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. Maria Cabreira

    That is what happen when you have guns in the hands of STUPID PEOPLE! What an IDIOT, IRRATIONAL, probably hateful person this guy is. Disgusting,sad, beyond comprehension!

    March 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. billybob

    I blame Hollywood, putting out movies where heros run and gun.

    March 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karma

    firstly to the family my coldolances its a very hard thing to lose a heart and prayers are with you
    as for guilty not not going to give my opinion due to I dont know the facts as none of you do ,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kewx007

    RACE:In certain broader or less technical sense, race is sometimes used interchangeably with people. People refers to a body of persons united usually by common interests, ideals, or culture but sometimes also by a common history, language, or ethnic character. Therefore like i stated before, this is not at Race(people) issue it is a social issue. Someone always wants to correct someone without knowing the full context of what was said smh.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tom

    Too many of you are basing your conclusions not on the facts (we dont have them yet) but on the race based supposition that the evil white guy must have murdered the poor innocent black guy. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't. We just don't know. Zimmerman did act irresponsibly if he tried to play policeman and follow the guy. So mistakes were made. But to call him a murderer without facts is bias. All you blacks here doing this didn't like it back when people did it to O.J. Simpson without knowing the facts so please don't do the same. Let's wait for facts.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • kewx007

      If you listen to the 911 calls, he is clearly the aggressor. This situation is wrong no matter what ethnicity the parties involved were. The young man was trying to get away from Zimmerman and he kept following him. We do know for a fact that an UNARMED YOUNG MAN was gunned down. That in itself is a tragedy for anyone. Also if Zimmerman was such great person why hasnt he come forward to apologize or to explain what really happened? Since he was in the right according to police and not arrested. You are the person pulling ethnicity into the argument. You brush it off as "mistakes were made" and you said yourself "he acted irresponsibly" so why does he not need to be arrested? Acting irresponsibly with a deadly weapon and killing someone sounds like Murder:murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).

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

    There are only five questions that need to be answered regarding whether or not Zimmerman should be arrested:
    1. Was Martin armed? No.
    2. Was Zimmerman armed? Yes.
    3. Was Zimmerman chasing down Martin? Yes (according to the tapes).
    4. If Martin felt that his life was in imminent danger, did he have the right to defend himself? Yes.
    5. Did Zimmerman observe Martin attacking someone else? No (according to the tapes and report).

    So, what we have here is an armed individual chasing down an unarmed individual who is not attacking anyone. Clearly, Martin, if there was any fight, had the right to defend himself. That Zimmerman is not behind bars right now clearly indicates racism in the police department (I'm white). Thus, Zimmerman can claim all he wants that he was defending himself; however, you can't claim self defense if you're the one attacking. The answers to the five simple questions tells the story.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Terry

    blame that police department for that kid death as well. You say how, Zimmerman had been calling that police department like crazy they say he place close to 50, 911 calls.
    Now you think the police is going to respond to any calls this man makes. It wasn't until the dispatcher started getting calls from residents hearing someone calling for help in that area they responded quickly by that time it was too late for the kid. Zimmerman, I say new they weren't going to respond to his call. Had they(police) once step back and said lets check this one out the kid might still be alive.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cece Young

    One thing is obvious from the 911 call made by Zimmerman....Zimmerman approached and followed Trayvon...not the other way around. I could half-way understand Zimmerman saying he felt threatened if Martin had approached him instead. Also, I am a single female and from what some are saying, everytime a man is walking toward me or my car and I get scared, instead of planning my escape route if need be....I SHOULD JUST BREAK OUT SHOOTING BECAUSE I FEEL SCARED. That is absurd!!!!!

    March 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sam

    We are all guilty for the loss of this young man's life. If the society keeps playing down racism and hate that is directed against minorities in this country, then no telling who the next victim will be. Society failed to protect Trayvon and we all should be on trial. It is not safe to be a black man in this country as well as someone of other religions or creed. We have long ways to go and we should all ask for Trayvon's father forgiveness. I am so sorry for your loss sir.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • nicky1wood

      Very well said,and so true.

      March 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. European visitor

    What to expect from individuals in US? Preemptive killing goes on in US every day among US citizens. Also as a state US shows the same pattern – in aggression against Iraq, and soon in preemptive aggression against Iran. That is American liberty and democracy at work.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth Freedom

      You are so correct European Visitor.....

      March 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDinNOVA

      European visitor – why are you visiting the US if it is so dangerous? People are killed preemptively every day? What's the evidence? And as for the US acting preemptively, I submit numerous examples that undercut that assertion: Iraq war I (after Iraq invaded Kuwait the US lead a coalition of numerous nations); Kosovo (yes, Serbia did not attack the US, but the US acted with NATO allies after massive ethnic cleansing); Afghanistan (after the attack of 9/11). And if one reads the news about Iran, it becomes obvious that the US is working with European countries, and engaging China and Russia, to impose strong sanctions; President Obama has urged Israel to NOT bomb Iranian sites. So, European Visitor, I hope you enjoy your visit but I urge you to do a better job of grasping US history and current events.

      March 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      No. This is all over the news precisely because this is NOT normal.

      March 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Javier

    Arrest that POS Zimmerman now! He is a murderer and deserves to be in jail. I wonder how the police would have reacted if a black man shoots a white kid for no reasong whatsoever.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NonWarmer

    So. . . My neighborhood has been robbed and burglarised. I go out on watch. Bad time to dress like a hip hop gang banger.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      I wasn't aware that jeans and a hoodie was considered hip hop gang banger wear, but I'll keep that in mind. Better start notifying everyone I know about that, cause I see that outfit on a daily basis. Wouldn't want some of my friends or family to get shot because of their choice of clothing.

      March 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sacmar

    I'm glad a grand jury and the feds are investigating. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. arthur

    we haven't herd about the kids back round for some reason,tell all the story first. how many parents say my kid is a good boy then u find out had history of violence,,, the shooter had cuts bruises covered with grass, did he shoot ,than through himself on the ground

    March 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ken

    I tell both my kids to run if they are being followed and find somewhere for help, with all the abductions that have happened in the last ten plus years. I guess I need to worry if I tell them to do that someone might shoot them....

    March 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
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