March 20th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

911 calls paint picture of chaos after Florida teen is shot

The death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen who was shot while walking in his neighborhood in Sanford, Florida, has sparked allegations of racial profiling and calls for the gunman to be charged.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI will investigate the incident.

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has acknowledged shooting Martin, has not been charged and says it was self-defense.

Martin, 17, was killed while walking to his father's fiancee's house in Sanford from a nearby convenience store.

Zimmerman first called police at 7:09 p.m. ET with concerns about a suspicious teen in the area, according to 911 tapes released by the Seminole County Sheriff's Department.

A 16-year-old girl who was on the phone with Martin most of the day last spoke to him around the time the incident allegedly began and lasted until 7:16 p.m. ET, when the call dropped. Almost immediately, 911 calls began coming in.  Police arrived on the scene at 7:17 p.m.

Several witnesses called 911 at 7:16, 7:17, 7:18 and 7:19 p.m. ET.

Below are the transcripts of the calls as Zimmerman and witnesses describe what they saw and heard that night:

7:09 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Zimmerman: "We had some break-ins in our neighborhood ... and there is a real suspicious guy. ... This guy looks like he's up to no good, he's on drugs or something. It's raining, and he's walking around looking about. "

Dispatcher: "Is this guy white, black, Hispanic?"

Zimmerman: "He looks black."

Dispatcher: "Did you see what he's wearing?"

Zimmerman: "A dark hoodie, grey hoodie, jeans or sweatpants or white shoes. He's walking around staring at the houses. Now he's just staring at me."

Dispatcher: "Location?"

Zimmerman: "He's near the clubhouse right now. Now he's coming towards me. He has his hands in his waistband. He is a black male. Something's wrong with him. Yep. He's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is. Send officers over here."

Dispatcher: "Let me know if he does anything else."

Zimmerman: "These a**holes, they always get away. When you come in go straight to the left ... when you pass the clubhouse ..."

Dispatcher: "Clubhouse?"

Zimmerman: "Go straight in. Oh, s***. He's running ... down towards the other entrance of neighborhood."

Dispatcher: "He's running? Which way is he running?"

Zimmerman: "Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood."

Dispatcher: "Which entrance is that, that he is running towards?

Zimmerman: "The back entrance."


Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"

Zimmerman: "Yeah."

Dispatcher: "OK. We don't need you to do that. What's your name?"

Zimmerman: "George. Zimmerman."

Dispatcher: "Do you want to meet with the officer ..."

Zimmerman: "Tell them to come past the clubhouse and make a left then past mailboxes and they will see my truck ..."

Dispatcher: "What's your apartment number?"

Zimmerman: "It's a home. ... I don't want to give that out. I don't know who this kid is."

Dispatcher: "I will let them know where to meet you."

Zimmerman: "Have them call me, and I will let you know where I'm at."


During part of this time, Martin is on the phone with a 16-year-old girl. Below is an account of the phone call as relayed to In Session's Sunny Hostin by a lawyer for the Martin family:

Martin told the girl someone was following him, and she advised him to run. Martin said he isn't going to run but will walk quickly. Zimmerman caught up with him, and Martin asked Zimmerman why he was following him. Zimmerman then asked Martin his name and why he was there. The girl on the phone says she heard Zimmerman push Martin, and then the call drops. She tried to call Martin back, but he didn't respond.


7:16 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "Maybe both. I'm not sure. There's just someone screaming outside."

Dispatcher: "Is it a male or female?"

Caller: "It sounds like a male."

Dispatcher: "You don't know why?"

Caller: "I don't know why. I think they are yelling 'help,' but I don't know. Just end someone quick, please."

Dispatcher: "Does he look hurt to you?"

Caller: "I can't see him. I don't want to go out there. I don't know what's going on."

Dispatcher: "So you think he's yelling help?"

Caller: "Yes. There's gunshots."

Dispatcher: "How many?"

Caller: "Just one."


Dispatcher: "Is he right outside?"

Caller: "Yes. Pretty much out the back, yes."

Dispatcher: "Is he in front of it or behind it?"

Caller: "He's behind my house."

Dispatcher: "I don't hear him yelling anymore. Do you hear anything?"

Caller: "No, I don't because I'm hiding upstairs. The gunshot was outside our house. You sent somebody, right?"

Dispatcher: "Do you hear any vehicles leaving or anything else?

Caller: "There's people yelling down there, but I don't want to go down there."

Dispatcher: "People are yelling now?"

Caller: "Yeah."

Dispatcher: "We do have officers on the way. Call us back if you see any vehicles leaving or anything."


7:16 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "There's someone screaming outside."

Dispatcher: "Is that at where you are at?"

Caller: "Oh, my God, there is a gunshot, hurry up."


Dispatcher: "Do you see anybody? I don't need you to go outside."

Caller: "There is someone screaming. I just heard a gunshot."

Dispatcher: "Do you see anything? I don't need you to go outside. Do you hear screaming or anything?"

Caller: "Hurry up, they are right outside my house."

Dispatcher: "OK, we [have] police and emergency, OK. Are you in Sanford?"

Caller: "I see police now."

Dispatcher: "You see the officer?"

Caller: "Yeah, but like it's behind the house. There is a dead body there. It's not the front entrance. Oh, my God."

Dispatcher: "Please tell me so I can tell them."

Caller: "If you are looking at my house, it's behind by my back porch."

Dispatcher: "Coming from behind your house?"

Caller: "Yes, the back porch."

Dispatcher: "Stay on the line and update me."

Caller: "I just heard screaming and a gunshot."

Dispatcher: "We have an officer there. Did you hear any more gunshots?"

Caller: "No, I don't hear. Hurry up, hurry up."

Dispatcher: "OK, we have officers out there, OK? If anything changes, give us a call back, but we do have officers there. One officer is there."

Caller: "OK, did he see anything?"

Dispatcher: "I'm not sure, ma'am, I just know he is there, and two other officers are on their way, OK? If anything changes or anything more, call us back. As far as you know, it's coming from behind your house near your back-porch area? When you hear screaming, was it screaming of female or male?"

Caller: "Male."

Dispatcher: "So, when you heard screaming, it was a male screaming?"

Caller: "Yes. And the guy on top had a white t-shirt."

Dispatcher: "What do you mean guy on top? Did you see a fight?"

Caller: "I don't know, I just looked out my window, and there was a guy on top wearing a white t-shirt."

Dispatcher: "A white t-shirt. Did you see what kind of pants? He was on top of what?"

Caller: "I couldn't see the person he was on."

Dispatcher: "But he was on top of a person?"

Caller: "Yes."

Dispatcher: "The guy with the white t-shirt, did he get up and run?"

Caller: "I don't know. Went to the phone to call you

Dispatcher: "White, black or Hispanic?"

Caller: "I couldn't tell, it was completely dark."

Dispatcher: "We have several units en route."

Caller: "Thank you."

7:17 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "I’m looking out my deck, and someone is screaming 'help,' and I don’t know. … I heard a bang. I’m looking out my window, out my backyard, and someone is yelling and screaming 'help.' "

Dispatcher: "You are not the only person calling. We have more than one officer on the scene and another on the way."

Caller: "Oh, my God. I see the person now. I see him walking. There’s a man coming out and people coming out with flashlights. Oh, my God. I don’t know what he did to this person. I can see there is a man walking out with a flashlight right now."

Dispatcher: "Was it a male or female voice?"

Caller: "The man is up right now. Someone is coming over. I’m glad other people called."

Dispatcher: "We should be out there right now."

Caller: "I can open my window and hear it."

Dispatcher: "You can still hear it?"

Caller: "I don’t know what is happening. Someone is laying on the ground."

Dispatcher: "What’s happening? Someone is on the ground? Someone has been shot? Calm down, stay on the line with me. Like I said, we have an officer on the scene, and we have other officers on the line."

Caller: "Oh, my God. They better hurry up. Someone is on the ground. Oh, my God! I see out my back window, sidewalk, grass, something is really bad. There is a man out here with a flashlight."

Dispatcher: "Is this person laying down in the street?"

Caller: "No, it's from my back window."

Dispatcher: "So is the person laying down in the street or in the grass?"

Caller: "The grass. Oh, my God! I think there is another gentleman with a flashlight. ... I think police. Oh, my God! He shot, he shot the person.He says he shot the person. He said he shot the person."

Dispatcher: "Who saying they shot who?"

Caller: "The people out there, a guy is raising his hands up, he's saying he shot a person. I think it's a police officer that's with him right now. arrest - uh - oh, my God, why - why (inaudible)"

Dispatcher: "Our officer is there, he has somebody at gunpoint. They're going to handle the situation from here."

Caller: "Oh! Oh, my God, somebody would be shot!"

Dispatcher: "It's probably going to be best if you stay inside your home for the time being, OK?"

Caller:" I know. I can't believe somebody's killed. He was saying help. Why didn't someone come out and help him?"

Dispatcher: "Listen, we don't know if they been killed ..."

Caller: "Yes, the person is dead, laying on the ground."

Dispatcher: "Just because he's laying on the ground don't mean he's passed. We have an ambulance on the way, and we are probably going to pick him up and take him to the hospital."

Caller: "I didn't see cause it was too dark, and I just heard people screaming 'help me, help me.' And this person shot him! He was like wrestling with him, you know what I mean, on the ground, from what I can see it was very dark. The man didn't try to run away or anything. I don't want to be a witness or anything. I'm scared. Oh, my god, a young boy, I can't imagine, I haven't seen anyone killed. This is a nice neighborhood. Oh, my God, I'm too scared to live here."

Dispatcher: "You don't have to worry right now. We have many officers on the way. Two officers on scene right now, we are on scene, OK?"


7:17 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "Police. I just heard a shot behind my house. They are wrestling outside the back of my porch."

Dispatcher: "You just heard one shot go off?""

Caller: "It was either that or a rock at the window or something else. The guy's yelling 'help,' and I'm not going to help."

Dispatcher: "So you can hear someone yelling for help?"

Caller: "I'm pretty sure the guy is dead out here. Holy s***"

Dispatcher: "OK, we have several people calling in. Anything else that you heard?"

Caller: "A guy yelling, 'help.' Oh, my God! There is a guy with a flashlight in the backyard now. I think there's flashlights and a guy. ... I don't know if that's a cop. "

Dispatcher: "OK, we have several calls. Are you sure when you heard voices it was one person yelling, right?"

Caller: "There were two guys in the yard with flashlights, and there is a black guy down like he's been shot, and he's dead."

Dispatcher: "I have several officers going out there."


7:17 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "Medical. I think someone has been shot."

Dispatcher: "Why do you think someone has been shot?"

Caller: "Because they are laying in the backyard and a gunshot and they said 'call 911.' Now there are people coming with flashlights ..."

Dispatcher: "And it's in the backyard?"

Caller: "Yes."

Dispatcher: "And someone is laying in the backyard?"

Caller: "Yes, there are people around him now."

Dispatcher: "You there with kids?"

Caller: "Yes, my daughter. He is a black guy."

Dispatcher: "We have units on the way. What do you mean it's a black guy?"

Caller: "There is a black male standing over him."

Dispatcher: "Can you tell me what he's wearing?"

Caller: "I think someone else called 911."

Dispatcher: "You do see officers out there?"

Caller: "Yeah, I think that's the flashlights that we see."


7:18 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "This is 911, correct? Police or medical. Someone is yelling two doors down from me, screaming, hollering 'help, help, help.' There is an elderly man that lives down there. I don't know. I heard a gunshot. I don't know if it would be ambulance."

Dispatcher: "How many shots did you hear?"

Caller: "One."

Dispatcher: "How long ago?"

Caller: "As soon as I heard that I picked up the phone and called."

Dispatcher: "Before calling 911?"

Caller: "Yes. There is somebody out by my back porch. ... There is someone walking around with a flashlight. The police may already be here. I don't know. Someone is out there with a flashlight, but I did hear something."

Dispatcher: "We do have units there."

Caller: "Oh, my God."

Dispatcher: "And the screaming, was it a male or female you heard?"

Caller: "It sounded to me like a male, and from what I know and I've been here four years, there is an elderly man that lives like four doors down, um, north of me, and I'm inside."

Dispatcher: "Do you think it's coming from your area?"

Caller: "I don't know, ma'am, I'm standing at my back sliding glass door. I don't see anything but a flashlight shining around, but I did hear someone yelling 'help, help, help' or 'oh, my gosh' and something, then moaning and a boom, and I picked up the phone and called."

Dispatcher: "Did you see or hear anything else like a vehicle pulling away?"

Caller: "No, ma'am, because I'm in the back, and in the back there is just a walkway. It could have been someone in the front with a car, I don't know, but I was in the back. It was scary. There is someone still back there with flashlights walking around."

Dispatcher: "There should be someone on the scene ..."


7:19 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "My brother said someone got shot behind our house."

Dispatcher: "Is your brother out there right now?"

Caller: "No, he ran in the house."

Dispatcher: "Do you know who was shot?"

Caller: "No idea. ... I'm inside. It's behind our house. ... Yeah."

Dispatcher: "You didn't see or hear anything else? Did you hear the shot?"

Caller: "I heard something, and my brother ran in the house."

Dispatcher: "My brother saw it."

Dispatcher: "What did you see?"

Caller: "I saw a man laying on the ground screaming who needed help. I was going to go over there to try and help him, but my dog got off the leash, and I ran and got him, and I hurried around and down, and the screaming stopped."

Dispatcher: "Did you see the person get shot?"

Caller: "No."

Dispatcher: Did you know the person who got shot, or did you see the person with the gun?"

Caller: "No, I just heard a shot, and the screaming stopped."


Officers arrived on the scene at 7:17 p.m. ET, according to a police report.

Officers Timothy Smith and Ricardo Alayo said they noted a black male in a gray hooded sweatshirt lying face-down in the grass, as well as a white male in the area.

"Zimmerman stated that he had shot the subject and was still armed," Smith wrote in a police report.

Smith said he asked Zimmerman to hand over the weapon, a Kel Tec 9 mm, and handcuffed him.

"While I was in such close contact with Zimmerman, I could observe that his back appeared to be wet and he was covered in grass, as if he was laying on his back on the ground," Smith wrote in the police report. "Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and the back of the head."

The officers also made several attempts to revive Martin.

When police put Zimmerman in the back of the cruiser, he said, "I was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me," according to the police report.

soundoff (1,408 Responses)
  1. Karim

    Well at least the FBI is investigating, not too long before Zimmerman is in custody.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Debbie

    A previous article stated Zimmerman had attended classes regarding the Neighborhood WATCH program. I'm sure he received the same instructions in those classes that the 911 operator told him and he chose to disregard. Because of Zimmerman's desregard of the rules of Neighborhood Watch program, he became a self-appointed Captain of his own Neighborhood Shoot and Kill Program. A nice young man with a good upbringing (no criminal history and no drugs in his system) is no longer with us. And we're left with the likes of Zimmerman who appointed himself cop, Judge, jury and Executioner. He needlessly took a life-he should get life without parole.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ricky

    Crazy Florida, of course. I remember, I lived there. This is a crazy vigilante guy who thinks he is catching the bad guys, while in reality he is a menace to everyone. Of course, because this is Florida and the kid was black, he didn't even get arrested. If it had been the black guy doing the shooting, he would already in jail, and nobody would buy his self-defense argument.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Florida-Monique

    A couple of years ago my son was taken in "for questioning" and charged with a crime that he did not commit. With a good attorney all charges were dropped. It is the same racial profiling that cause young Mr. Martin to lose his life. Mr. Zimmerman should have already been arrested. If Mr. Zimmerman shot in self defense, he would have had to have shot from his back when it was on the ground not standing over top of the young man. Why would he need to follow him when the police told him not too. Right there he went against the law and its shows his character as a man. I tell me children we have laws to abide by for our safety and the safety of others. Because he has a license for a concealed weapon and a dark alley does not give him a license to kill.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • nunya

      Whatever – learn to spell. And your kid probably isn't as innocent as you make it seem.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. concerncitizen

    I'm glad the fed is getting involved. It is definitely racial profiling. Young life taken away for no reason at all. I hope justice will prevail for this kid and for his family. Racism is very much alive in this country.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CJ Topspin

    I think the only thing we really learned is that people at the scene were freaking out.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. juicycouture

    Wat is wrong with people these days....were falling apart.......

    March 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • nunya

      *What *we are

      March 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DevilSlayer

    "The guy's yelling for help and I'm not going outside" That caller sums up most bigoted males who talk tough on these forums from the safety of their computers and mobile phones. Cowards. Trayvon Martin would've been alive today if someone just yelled from the window to break it up. They're a witness and Zimmerman might've been reluctant to shoot. The Land of the Sheep, Home of the slave.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lady Of Silk

      Words are priceless & true!

      March 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps

      That's a bit harsh. The dispatchers were clearly telling everyone to stay inside. It sounds like it all happened quickly. If I were at home with my child, I would have done exactly what these people did, call 911. I've had to do it before and they do tell you NOT to approach the scene. If the idiot shooter had taken the advice given by the dispatcher (and it is good, standard advice in these cases), none of this would have happened. The cops would have come and questioned the kid, seen that he was armed with Skittles and advised him to go home before he got shot by some idiotic vigilante.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DC

    Zimmerman hasn't even publicly apologized or expressed regret for any of this. That tells you everything you need to know right there about him.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • nunya

      It tells you that he has an attorney advising him.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Brown

    Redma: post like the one you posted could be taken as issuing a threat, where you live, you belive in killing people who wronged you. You need to grown up.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TiredOfIt

    I'm sick of all the blame going to the white. Man, this guy is half Latino and everyone is yelling he's white. Obama has one white parent and nobody is calling him white. I'm not saying that there are never injustices that happen becuase they do, I am just sick of the race card being played.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Austin

      How do you know he is half Latino?

      March 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • RapidOne

      It doesn't matter what color he is–he is a murderer and justice is being miscarried. Obama's 'black' half is addressed so often because REPUBLICANS are constantly using racial undertones to stir up hatred and anger. You don't know squat because this is reality and you don't seem to get it.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |

    Why did he have a gun ,was he allow to arm his self side his home and why was he not charge ,this person was unarm .the people have aright to answers and he need to be in jail ,he was no cop to bear arm are in his rights harm anyone mad as hell; he is a murder that the fact anwe will not go away .

    March 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • nunya

      Reread what you wrote and then go back to school and learn how to use English correctly. Embarrassed you are a part of the breeding group.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mrmeagainstheworld

    If a black guy was acting strange in front of your houses, I bet you all would have called the police too. Black people are scary!

    March 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cowards

      People like you are scary! It's disgusting. Comment sections are a joke and breeding ground for anonymous racism and hate. I'm sick of it!

      March 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Austin

      If anyone where in front of my house acting strange I would call the police but I wouldn't go out and shoot him. That is the point.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Florida-Monique

    Someone please tell me why did he have a gun during his watch anyway. I was part of a watch group and the first thing they tell you is call the police. let the police do their job you are there to assist the police not to be the police. which is why the dispatcher told him to stand down.......Now it’s time for America to STAND UP for JUSTICE.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • nunya

      Right..... people would not even help someone when they yelled for help. Shows you how many weak people we have in America today. Not one person had the balls to go outside and help someone who is yelling for help. One person stated they didnt want to be a witness.... How shameful. Now you ask people to step up after someone has been killed? Right.... It takes balls to do that...

      March 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. K Summers

    This is ridiculous. I am extremely sympathetic for the family and close friends of the teen. I'm not trying to play the race card but it's true if Trayvon Martin was another race and or gender Zimmerman would NOT be able to run free like that. It's obvious whoever's in charge of the investigation etc. pick up the slack, at least detain the man until further notice. This is coming from a junior high school who hasn't any experience in law yet i'm able to tell the difference from self defense and murder.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • RapidOne

      Very thoughtful.

      March 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
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