State Attorney to investigate shooting of teen - New York News

State Attorney to investigate shooting of teen at Sanford town home complex

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The Sanford Police Department will not release telephone recordings in the shooting death of a teenager until an investigation is completed by the State Attorney's Office, according to Police Chief Bill Lee.

Lee was joined by Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, and City Manager Norton N. Bonaparte at a news conference held at Sanford City Hall on Monday afternoon, where the three fielded questions from the media about the shooting of Trayvon Martin.  

On February 26, Martin was killed during an altercation at the Retreat at Twin Lake Townhomes. According to investigators, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman fired the deadly shot which took the life of the 17-year-old boy.

"We're fully invested in this investigation," said Mayor Triplett. "We want to make sure that this comes out right and that everything happens in a very deliberate manner."

Investigators are finalizing details in preparation to turn the case over to the State Attorney's Office, which was expected to happen some time late Monday afternoon.

"It is our desire to make sure that we do a thorough and fair investigation," added Chief Lee, "so that we can reach some form of justice."

The police department has been under scrutiny for not releasing recordings of 911 calls placed by witnesses and a non-emergency call placed by Zimmerman on the night of the shooting.  The victim's family filed a lawsuit over the weekend asking a judge to force a release of the recordings.  

Before making contact with Martin, Zimmerman called to report what he perceived as suspicious behavior.   According to Chief Lee, the call taker made a recommendation that Zimmerman wait for police officers and to not act alone.  Lee said Zimmerman was under no legal obligation to follow that recommendation.  Still, Martin's family and others in the community are outraged that the 25-year-old Zimmerman isn't behind bars. 

"We don't have the grounds to arrest him," Chief Lee said of Zimmerman.  "We don't have anything to dispute his claim of self defense."

Zimmerman's firearm was secured when he was taken in for questioning following the shooting, and the gun is presently in the custody of law enforcement and has been submitted as evidence, said Lee.

When asked about the efficacy of the Neighborhood Watch program, Chief Lee said the department was in full support of neighbors watching out for neighbors. "We do support neighborhood watch," he added.

At this time, Zimmerman faces no charges and investigators say he has the proper permits to carry a weapon.

"This is a tragedy. I hate it for the Martin family and for the City of Sanford," said Mayor Triplett.

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