George Zimmerman signs fan autographs as 'guest of honour' at gun show in Florida

The event, headed up by the man who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, almost didn't happen due to protests

George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, was the ‘celebrity guest’ of honour at a gun show in Florida over the weekend.

The former neighbourhood watchman had a table at the New Orlando Gun Show especially to sign autographs and pose for photographs with 'fans'.

However, during the six hour event, fewer than 20 people asked for him to sign the free promotional shots of him with his dog.

One couple, who gave their names to the New York Daily News as Melissa and Matt, told the publication that they were the only people waiting to meet him.

“He seemed nervous and actually a little scared to be there. He also appeared emotional, like he was really thankful and touched that people would come out to see him,” said Melissa.

“It was pretty weird to meet him in person — and wow, he has gained a lot of weight!”

 

Zimmerman, who hit the headlines after taking part in a string of promotional interviews to mark Martin’s death, said that he was enjoying himself, despite the poor turn-out.

“Everything’s good. We’re having fun,” he was quoted as saying. “I’m just here to meet supporters.”

He posted the following on Twitter after the event:


As well as retweeting this somewhat questionable post from  a follower:


And also making out that far more people had turned up than actually had:



Zimmerman was joined by his girlfriend Samantha Scheibe, who accused him of threatening her with a gun last year.

According to organiser Mike Piwowarski, the meet-and-greet event was initially cancelled, after the original venue hired for the gun show backed out at the last minute when they found out that Zimmerman would be making the controversial appearance.

“Come on out and meet George Z! He’s here a few more hours. And no matter what you read, there are no protesters, lunatics or other varieties of a— clowns,” the store posted via its official Facebook page.

Piwowarski had invited Zimmerman to attend after meeting him through a mutual friend.

Zimmerman, who was controversially acquitted of the second-degree murder and manslaughter of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in July 2013, announced his ambitions to become a lawyer to prevent ‘miscarriages of justice’ from occurring in the future last month.

“I'd like to professionally ... Continue my education and hopefully become an attorney,” he told CNN show New Day.

“I think that's the best way to stop the miscarriage of justice that happened to me from happening to somebody else. I don't think it should ever happen to anyone ever again, not one person.”

However, in the same interview, he also admitted he was worried he'd missed Martin when he shot and fatally wounded him that evening.

“I was afraid it had gone through his clothes and that it was going to go ... Get lost, and, um, you know, go into a house and… Because the young man was still talking to me, as I have said.

“So I thought that it hadn't… Affected him, and I got worried, and I said, 'I hope that it hasn't—that the bullet hasn't hit a neighbour.'”

Last month, a celebrity boxing match featuring George Zimmerman and rapper DMX was cancelled.

Taking to Twitter, promoter Damon Feldman posted that he was “done with Zimmerman”, and that he had made the decision to pull the match  because he was “the wrong person to put in a the ring and define celebrity boxing”.

A second promoter is since thought to be working on a new boxing event for Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges, after he fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a fight in February 2012 inside a gated community in Sanford. He claimed that he had killed Martin with a weapon in an act of self-defence.

Zimmerman remained without charge for 44 days after the shooting occurred, which led to nationwide protests and sparked furious debate over racial profiling and the right to use weapons in self-defence. Further demonstrations broke out after Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013.

Federal authorities are currently reviewing the entire case to decide whether Martin’s civil rights were violated.

Read More: Zimmerman 'Worried He'd Missed' Trayvon Martin
Zimmerman Painting Attracts $100,000 On eBay
Zimmerman Angles For Fight With Kanye West
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor