George Zimmerman missed two opportunities to try to peacefully approach Trayvon Martin before he fatally shot the unarmed teenager, according to an investigator’s report released Tuesday.
“The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party’s concern,” investigator Chris Serino wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit.
The affidavit was filed more than two weeks after the shooting when the Sanford Police Department was being criticized for not having arrested Zimmerman. Serino’s March 13 affidavit recommended Zimmerman be picked up for manslaughter, but a special prosecutor assigned to take over the case upped the charge to second-degree murder.
The documents released Tuesday are part of the public pre-trial records filed in the criminal case.
Zimmerman, 28, maintains he feared for his life and shot Martin in self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground law.” He said he fired the fatal shot only after being ambushed and brutally attacked by the 17-year-old.
The deadly encounter occurred in a gated Sanford, Fla., neighborhood where Zimmerman lived and Martin was staying with a family friend. Zimmerman called 911 to report Martin as a suspicious person walking through the area. He told the operator Martin was “up to no good” and “has his hand in his waist band.”
In the report released Tuesday, police say Zimmerman contradicted himself by saying that he was initially fearful of Martin but later got out of his vehicle and followed after the teen.
“His actions are inconsistent with those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject,” Serino wrote.
The Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday afternoon that Serino, Sanford’s lead investigator on the case, has been granted a request to move from detective work to patrol duty.