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. gloria

    I am confused about a comment in the 911 call. He contradicts himself. How could you be following a person coming towards you?

    March 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sherrell

    I am behind Trayvon Martin parents 100 percent they deserve justice and a fair trial. And they are not alone their cries,pain, and concerns have affected amercians from state to state. We are outraged that this young boy's murder was treated as a self denfense act instead of what it really is a racism act. I was in tears when i heard the helpless screams from Trayvon it has affected me dearly. I believe that the police as well as the chief who has took a break after the trayon murder went public should also be arrested and resigned from office they were not helping Trayvon they were covering up for George Zimmerman. And we will never stop waking up thinking about Trayvon, Never stop watching updates on Trayvon, and never stop praying for Trayvon parents untill George Zimmerman is arrested, served the death penalty and Trayvon parents can smile againe.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Patterson Stone

    Did Zimmerman call 911 as Trayvon lay dying? If not, why not? We know his phone could dial that number. Why did neighbors have to call for help to save this severely injured boy? We know that Zimmerman's "injuries" didn't keep him from functioning. Did he just want to watch him die?

    March 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. waalee2

    Racism hasn't gone away. This kid was shot by a Racist. The Police don't make an arrest because they are Racist. White people are not protesting because they are Racist. For the most part being Black in America is very dangerous. Sure there are some who say this was an isolated incident and they are right it is an Isolated incident in Sanford and next year maybe another isolated incident.

    March 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Tuttle

      If all white people are racist, and white people are 68% of the total population of the US how was Obama elected? Do the math, not all white people are racist

      March 24, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Kristy

      I am white, protesting, and not a racist. I also don't believe that all black people are criminals – actually I believe that criminals are criminals, period, with NO reference to skin color. I really hate that your life experience makes you believe that all whites are racist. Our nation is broken, but I promise you that there are those of us fighting to make it better!

      March 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • white

      The most racist people in the country are the blacks calling everyone else racists.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dpkripy

    My bet is that Zimmerman will stay free because his version is the truth.

    March 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wallace Allen

      Look in the mirror and repeat what you wrote, but first take off your HOOD , how can it be self defense , the kid was running shouting help , are you a moron or a RACIST , forget it there both the same .

      March 24, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Smith

      The problem is that with Mr Martin dead, he can not state HIS version of the truth. Very convenient for Mr Zimmerman if you ask me. Oh, part of Mr Zimmerman's version of the "truth" is that he wasn't following Mr Martin, yet he clearly states to the 911 operator that he was following Martin and he was told by the 911 operator to stop following Martin. Hmmmm....his version of the "truth" is awfully murky. Certainly you can see the discrepancy.

      March 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. wally

    I have to boys and know if this happened to my wife and I i will be hurt. This is all racist act by George and the way he was raised by his parent. I know we still have racist eliment in all communities.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Aryes

    Why is there no regard for the lives of black males in this country? When will we have an open and honest dialogue regarding the hatred that is disbursed against black males, of all ages, in this country on a daily basis by law enforcement, employers, teachers, neighbors......? It is a shame that we can focus on a sweatshirt style hoodie or why he may have been suspended from school when none of that mattered to the person that murdered Trayvon Martin, he was focused on the color of Trayvon's skin ... Trayvon Martin was a child and he was disrespected, hunted down and murdered like he was a part of a sportsman event. Our hearts and souls should bleed and more important we need to make sure this is the last time we allow racist people to kill and eliminate our children who are our future.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lynn

    Avert and avoid is what the NRA teaches. This sounds like a situation that could have been avoided. A human life was taken no one wins in this situation. The problem is not in the Florida law or any other, it is in the heart of mankind. A change there and perhaps we can all learn what it means to really love one another.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kate

    This is devastating. I can't even imagine. This Zimmerman dude was definitely not in fear of his life so he had no right to shoot anyone. This is not at all a race issue, this is more of an issue of people using force when it is not necessary.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. epw

    Can you see him? Holding a single bag of skittles and a can of iced tea, Can you see him? Wearing his hoodie. Can you see his blood soaked body, left to die? Can you really see him? I want you to picture that young man. Now imagine he's white. -adapted from the movie " A Time to Kill".-EPW

    March 24, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • dgh

      So true, so sadly true.

      March 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Grace

    Zimmerman is very much of the same type of mentally as Var der Sloot who killed the US teenager. He is a very sick bad and if not put away will cause terror to the society again. He went out of his way to make contact with this innocent young man who was minding his own business. The child did not go to his house nor was he on his property. Zimmerman's intention was to harm someone that day. It does not matter what color he is. What matter is that he is a very sick individual. If you can take a life in cold blood your life should be taken. What is a life worth. It is priceless. The life he took could have made tremendous good to this world. The Zimmerman has caused is huge. We will not condone such a person. I do not see color, I see humans and there worth. An hispanic child has the same worth as a black child, or a white child. Take any of them a raise them right and you will see no difference.

    Zimmerman has committed a horendous crime against humanity. He took a human's life. A life that you cannot put a price on becuase it value is beyond any price we can imagine. Zimmerman's should pay for his crime.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark Carver

      Grace, You obviously didn't look at the evidence. He's not a serial killer and I hope you never serve on a jury for justice's sake.

      March 24, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Marge

    How can a 145lb 17 year old boy over power a grown man who is about 30lbs heavier than he is? Zimmerman's prior record proves he is a loose canon. In 2005 Orange County police charged Zimmerman with resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer. These charges were later dropped. But keep in mind his dad is a judge.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. marvin henson

    neighbor hood is responsible for using a person with zimmersons past history to harress people

    March 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cherie

    absolutely ridiculous. he shot that kid down in cold blood. how is it self defense if the kid is running away and you are chasing him? How are u defending urself by chasing after someone. He also used a racial slur, if u listen to a good copy of the 911 call u can hear it. something needs to happen because people are going to come together and start a movement. There is NO REASON Zimmerman should be free right now. NONE!

    March 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cherie

    the media and people are NOT being stupid. Have u listened to the 911 tape? You dont follow someone, especially a damn CHILD, and then claim self defense after u have chased them down and backed them into a corner. Thats what we teach our kids to do, run away and if they cant get away to fight. You're an idiot.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
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