Zimmerman’s claim to infamy is the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin four years ago. Martin was unarmed, carrying a pack of Skittles candy and a can of iced tea and wandering through a neighborhood in Sanford, Fla., when he got into a confrontation with Zimmerman.
Martin was black. Zimmerman, who told dispatchers that he was a neighborhood watch volunteer, identified him as Hispanic. The shooting of the teen sparked protests across the country and a nationwide conversation about “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon attacked him and that he fired in self-defense. He was acquitted a year after the shooting.
But the controversy has followed him, with sometimes violent results.
In August, Zimmerman was punched in the face by a guy at a bar after he boasted of being “that guy who shot Trayvon Martin.”
After the punch, Ed Winters, the owner of the bar, told the Orlando Sentinel: “Everywhere this guy goes he causes controversy. You’d think he’d keep a low profile.”
There were also controversies that didn’t end violently. Zimmerman has twice tried to auction off the gun used to kill Trayvon. Last October, he tweeted an image of Martin’s body with the words “Z-man is a one-man army.”
In 2013, he was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend. The case was later dropped. Two years later, he was arrested again — this time on charges of domestic aggravated assault for allegedly throwing a bottle of wine at his girlfriend — and again the charges were later dropped.
The shooting involving Apperson in Lake Mary, Fla., wasn’t related to the Trayvon Martin case. Apperson had testified that Zimmerman had threatened him in 2014 during a road-rage encounter, the AP reported.
Zimmerman testified last week that he was driving to a doctor’s appointment on May 11, 2015, when he noticed he was being pursued by a vehicle whose driver later pulled up, exchanged words and fired one gunshot at him that missed.
“I heard a bang and my ears started ringing,” Zimmerman, 32, told the jury.