FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The lawyer for the family of a 17-year-old boy gunned down in Sanford said the teen was on the cellphone with his girlfriend during a confrontation with the neighborhood watchman accused of shooting him.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin, held a news conference Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, where he announced that Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend at the time of his confrontation with George Zimmerman, 28.
Police said the teen was on his way to his stepmother's home Feb. 26 after leaving a convenience store when Zimmerman fatally shot him. Zimmerman, the local neighborhood watch captain, is claiming self-defense, and police said witness accounts and other evidence back up his claim.
Crump said that Martin had been on his Bluetooth cellphone for a long time that day, talking to his girlfriend in Miami Gardens as he left his father's home, went to a convenience store and bought some snacks. The girlfriend overheard the confrontation, Crump said.
"George Zimmerman said to the police about him being suspicious and up to no good is completely contradicted by this phone log," Crump said.
The girl, who was not identified, described her conversation with Martin in an interview with Crump on Monday night.
"She is speaking to me, and she is telling about what happened, and this is going to the Justice Department," Crump said.
According to Crump, the girlfriend said Martin noticed someone was following him.
"He then says, 'There's this, I think this dude is following me,' and she talks about how he kind of slows down and he's trying to look in the car, like, 'I think this dude is following me,'" Crump said. "She tells him, 'Babe, be careful. Just run home.' She tells him that."
The girl told Crump that Martin said, "I think I almost lost him," but almost immediately added, "He is right behind me." She heard Martin say, "Why are you following me?" Then, she told Crump, she heard Zimmerman say, "What are you doing here?"
The girl said she heard a "push," which she thinks was Martin's earpiece coming out, before the line went dead.
"This will be given to the Justice Department investigation. The family does not trust the Sanford Police Department to investigate it fairly and impartially.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as the FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating.
Schoolmates remember Martin
Martin, a junior at Michael Krop Senior High School, was visiting family in Sanford when he was shot.
Martin's name is now heard throughout the halls at the school, where many are stunned after his loss.
"It's just really sad because he didn't deserve it, because he was just walking down the street," said 11th-grader Danley Jean-Oulis.
"He was nice and cool, laid-back, quiet. He didn't bother anybody," said 10th-grader Gaelle Omega.
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