Lake Mary cops: Gun in Zimmerman domestic spat not same one used in Trayvon Martin slaying

George Zimmerman taken into custody by Lake Mary, FL cops / Headline SurferShellie Zimmerman holds a press conference in Lake Mary / Headline SurferPhotos for Headline Surfer / Though he was acquitted of murder in the slaying of unarmed Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman finds himself in a national media spotlight amid new gun accusations levied by his estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman, who called 9-1-1 and claimed he threatened her. He's shown in this Lake Mary police video snapshot being taken into custody Monday for several hours while Shellie Zimmerman is shown at a press conference that afternoon in Lake Mary with her attorney.

LAKE MARY -- One thing is certain from Monday's domestic spat between George and Shellie Zimmerman that led to her 9-1-1 call: The gun she claimed her estranged husband threatened her with is not the same one used to kill Trayvon Martin.

That's because after Zimmerman's murder trial acquittal, that firearm was turned over to the feds who are investigating whether the unarmed teen's civil rights were violated in the fatal confrontation in the Sanford neighborhood where George Zimmerman lived and the victim was visting with his father.

Lake Mary cops said the domestic discord between the Zimmermans isn't going to lead to any arrests any time soon, if ever, unless or until they can get a read on the so-called video on the shattered iPad.

And despite what you may have read in other media outlets, it's not really up to the Zimmermans as to whether criminal charges will be filed against either or both of them, even as both have said they are not interested in pursuing charges against each other.

That decision rests solely with the Lake Mary police since the 9-1-1 call placed by Shellie Zimmerman on Monday from the home they are staying at with her father visiting was considered a domestic violence-related emergency.

The audio release of the 9-1-1 call by Lake Mary police has Shellie Zimmerman crying into the phone, claiming her gun-toting husband acquitted in the sensational Seminole County courtroom trial of second-degree murder in the slaying of Trayvon Martin threatened her with a gun and punched her father in the face.

Cops later that day confronted Zimmerman, ordering him to his knees and taking him into custody for several hours. No gun was found on him, though cops didn't search his vehicle, claiming they had no probable cause to do so since his wife told them the gun was on him.

Shellie Zimmerman, who last week filed for divorce had told the 9-1-1 dispatcher that George had his hand on his gun as he sat in his vehicle while her father was visiting her.

Then later in the day, she said she never actually saw a gun, Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell told reporters. The police chief said because she changed her story, the issue of domestic violence an't be invoked without any corroborating evidence such as what may be on the video in thew iPad George Zimmerman allegedly grabbed from his wife and smashed, again according to Shellie in her emotional 9-1-1 call.

"He's threatening all of us with a firearm... He punched my dad in the nose," Shellie Zimmerman is heard saying, while sobbing on the 9-1-1 call, and yelling at her father to get inside the house. "I don't know what he's capable of. I'm really scared."

She had been staying at the posh residence with George until she moved out last week and had returned Monday to pick up some personal belongings with her father, apparently leading to the domestic spat.

Zimmerman has not talked to the media, but his murder trial attorney, Mark O'Mara, told reporters that his client never threatened Shellie nor did he assault her father. The father said, he, too, did not want to press charges.

O'Mara dismissed the incident Monday as nothing more than "heightened emotions," and certainly not unexpected after one spouse files for divorce. But O'Mara was quick to point out he didn't believe any violence occurred, adding his legal representation of George ended with the acquittal.

Lake Mary police spokesman Zach Hudson said unless police investigators can get a read on the iPad video -- and they don't currently have the tools in-house to do so -- the case remains a he-said, she-said.

Oddly enough, in her petition for divorce at the Seminole County clerk of the court in Sanford, Shellie is demanding that asked that George be required to pay for a permanent life insurance policy naming her as the sole beneficiary.

Shellie Zimmerman told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview that was aired Friday morning that her husband left her with "a bunch of pieces of broken glass" after the trial and that she only stayed in the house for several nights after the acquittal.

Shellie told Good Morning America they even tried counseling, but she finally moved, having described him as a "selfish husband, and adding, "I think George is all about George."

After the murder trial, Shellie Zimmerman pleaded guilty to a plea-bargained misdemeanor perjury charge of lying about the married couple's finances during a bail hearing in the wake of her husband's arrest. She was sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service. And though she attended her husband's trial, he was not there in court for her.

It took 44 days for George Zimmerman to be arrested on the murder charge that could have netted him up to life in prison, if convicted. 

Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense when he killed the unarmed 17-year-old Miami teen who was visiting with his father, Tracy Martin, who was seeing his girlfriend in the same complex where Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch commander.

Although Zimmerman was told not to pursue the black teen by a 9-1-1 dispatcher, Zimmerman did so any way, leading to a physical altercation and a shot being fired at close range that pierced the boy's heart.

Sanford police did not make an arrest with Zimmerman asserting his right to use deadly force under Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law. This led to a series of peaceful demonstrations across the nation led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other black leaders.

The issue of race and the right to bear arms became polarizing issues leading to Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointing a special prosecutor, Angela Corey, to look into the case. Instead of going to a grand jury, Corey filed charges of second-degree murder, leading to the sensational trial. 

And that trial, too, was controversial, not only for the end result, but that an all-woman jury was seated, a bizarre "knock-knock" joke by defense co-counsel Don West and his cross examination of reluctant prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel.

She testified that she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin just before the fatal shot and that he described Zimmerman as looking like a "creepy ass cracker."

Editor's Note: Henry Frederick attended the Zimmerman trial and is writing an 840-page book, aptly named, "Creepy Ass Cracker." Frederick also interviewed Trayvon Martin's parents, Sybrina and Tracy Martin, at a huge rally in Miami, just weeks after the slaying, leading to an award from the Florida Press Club. Headline Surfer, the Orlando Sentinel and the Huffington Posts have been recognized with journalism industry awards in 2012 for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying.
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.