By Jeff Weiner and Rene Stutzman, Orlando Sentinel
12:12 AM EDT, September 10, 2013
George Zimmerman's wife called 911 on Monday afternoon to report that her husband was threatening her family with a gun, but she later declined to press charges.
Lake Mary police Officer Zach Hudson said Shellie Zimmerman called 911 before 3 p.m., saying George Zimmerman was threatening her and her father with a weapon in a house on Sprucewood Road.
In the 911 call, Shellie Zimmerman tells a dispatcher that her husband had "his hand on his gun and he keeps saying step closer."
"Step closer and what?" a dispatcher asks.
"And he's going to shoot us," Shellie Zimmerman replies.
But Zimmerman told officers who responded to her call that she never saw a weapon, police Chief Steve Bracknell said. Zimmerman and her father, David Dean, decided not to press charges, Bracknell said.
"We have no victim, no crime," Bracknell said.
According to Hudson, George Zimmerman described his wife and her father as the aggressors.
His defense attorney Mark O'Mara said "emotions are running very, very high" between George and Shellie Zimmerman, and "nobody should be facing charges" in Monday's incident.
"They need to just sort of stay away from each other, keep things cool and work through their attorneys," he said.
Although Shellie Zimmerman's parents own the house, O'Mara told reporters that only George Zimmerman lives there. Shellie moved out, and they had an agreement that she would take her belongings Saturday. But she and her father returned unexpectedly Monday, O'Mara said.
"I think everybody got out of hand. There was touching, pushing," O'Mara said. It was a case of emotions boiling over, he said.
O'Mara also said his client didn't threaten anyone with his gun: "The gun was holstered under his shirt, and it stayed there the whole time."
The incident played out at the house where Zimmerman and his wife lived during his high-profile trial in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Bracknell said police would document the incident thoroughly in case Shellie Zimmerman or her father change their minds about pursuing charges. Officers were also reviewing surveillance video from the house that may have captured what happened.
In the 911 call, Shellie Zimmerman says her husband punched her father, leaving a mark on his face.
"He's shaking; he says he feels like he's going to have a heart attack; his nose might be broken," she said.
"I'm really, really afraid," Shellie Zimmerman said. "I don't know what he's capable of. I'm really, really scared."
At another point in the call, she warned her father to stay away from her husband: "Dad, get inside the house; George might start shooting at us."
After reports that Zimmerman was in police custody, reporters and news crews flooded Sprucewood Road. Hudson said Zimmerman was not detained, was not in custody and was cooperating with police.
Shellie Zimmerman's 20-year-old brother, DJ Dean, told reporters that his mother awoke him, saying there had been an altercation involving George, Shellie and her father, David Dean.
George Zimmerman has changed a great deal since he killed Trayvon, his brother-in-law said.
"Before the incident, he was probably the nicest person I ever met," DJ Dean said. "I think the guilt and self-hatred got to him."
Zimmerman had successfully kept his hideout a secret for a year, but that fell apart Monday when his estranged wife called police. Three news helicopters hovered overhead at 3:30 p.m., and TV news trucks lined what had been a very quiet residential street near Seminole State College.
In her divorce petition filed last week, Shellie Zimmerman wrote that the couple had separated Aug. 13.
A former Neighborhood Watch volunteer, Zimmerman was acquitted in July of murder in the Feb. 26, 2012, killing of Trayvon, an unarmed Miami Gardens teen.
Zimmerman said he fired on the teen in self-defense. The case sparked outrage and protests when Zimmerman wasn't immediately arrested by police in Sanford.
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