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Zimmerman gives public interview, says Martin incident 'all God's plan'

July 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
George Zimmerman gave his first lengthy public interview Wednesday since fatally shooting Trayvon Martin in a Sanford, Florida neighborhood on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman appeared on Fox News to sit for an interview with Fox host Sean Hannity. Zimmerman appeared with his lawyer.

Zimmerman, 28, said he was not pursuing 17-year-old Martin. Zimmerman saw Martin walking through a gated neighborhood and called police to report a suspicious person. A police dispatcher told Zimmerman an officer would respond and that he should not follow the person, Martin. Zimmerman exited his vehicle and got into a physical altercation with Martin that led to Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin.

"I hadn't given them a correct address. I was going to give them the actual address," said Zimmerman in the interview. "I meant that I was going in the same direction as him. I didn't mean that I was actually pursuing him."

Zimmerman said that shortly after he got out of his car, Martin was right next to him. Zimmerman said he looked down to try to find his cellphone and when he looked up, Martin punched him and broke his nose.

He said as the two were struggling, Martin said "you're going to die tonight." He says Martin also reached for the gun that Zimmerman always carries.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He claims he shot Martin in self-defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law. Zimmerman is free on $1 million bail. "He started bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk. I was disoriented," Zimmerman said, adding that it was at that point he began to fear for his life - another key element in his self-defense claim.

In the Fox News interview, Zimmerman said he felt the course of the night "was all God's plan."

"We must worship a different God," Martin's father, Tracy Martin, told The Associated Press. "There is no way that my God wanted George Zimmerman to murder my teenage son."

Speaking Thursday on NBC's "Today" show, Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, said the notion was "ridiculous."

In the Fox News interview, Zimmerman also said he'd like to talk with Martin's parents about what happened.

"Absolutely not," Fulton said when asked on NBC if she'd be willing to meet with Zimmerman.

In his interview, Zimmerman said he would like to tell Martin's parents he was sorry about the teen's death.

"I can't imagine what it must feel like. And I pray for them daily," Zimmerman said. Later, he added: "I am sorry that this happened."

Fulton said it is hard for her to accept his apology because he still says he does not regret anything he did on the night of the shooting.

Zimmerman also said racial profiling had nothing to do with the confrontation. Zimmerman has Hispanic heritage. Martin was African-American.

"I'm not a racist and I'm not a murderer," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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