After saying he did not regret any of his actions the night he killed Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman backtracked and apologized to America Wednesday night in his first interview since the shooting that polarized the nation nearly five months ago.
In an apparent attempt at damage control just two days after a cousins sexual molestation charges went public, Zimmerman broke his silence in an exclusive interview with Fox News conservative talk show host Sean Hannity. His lawyer, Mark OMara, sat beside him as Zimmerman recounted the Sunday night that he encountered a hoodie-clad black teenager who walked too leisurely in the rain.
Asked if he regretted getting out of the car that night or owning a gun, Zimmerman said no. Asked if he would do anything differently, Zimmerman said no a third time, and added that Trayvons death was Gods plan.
Later, as the interview ended and the host asked if Zimmerman had a message for Trayvons parents or the general public, Zimmerman said that before responding he wanted to change his answer to the earlier question. He explained that he thought Hannity had asked if he was sorry he didnt get a lawyer at first, wished he hadnt spoken to the police so much or taken voice stress tests.
I do wish there was something, anything I could have done that wouldnt have put me in the position where I had to take his life, Zimmerman said. I want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America: Im sorry that this happened. Im truly sorry.
In a statement after the show, Tracy Martin, Trayvons father, said: We must worship a different God, because theres no way my God would have wanted George Zimmerman to kill my son.
Martins speechless attorney, Benjamin Crump, uttered just two words: just ... unbelievable.
Zimmerman recounted the events of Feb. 26, when he encountered Trayvon at a townhouse complex in Sanford. Zimmerman explained that he was on his way to go grocery shopping to Target, carrying a gun to the store like he did everywhere except work.
The teens body language was confrontational, and Zimmerman thought Trayvon put his hand in his waistband to intimidate. The teen, he thought, might have had a weapon.
Several times, Zimmerman denied following Trayvon, despite a tape of his call to police in which he said he was doing just that. When he told the police dispatcher that he was following the stranger he found suspicious, he meant he was walking in the same direction, not actively pursuing him.
Hannity asked if perhaps Trayvon ran because he was afraid.
Zimmerman said Trayvon skipped, and wasnt running out of fear.
Hannity wondered how he could tell.
Zimmerman said Trayvon came out of nowhere and asked him if he had a problem. He said the high school junior broke his nose with one punch, banged his head on the concrete, hit him at least a dozen times in the head and threatened to kill him. He said Trayvon straddled and tried to suffocate him, causing excruciating pain.
Zimmerman said he shimmied on the ground to get off the concrete, causing his shirt to go up and gun to be exposed. He stopped Trayvon from getting it, he said, and fired a single shot.