George Zimmerman was arrested and held without bail in a Florida jail yesterday following a domestic disturbance during which he allegedly pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend, assaulted her, and then barricaded himself inside their house.
Zimmerman, 30, the man who became a household name after killing Trayvon Martin in February 2012 and getting away with it when a jury acquitted him of second-degree murder, was arrested by Seminole County deputies at the rented property in Apopka that he shared with the woman, Samantha Scheibe, 27.
After news of his arrest spread, people began commenting on social media that Zimmerman has discovered what happens after you assault a white person—you get arrested right away. They were referring to the prolonged ordeal the nation went through after Zimmerman killed Martin and it took Florida authorities six weeks to arrest him for the murder.
Chief deputy Dennis Lemma at a news conference said Zimmerman and Scheibe had lived together since August, one month after Zimmerman’s controversial acquittal, and around the time that Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce from him.
Zimmerman’s former wife called him verbally abuive and she called 911 to report that he had punched her father in the nose and was threatening them with a gun.
Lemma said this most recent incident was prompted by a breakup between Zimmerman and Scheibe.
“I don’t know exactly what the argument was about, we believe it was some kind of separation from the relationship,” Lemma said. “She was concerned for her safety, certainly from having the weapon pointed at her. She’s shaken up over this incident, like any of us would be.”
Zimmerman was charged with aggravated assault, battery with domestic violence and criminal mischief and booked into Sanford’s John E Polk correctional facility to await an appearance before a judge on Tuesday afternoon.
Lemma said if the judge grants Zimmerman bail, the sheriff’s office would seek to have him monitored electronically, “an extra step we ask for in any domestic violence case in Seminole County,” he said.
On two 911 calls released by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office from Scheibe and Zimmerman, a woman tells dispatchers: “I need police right now. He’s in my house breaking all my things because I asked him to leave. He has his frickin’ gun, breaking all of my stuff right now.”
She then tells an unidentified person with her: “Get out of my house, do not push me out of my house.”
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Later in the call she tells the dispatcher: “He knows how to play this game” and “I don’t think he’s got anything to lose at this point.”
Scheibe said Zimmerman used the butt of his shotgun to smash a glass-top table and in the arrest report said he had four weapons in the house: an assault rifle, shotgun and two handguns.
Zimmerman then made his own 911 call made from inside the house, as deputies spoke to Scheibe outside, saying his girlfriend “for lack of a better word, has gone crazy on me.”
Asked why he was calling for help when officers were already at the scene, he said, “I just want everyone to know the truth.”
He accused Scheibe of breaking the table and said that she had told him she was expecting the couple’s baby but wanted to raise the child alone.
But Lemma said at the afternoon press conference that Scheibe was not pregnant.
Zimmerman has been a virtual walking police blotter in recent months. In July, he was stopped for speeding in Texas, telling an officer he had a gun in the glove box. Two months later, he received a $256 fine for speeding in Lake Mary. In another incident he was stopped by Florida State troopers and let off with a warning for having windows in his pick-up truck that were too heavily tinted.
The man’s anger issues stretch back to at least 2005, when he was ordered to attend anger management classes after allegedly attacking an undercover police officer and in another incident, a former girlfriend filed for a restraining order against him, citing domestic violence.
Shellie Zimmerman, said she felt in fear of her life and that he had destroyed an iPad in a fit of rage. In an interview with NBC, she said her husband believed himself to be “invincible,” called him “selfish” and accused him of making “reckless decisions.”
In addition, Steve Bracknell, the Lake Mary police chief, agreed with emails sent to him by a local resident who said he believed Zimmerman was “a ticking time bomb” and “a Sandy Hook waiting to happen.”