ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - The family of a 17-year-old African-American boy shot to death last month in his gated Florida community by a white Neighborhood Watch captain wants to see the captain arrested, the family’s lawyer said on Wednesday.
Trayvon Martin was shot dead after he took a break from watching NBA All-Star game television coverage to walk 10 minutes to a convenience store to buy snacks including Skittles candy requested by his 13-year-old brother, Chad, the family’s lawyer Ben Crump said.
“He was a good kid,” Crump said in an interview, adding that the family would issue a call for the Watch captain’s arrest at a news conference on Thursday. “On his way home, a Neighborhood Watch loose cannon shot and killed him.”
Trayvon, who lived in Miami with his mother, had been visiting his father and stepmother in a gated townhome community called The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, 20 miles north of Orlando.
As Trayvon returned to the townhome, Sanford police received a 911 call reporting a suspicious person.
Although names are blacked out on the police report, Crump and media reports at the time of the shooting identified the caller as George Zimmerman who is listed in the community’s newsletter as the Neighborhood Watch captain.
Without waiting for police to arrive, Crump said, Zimmerman confronted Trayvon, who was on the sidewalk near his home. By the time police got there, Trayvon was dead of a single gunshot to the chest.
“What do the police find in his pocket? Skittles,” Crump said. “A can of Arizona ice tea in his jacket pocket and Skittles in his front pocket for his brother Chad.”
Zimmerman could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening at a phone number listed for him on the community’s newsletter.
Crump said the family was concerned that police might decide to consider the shooting as self defense, and that police have ignored the family’s request for a copy of the original 911 call, which they think will shed light on the incidents.
“If the 911 protocol across the country held to form here, they told him not to get involved. He disobeyed that order,” said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the family.
“He (Zimmerman) didn’t have to get out of his car,” said Crump, who has prepared a public records lawsuit to file on Thursday if the family doesn’t get the 911 tape. “If he never gets out of his car, there is no reason for self-defense. Trayvon only has skittles. He has the gun.”
Since Trayvon, a high school junior who wanted to be a pilot, was black and Zimmerman is white, Crump said race is “the 600 pound elephant in the room.”
“Why is this kid suspicious in the first place? I think a stereotype must have been placed on the kid,” Crump said.
Editing By Cynthia Johnston and Peter Bohan
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