Shellie Zimmerman Changes Her Story, Says George Didn't Threaten Her With a Gun

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 10 2013 1:11 PM

Shellie Zimmerman Changes Her Story, Says George Didn't Threaten Her With a Gun

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George Zimmerman arrives with his wife Shellie, on the 11th day of his trial in Seminole circuit court June 24, 2013 in Sanford, Florida

Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, called 911 on Monday afternoon to report that her husband was threatening her and her father with a gun. In a recording of that frantic call, Shellie can be heard telling the dispatcher that George had "his hand on his gun and he keeps saying step closer." "Step closer and what?" the dispatcher responds. "And he's going to shoot us," Shellie Zimmerman replies. Later in the call, Shellie can be heard warning her father to stay away from her husband: "Dad, get inside the house; George might start shooting at us."

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The local police force responded by sending eight units—including officers in tactical gear—to the home, and the story quickly went national following an initial report from local CBS affiliate WKMG that George Zimmerman was in police custody after an "incident involving a gun with another person." Turns out, however, that while everyone involved can pretty much agree that there was definitely some type of "incident," it now appears as though it was one that did not directly involve a gun.

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"We didn't find a gun," Lake Mary police spokesman Zach Hudson said late Monday night. "We didn't find anything that indicated he had a gun on his person." Meanwhile, Shellie Zimmerman, who is seeking a divorce from her husband, declined to press charges after he was briefly held in investigative detention, and now says she had her original story wrong, according to police (via the Associated Press):

Hours later, after police converged on the home Monday in an Orlando suburb and after speaking to her attorney, she changed her story, said Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell. She said she never saw a gun and that she and her father, whom she said Zimmerman had punched in the face, had no interest in pressing charges.

In a somewhat odd and confusing twist, however, there is still one person saying that George Zimmerman was in fact carrying a gun yesterday: His defense lawyer, Mark O'Mara, who nonetheless stressed that his client says he didn't use it to threaten anyone. "The gun was holstered under his shirt, and it stayed there the whole time," O'Mara said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "I know the 911 tape suggests that Shellie was saying something but I think that was heightened emotions. ... There may have been some pushing and touching. That happens a lot in divorce situations."

Police said Tuesday that they could still pursue domestic violence charges against George Zimmerman, or possibly even Shellie or her father if the evidence warrants. Officers say they plan to look at surveillance video from cameras outside the house, along with footage possibly taken on Shellie's iPad that was allegedly smashed during the encounter, before making a decision. Still, as of Tuesday, Hudson suggested that based on what they currently know they remain convinced that "a gun is not a part of the equation."

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