Sanford police to wrap up investigation of teen's shooting death

17-year-old shot after scuffle with neighborhood watchman in Sanford

SANFORD, Fla. - Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee held a news conference on Monday to announce the completion of their investigation into the case of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman.

Lee said the Sanford Police will turn the case over to the State Attorney's office Tuesday.

Martin, 17, of Miami, was shot and killed last month in Sanford while visiting family in Central Florida. 

Lee, Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte, Jr., and Mayor Jeff Triplett held a news conference Monday to assure residents they did a thorough investigation.

"We want to make sure we do a fair complete thorough investigation so we can reach some form of justice with this event," Lee said. "There are no winners in this event, especially for the Martin family and the community."

On Feb. 26 just after 7 p.m., George Zimmerman was on Neighborhood Watch and reported seeing a suspicious man walking down the street.  Local 6 News has learned that Martin was on his way home after buying a bag of Skittles and a drink at a nearby convenience store.

A 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman that officers were on the way and not to interfere.

Police said the two got into a scuffle and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest.  Zimmerman was questioned but has not been arrested.

Lee said that the evidence so far doesn't contradict Zimmerman's claim of self-defense, therefore, he can't be arrested.

"We don't have anything to dispute his claim of self defense at this point with the evidence," Lee said.

On Sunday, Martin's family held a vigil in Miami.  His parents, Sabrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, made an emotional plea to Sanford police,  asking for the release the 911 recordings and to make an arrest in their son's death.

On Saturday, dozens of people turned out to peacefully protest what they believe was an injustice.

"The individual who shot him should have been arrested.  That doesn't mean convicted, it means arrested," said Dave Brownyard.

The Sanford Police Department told Local 6 reporter Kala Rama that they respect the citizens' right to peacefully protest.

Tempers also flared after the news conference Monday, as Sanford residents confronted police. Residents said they think police are "covering up" for Zimmerman.

The Martin family's attorney said the family is disappointed with the news conference, saying they wanted an announcement of Zimmerman's arrest.

"It definitely was a dollar short and a day late," said attorney Natalie Jackson. "Especially when you have a press conference to tell them you're going to 'pass the buck.' They wanted a press conference today for an arrest, they want justice for their family."

Community activists confronted Sanford police after they announced there were no arrests.

"This should not be the policy of the City of Sanford," said longtime Sanford resident James Davis. "A man gets out of his car, packing a gun, confronts a black man and gets in an argument and shoots him to death. How can you justify that shooting?"

Jackson said the family is suing to get the 911 calls released so the family can see for themselves what happened.

"Because they understand that citizens are smart and they have common sense," said attorney Natalie Jackson. "You can listen to the tape and you can decide. You can see this was not self defense. And if it was, please go arrest him and let him prove it in a court of law like anyone else would."

It's unknown when a judge will take up the matter or when the State Attorney's Office will make a decision on whether any crime has been committed.

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