Cops recover gun from Zimmerman, 2 guns from other man

Mike Schneider
Associated Press

Orlando, Fla. — Police recovered a handgun from George Zimmerman and took two guns from a man accused of shooting at Zimmerman while both were driving, authorities said Tuesday.

Police also released a 911 call in which the caller says the other man, Matthew Apperson, told him he was forced to fire his gun Monday at the former neighborhood watch leader on a busy street in the Orlando suburb of Lake Mary.

“A guy says he had to shoot a guy through the window and he wants the police to come,” the man said on the call. “He had to shoot at somebody … He said it was George Zimmerman.”

Police have not said what led up to the shooting. Apperson’s attorney, Mark NeJame, said the shooting was “a good, old-fashioned self-defense case.”

“He is not looking for trouble. He did not want trouble,” NeJame said of Apperson. “He’s not following George Zimmerman around. He’s not wanting anything to do with George Zimmerman, as it relates to any of this.”

Zimmerman suffered minor injuries from flying glass and debris.

Two guns were taken from Apperson’s car, including a revolver that had a spent shell casing. Police officers will also execute a search warrant on Zimmerman’s pickup truck, said Lake Mary Police Officer Bianca Gillett.

Both men had the guns legally.

Detectives are still investigating and no charges have been filed against Zimmerman or Apperson. Gillett said the investigation could take time. Documents released Tuesday show that detectives are investigating the shooting as a possible aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.

“It was a busy time of day on a very busy street,” Gillett said. “We are thinking there is someone that saw something that they could come forward and provide that information to the Lake Mary Police Department.”

Zimmerman and Apperson were involved in a road-rage episode last September. Apperson said Zimmerman had threatened to kill him, asking “Do you know who I am?” during a confrontation in their vehicles. Apperson decided not to pursue charges and police officers were unable to move forward without a license plate number or witnesses.

Two days later, Apperson called police to report that Zimmerman’s truck was parked outside, near the disability-benefits office where Apperson works. Zimmerman told police officers that he had an appointment in the same office park, and no charges were filed.

Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, told WESH in Orlando that Zimmerman no longer lived in the area. He had returned for a Mother’s Day visit Sunday and was heading to a doctor’s appointment before the confrontation. West didn’t return a phone call Tuesday afternoon.

Other than Monday’s shooting and the incidents in September, Apperson and Zimmerman have had no prior relationship, NeJame said.

“He doesn’t know him. They do not have a relationship,” NeJame said.

Zimmerman was acquitted in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in a case that sparked protests and a national debate about race relations. The Justice Department later decided not to bring a civil rights case against Zimmerman.

Since then, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law, including two unrelated cases in which he was charged with assault based on complaints from two girlfriends. In both cases, the girlfriends refused to cooperate and charges were dropped. His estranged wife also accused him of smashing her IPad during an argument days after she filed divorce papers. No charges were filed because of lack of evidence.