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The defendant in the Trayvon Martin shooting, Zimmerman has been the subject of dueling perceptions: To some, he's a cop-wannabe who racially profiled and killed an innocent teen. To others, he's a vigilant neighbor who only sought to protect his community. Zimmerman grew up in a Catholic family in Manassas, Va. His parents were a white man and a Peruvian woman, and according to family, Zimmerman grew up bilingual. Before the events of Feb. 26, 2012, George Zimmerman was working as loan-review analyst in Maitland and living in the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford. He was also nearing a degree in criminal justice from Seminole State College. Zimmerman's prior encounters with the law paint a complex portrait of his well-established interest in criminal justice: In 2005, the same year he was also accused of domestic violence in civil court, Zimmerman was arrested, accused of shoving a state alcohol agent at a bar near the University of Central Florida. In 2008, Zimmerman applied to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office citizens' law-enforcement academy. After a Sanford police lieutenant's son punched a homeless man in December 2010, but wasn't immediately arrested, Zimmerman passed out protest flyers, his family said. At a forum shortly thereafter, he blasted the police as lazy. Later, he took a leadership role in organizing his community's Neighborhood Watch, amid a string of burglaries, some reportedly perpetrated by black teens. He often reported people he found suspicious to police. The last was Trayvon. Is Zimmerman racist? Reports released so far from an FBI civil rights investigation have turned up little to say he is. However, a former coworker accused Zimmerman of racial insults, and a relative, who also says Zimmerman molested her when they were both children, told investigators Zimmerman and his kin don't like black people. Since the shooting, Zimmerman has lived in hiding. He has been unemployed and has gained a significant amount of weight.
June 8, 2013