No charges yet in Zimmerman domestic dispute: police

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 11, 2013 2:36 PM
No charges yet in Zimmerman domestic dispute: police

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - No charges are immediately pending against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder in July, or his estranged wife over a domestic altercation at a house in central Florida, police said Wednesday.

George Zimmerman, acquitted in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, and his wife Shellie Zimmerman accuse each other of being the aggressor in the incident on Monday.

Police say they are trying to piece together an iPad video Shellie Zimmerman said she took of the domestic dispute to determine whether any charges should be filed in the case.

George Zimmerman smashed the iPad into pieces during the confrontation, police say.

"As it stands right now, there will not be any charges any time soon," Lake Mary Police Officer Zach Hudson told reporters.

In July, a jury in the central Florida town of Sanford acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder for the shooting death of Martin, 17, ending a case that captivated and polarized the U.S. public on issues of race, gun and self-defense laws.

Since then police have twice stopped George Zimmerman for speeding and his wife has filed for divorce.

"Shellie wants this relationship to end with a whimper, not a bang," her lawyer, Kelly Sims, told reporters.

Home security surveillance video shows George Zimmerman on Monday smashing his wife's iPad at an Orlando suburban home and cutting it with a knife before police arrived.

Police are trying to find experts who could help them access the video, a job that could take weeks or months, Hudson said. The iPad's computer chip also was damaged, he said.

Shellie Zimmerman said in a 911 call on Monday that George Zimmerman was threatening her and her father, David Dean, with a gun, and had punched her father.

George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said his client was carrying a gun during the incident. Police said they did not find a weapon when they searched George Zimmerman. They suggested he may have given the impression he was armed.

Dean had a red mark on his nose, Hudson said, but police found no evidence George Zimmerman wielded a weapon. George Zimmerman complained that Shellie Zimmerman hit him with the iPad, Hudson said.

Sims told reporters he and Shellie believe George was armed during the altercation but put the gun away before police arrived on the scene.

Shellie Zimmerman's brother, D.J. Dean, told Reuters his sister and father had gone to the home, owned by the elder Dean, to retrieve some of Shellie's belongings.

A 14-page written report of the investigation released by police on Wednesday was heavily redacted but contained some new details.

Shellie Zimmerman told police an empty shoulder harness package she had spotted in the house was what had led her to assume, when her estranged husband put his hand on his shirt, that he was carrying a concealed weapon.

"The hand is inside there, inside the shirt. The guy is bent over saying 'step closer,'" Sims said. "You know your husband. You know he always carries the gun."

Samantha Schreibe, a woman who was in Zimmerman's car when the altercation occurred, is quoted in the police report as telling officers there were guns in the former neighborhood watch volunteer's vehicle.

She did not elaborate, but said the firearms were covered by concealed weapons permits.

Zimmerman himself told police he drove to the house to make sure his spouse only left with property whose removal had been approved by lawyers.

Sims provided police and reporters with copies of text messages between Shellie and George making arrangements for her to be at the house and ending with George texting Shellie to "please let me know when you're done."

"The importance is he (George) knew he wasn't supposed to be there," Sims said.

(Editing by Jane Sutton, Andrew Hay and Richard Chang)