The gun used to kill an unarmed black teenager in 2012 has reportedly been sold more for more than $100,000 - a move has sparked outcry from the young man’s family.
George Zimmerman, the former volunteer nightwatchman who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin claimed he had successfully sold the weapon on an auction site, after a series of failed efforts.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank and give the glory to God for a successful auction that has raised funds for several worthy causes,” Mr Zimmerman said in a statement.
Mr Zimmerman, who was cleared of the teenager’s murder, has become an icon for many Americans with extremist views. He last week said the gun was a “a piece of American history” and claimed that the Smithsonian Museum in Washington had wanted to buy it. The museum denied the claim. Mr Zimmerman said he wanted to use the proceeds to oppose the efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Earlier this week, the online auction site UnitedGunGroup.com tweeted a statement that said: “George Zimmerman has confirmed that an offer of $100,000 with verified funds has been submitted.”
The sale of the gun has drawn criticism from those claiming Mr Zimmerman was seeking to profit from the teenager’s death. Meanwhile, gun rights advocates have applauded him for exercising his legal rights under current US law.
Earlier attempts to sell the gun online were hacked and fake bids were placed, causing that auction to be cancelled without a sale. Last week's highest bid of $65 million was posted by one “Racist McShootFace”.
Mr Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman during an alleged altercation in Sanford, Florida, in 2012. The case sparked outrage when Mr Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, claimed that Martin was acting suspiciously and called police from his car to report him.
However, before they arrived, Martin was shot and killed by Mr Zimmerman, who claimed he was acting in self-defence after the youngster attacked him, an allegation that was never able to be confirmed.
A lawyer for the teenager’s family said that the plan to auction the gun was “insulting and disrespectful.”
“It is insulting to this family that he would decide that he would sell the gun that he killed their child with,” Daryl Parks told the Washington Post. “Think about what that means: This is a gun that took a child’s life, and now he wants to make money off of it.”
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