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. Harry

    Did the kid have any priors?

    March 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      Sorry but it should not matter if he had a would the man that shot him known in the short amount of time.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      No, but the shooter did

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

      I understand he had no priors, but the shooter did...

      March 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • galford

      no this was minor 17 year old kid that was a high school football star and that man killed him like he was a dog in the streets....

      March 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nykeisha

    smh.what that man did to that young man was just all wrong. you think hes up to something because hes black come on now nd if it was self definse y was Mr.Martins face faced down while he was standing over him justices needs to be surved

    March 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      I am a white female and Mother. I am tired of people being prejudice and judging others by their color of skin. Would this guy been as aggressive if it had been a white kid. This is terrible!

      March 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Most of them dispatchers have a phone trace deal that works in seconds telling them exactly where the call is comming from.
    Now all she needs is a Glock 9mm...stay on the phone about 30 seconds, then go out and handle it herself. 😉

    March 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TrueAmerican

    I've looked at several web postings, and this is the first to mention that responding Police Officers noted injuries to Zimmerman's face and back of head, and that wet grass indicated he had possibly been knocked to the ground. Zimmerman also makes a statement of yelling for help. Issues to consider: Is it criminal to carry a gun as you watch your own neighborhood? No. Although it is not the smartest thing to do, is it criminal for the same person to follow what is perceived as a JDLR (Just Doesn't Look Right) No. Is it criminal to not obey a dispatcher telling a person not to follow/watch the JDLR? No. Up to that point, based on the 911 tapes, Zimmerman has not broken any laws. What happened after that, is unknown. It is so very sad for any death to occur; it is especially troubling for the poor parents of Trayvon, who must accept the fact that their son is gone and they do not know all the facts surrounding how it occurred. I pray that God may grant them some peace and impart some wisdom/inspiration to so many who are using this incident to inflame hateful racial perceptions. If You believe in a Christian God, then we are all brothers and sisters. I will pray for our "family."

    March 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      It was the kid yelling.

      Zimmerman could have followed the kid * in his car. *
      He followed a different course, which cost this young man his life.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike73

      It's callled a neighborhood watch not a Neighborhood chase down an unarmed man and shoot him. If he would have stay in the house like the officer told him to do over the phone none of this would have happened.If someone is chasing me at night for no reason I would defend myself. Maybe that is why he got knocked down and was bleeding out of his head. That poor kid was murdered

      March 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • sick dog

      bhla bla bla

      March 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tension Abounds

    There should be a further investigation given these facts. This may not have been a racially motivated situation at all. However, there can not be any doubt that there are still some very heavy tensions between White Hispanics and Blacks most everywhere. The two groups just do not get along well and I doubt they ever will.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jon

    In the same town is another case where a black homeowner shot and unarmed young white man. THe case went months before the shooter was arrested. No federal government intervention and no national media attention. Thats the reality we live in now, race is everything

    March 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. greg

    Which weapon was a threat to Zimmermans life,the skittles or the drink.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bentley

      Well said.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sheila

    There is one ray of hope in all of this – all these people called 911 to help. In so many cases, we hear that the person could have been saved if someone had just called 911.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Leslie

    This is a shame what happened to this innocent child. I cannot even imagine the fear that he felt before his last breath. My heart goes out to the victim and his family. Justice MUST be served.
    From little bit I know about this that it was so not necessary to pull out a gun and shoot the kid. He wasn't doing any thing wrong! How could the guy that shoot him feel threatened by a young small kid? This is unacceptable. There is no reason for this to have happened. So unnecessary. I wished I never heard about this story...I am so upset!

    March 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Harry

    Wasn't Zimmermann a hispanic, jew?

    March 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trondo

      Yes. They say he is a White Hispanic. White as his race and Hispanic as the ethnicity.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |

    It not about the race in my book it about RIGHT ARE WRONG ,Zimmerman was wrong an he need to pay for his action,yes you have to think it was about race the fact that the youngman was black the shoot said that himself an he target him right then because of who he was and what he had on ,every youth in america have that same outfit in there that a fact so they need to do the right thing an arrest this man an let a court of law rule.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sheila

    If it's legal for Zimmerman to "Stand Your Ground" and fight back if he feels threatened, then it was legal if Trayvon Stood His Ground and fought back when threatened. You don't get to incite a fight – by following, stalking, approaching with a firearm – and then claim self defense if the 17 year old beats you over the head with a can of iced tea.

    March 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Harry

    The dudes in my neighborhood watch rides around in Humvees with M60 mounted on top. Isn't that normal?

    March 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill, Bloomington Il

    She heard Zimmerman push Martin? How do you hear that over the phone? Zimmerman seems guilty but with witnesses like her I dont see a conviction.

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

      more than likely she heard him get shoved and yes its possible cause it happen to me and someone heard me get pushed and asked was i pushed and got hit by someone so yes it can happen, thank you very much

      March 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sgt. slaughter

    If Black Males were not robbing housed in that neighborhood, maybe it wouldn't have happened.

    March 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • David B.

      If hero mentality vigilantes weren't looking for trouble, it WOULDN"T have happened.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • sftommy

      Except for Zimmerman's profiling, justice is color blind.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spencer

      OK, SO MAYBE IF WE DIDN'T GO TO WAR WITH EVERYONE 911 WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED. Racism is so 50 years ago. Get over it

      March 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • todd

      sgt.are you serious? I guess so, what do you have to say for yourself? Racist?

      March 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Why do you assume it was "black males" "robbing houses" in that neighborhood? If racists like you were not born this wouldn't have happened...

      March 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judge Justice

      too bad it was not your son to take a bullet

      March 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • tecjug

      You know what? If the jackhat hadn't been carrying a loaded weapon OR if he had simply listened to the 911 dispatcher who told him to stop following the kid, it DEFINITELY wouldn't have happened.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
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