In the wake of growing public outrage, the FBI and Department of Justice are now looking into the deadly shooting of an unarmed black teen in Florida by a neighborhood watch volunteer. NBC's Lilia Luciano reports.
A grand jury will investigate the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old shot to death in a gated community in Florida on Feb. 26, state attorney Norm Wolfinger announced Tuesday.
"I share in the desire of the family and the community to accurately collect and evaluate all the facts surrounding the tragic death of Trayvon Martin," Wolfinger said in a news release. "The public is entitled to no less than a thorough, deliberate, and just review of the facts. We intend to honor that commitment."
The Seminole County Grand Jury will be called to session on Tuesday, April 10, Wolfinger said.
The Justice Department investigation will review whether Zimmerman, 28, violated any federal civil rights statutes when he shot Martin, who was not carrying any weapons when he was killed.
The shooting occurred February 26 when Zimmerman spotted Martin walking home from buying candy and iced tea at a convenience store.
Zimmerman, patrolling the neighborhood in his car, called the 911 emergency number and reported what he called "a real suspicious guy."
"This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about," Zimmerman told dispatchers, adding, "These @!$%#s. They always get away."
The dispatcher, hearing heavy breathing on the phone, asked Zimmerman: "Are you following him?"
"Yeah," Zimmerman said.
"Okay, we don't need you to do that," the dispatcher responded.
But several neighbors subsequently called 911 to report a scuffle between Zimmerman and Martin. While some of the callers were still on the phone, cries for help followed by a gunshot could be heard in the background.
"I recognized that (voice) as my baby screaming for help before his life was taken," Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, told Reuters.
“(Zimmerman) was reacting to the color of his skin,’’ Fulton, said Monday on NBC's Today show. “He committed no crime. My son wasn’t doing anything but walking on the sidewalk, and I just don’t understand why this situation got out of control.’’
'Stand your ground'
Police declined to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, enacted in 2005 and now in effect in at least 16 other states.
Dubbed "Shoot first (ask questions later)" by opponents, the Florida law allows a potential crime victim who is "in fear of great bodily injury" to use deadly force in public places.
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