DOCUMENT: Florida, Crime

Cop: Zimmerman Was "Soft," Had "Hero Complex"

Records detail FBI probe of Trayvon Martin killing

George Zimmerman

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Zimmerman FBI Docs

JULY 12--The lead investigator in the Trayvon Martin shooting case told the FBI that George Zimmerman was not a racist, but rather an “overzealous” and  “soft guy” who had a “little hero complex,” according to documents released today by Florida prosecutors.

The records include a variety of FBI reports compiled in the course of a bureau probe examining whether the February shooting of the unarmed teenager was racially motivated. Individuals interviewed by federal agents uniformly described Zimmerman as mild-mannered and harboring no racial or ethnic prejudices.

As seen at right, the documents included an evidence photo (click to enlarge) showing Martin’s bloodstained sweatshirt.

In an April interview with two FBI agents, Christopher Serino, the Sanford Police Department’s lead investigator on the Martin killing, said that he believed Zimmerman’s actions “were not based on Martin’s skin color rather based on his attire, the total circumstances of the encounter and the previous burglary suspects in the community.”

Serino also “described Zimmerman as overzealous and as having a ‘little hero complex,’ but not as a racist.” Noting that he had spoken with Zimmerman on numerous occasions and “feels like he knows him fairly well,” Serino said that he believes Zimmerman did not want to be a cop because “cops have a bad reputation and are bullies, but he wants to be a judge.” Serino added that Zimmerman was a “soft guy.”

Also included in the released records was a Florida Department of Law Enforcement interview with a male friend of Zimmerman’s who recounted what the shooter told him after being released from police custody the morning after Martin’s killing. The man, whose name was redacted from the FDLE reort, is an Army veteran with whom Zimmerman and his wife lived with in the weeks following the February 26 shooting.

The witness told investigators that Zimmerman recalled spotting a “fidgety tall guy” loitering near a residence. After calling cops to report a suspicious person, Zimmerman said he was confronted by Martin, who asked, “Do you have a problem Mother Fucker?” Zimmerman said he responded, “No, I don’t have a problem.” Martin then allegedly said “You do now,” and struck Zimmerman in the face. Zimmerman reported seeing “stars,” and “fell back, first onto his butt and then on to his back.”

As he struggled on the ground with Martin, the teenager (seen at left) sat atop Zimmerman in the “mounted position” and punched the neighborhood watch captain in the face and head and slammed his head on the pavement. After Martin reportedly realized Zimmerman was carrying a gun, he reached for the firearm, stating, “You’re gonna die now Mother Fucker.”

Zimmerman, however, slapped Martin’s hand away from the gun and fired a single shot into the teen’s chest. The witness recounted that Zimmerman said Martin’s final words were, “You got it, ok, you got it.”

The friend told investigators that Zimmerman was estranged from his family, and that his “very strict and dominant mother” hit him “all the time” when he was growing up. Zimmerman’s father, the man added, “did not stick up for the kids as they were abused by their mother.”

FBI agents, the records show, interviewed Zimmerman’s former fiancée in late-March. The woman, a hairdresser who met Zimmerman at a Supercuts around 2001, detailed the demise of the couple’s relationship.

The woman, whose name is redacted from an FBI interview report, told agents that “the only negative thing she could think of with respect to Zimmerman was that he had a bad temper during their relationship.” His “worst behavior,” she added, “was when he talked about killing himself “ after intense arguments.

Zimmerman, the woman recalled, would “get depressed and talk about driving his car into a lake or taking a bunch of pills.” This behavior, the woman thought, “was designed to get her attention or to garner her sympathy.”

Zimmerman’s ex-girlfriend said he was “the last person” she would expect to be involved in a shooting incident, explaining that he “was not the type of person to place himself in a  physical confrontation.”

A female co-worker of Zimmerman’s told the FBI that when the gunman returned to work the day after the shooting, he looked “horrible.” Zimmerman, she recalled, described being “mugged” by Martin, who bashed his head on the ground while saying, “you don’t know who you are messing with” and “now you’re going to die motherfucker.” As described by Zimmerman, the woman told agents, “Martin was kicking the crap out of” him.

The co-worker described Zimmerman as  “absolutely emotionally devastated” over the Martin shooting. “I shot him,” the woman quoted Zimmerman as saying. After a pause, he added, “I killed him.”  (7 pages)