchased the Kel Tek 9 mm semiautomatic handgun he used to kill Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin at the store’s Casselberry location, Akkawi said.

“As soon as there is a controversy like that, I look it up in the computer, and sure enough, there he was,” Akkawi said, insisting that the Herald mention that he is a strong advocate of the state’s Stand Your Ground law. “I have to admit, this has been a good year for gun sales. I don’t know if it was this case or the election year, but we’re enjoying a good boost.”

Akkawi’s name appears on a list de la Rionda filed in court that documents the additional evidence that was turned over to defense attorney Mark O’Mara on Thursday.

The package of evidence O’Mara received included seven compact discs and hundreds of pages of documents, the defense attorney said on his website.

“It includes surveillance video, police radio transmissions, crime scene photos, 911 calls Mr. Zimmerman made prior to the night of the shooting, and more,” he wrote. “The documents include a crime scene diagram, and additional reports from the Sanford Police Department, FDLE, and the FBI. … The discovery process is ongoing, and we expect additional discovery to be disclosed as the case develops.”

The judge gave O’Mara 30 days to review the new evidence before it is made public.

Prosecutors said they plan to release six recordings of Zimmerman’s jailhouse phone calls being used in evidence in his wife’s perjury case. Initially the State Attorney’s Office said it planned to release 151 of Zimmerman’s calls, but held off after O’Mara objected.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 killing of Trayvon, a teenager walking back from a convenience store to his father’s girlfriend’s apartment in Sanford. Trayvon got into a fistfight with the neighborhood watch volunteer, who shot the teen once in what he said was self defense.

Police had decided not to charge Zimmerman, but after federal and state agencies stepped in, Zimmerman was arrested.

This week, his wife was charged with perjury for lying under oath about the couple’s finances at Zimmerman’s April 20 bond hearing.

Zimmerman’s bond was revoked, and another bail hearing will be held June 29.

In Friday’s court filing, prosecutors also mentioned 21 more witnesses whose names have been kept secret.

Other witnesses who were named included Akkawi’s employees, two people from a tactical firearms facility in Central Florida, a private investigator and a range master at another gun club.

“I don’t know where you are getting this from,” said former Seminole County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott McLeod, range master at the Chuluota Sportsmen’s Club who was listed as a witness in the case. “I am telling you: Nobody has ever come to interview me.”

The document filed by the court also said prosecutors would present cellphone records belonging to Tracy Martin, the dead teen’s father. Crime scene photos, emails between Zimmerman and former chief Bill Lee were also listed as evidence, as well as the defendant’s previous calls to police in the six months prior to the shooting and a printout of his anti-Mexican rants on MySpace.




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