Shots fired at cop car near scene of Trayvon Martin's death
An unknown assailant fired six shots at an empty police patrol car in Sanford Monday morning, only a stone’s throw from the spot where Martin was shot and killed earlier this year. The incident comes not just six weeks after neighborhood watch patrolman George Zimmerman admitted to shooting and killing Martin, a 17-year-old black teenager who was walking to his father’s residence.
"I'm not sure what their thought was. I don't know," Sanford Police spokesman Sgt. David Morgenstern tells the Associated Press as law enforcement investigates this week’s attack.
Charges have yet to be filed against the confessed killer, who insists that he acted in self defense, but the incident — and law enforcement’s handling of the case — has spawned international outrage. A series of other crimes across the country considered to be racially motivated have been alleged to be linked to the crime, but not since the murder of Martin himself has such a violent outburst occurred in the same small central Florida town where he was murdered on February 26. In the wake of other crimes that occurred from coast-to-coast, authorities are now considering if the attack against a Sanford police vehicle was also in retaliation for the department’s reluctance to bring charges against Zimmerman.
Hours after the patrol car was targeted, a group of Trayvon supporters marched to a police department in Sanford cloaked in hooded sweater shirts similar to the one Martin wore when killed.
While the Monday morning shooting or the rally that occurred later in the day did not end in bloodshed, authorities are worried that Sanford might soon become the scene of a massive revolt as residents continue to demand justice for Trayvon. Three Florida counties have opened emergency operation centers and have activated them to Level II status, the same degree used in the state when they’re expecting a hurricane, reports ABC News.
Outside of Florida, however, others are worried that violent outbursts will spread across the country. So far, they might be right.
Last week an elderly man from East Toledo, Ohio said that both white and black teenagers accosted him, then brutally attacked him in retaliation for the murder of Martin. Across the state in Columbus, a pro-Zimmerman message of support was spray painted on the walls of a university campus. This week, George Zimmerman himself has launched an official website asking for donations for his legal defense from supporters.
“I am grateful to my friends that have come to my aid, whether publicly or personally, never questioning my integrity or actions, understanding that I cannot discuss the details of the event on February 26, and allowing law enforcement to proceed with their investigation unhindered,” Zimmerman writes on his site.