George Zimmerman Shot At During Road Rage Dispute


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George Zimmerman was shot at but not seriously hurt Monday afternoon in what Lake Mary police called a road rage incident involving a man Zimmerman had a run-in with last year.

Police said Matthew Apperson, 36, fired at Zimmerman's truck around 1 p.m. along Lake Mary Boulevard, near Rinehart Road.

Zimmerman was not hit by the gunfire, but was sprayed with glass as a bullet flew through his truck's window and narrowly missed his head, according to his attorney, Don West.

West said Zimmerman was in town for Mother's Day and was on his way to the doctor when he noticed Apperson following him. He made a U-Turn, and Apperson followed, West said. Then, he said, he caught up with Zimmerman and pulled along side his truck and fired a bullet into the side window.

“George Zimmerman did not provoke the incident and tried to avoid Matt when he knew he was being followed," West said. "We hope law enforcement does a thorough investigation with this matter.”

Lake Mary police Officer Bianca Gillett said during a news conference shortly after 4 p.m. that Apperson called 911 to report the shooting.

Gillett added Zimmerman did not fire any shots Monday. She could not confirm whether Zimmerman had a gun on him at the time of the shooting.

"Currently the investigation is in its preliminary stages," Gillett said. "We cannot determine whether or not charges will be filed for either party."

Apperson is the same man who claimed Zimmerman threatened to kill him in September 2014. Apperson said Zimmerman asked him, "Do you know who I am?" during that road confrontation. No charges were filed in the September incident.

Apperson refused to comment, instead blowing cigarette smoke at reporters as he waited Monday outside the Lake Mary Police Department after the incident.

Attorney Mark NeJame arrived at the police department a short time later, saying he was retained by Apperson to represent him.

"He was acting in self defense," NeJame said. "To get into the details would be really inappropriate at this time."

NeJame said it does not appear that there are grounds for him to be arrested, convicted or otherwise and it does appear by all indications that he acted in self-defense as his previous statements stated.

Apperson never addressed the media but his mother made a brief statement on his behalf.

“I have faith that the justice system is going to work in this case," Janet White. "Matt is a good man and I’m sorry this is happening to him."

“I have been married to my husband for 11 years," said Apperson's wife, Liza. "I’ve known him since I was 15 years old and I know that the truth will prevail."

George Paschek, who lives along Lake Mary Boulevard, said he heard the gunfire Monday.

"I said, 'That sounds like a gunshot,' and it sounded like two of them to me," Paschek said. "I didn't hear any cars crashing or jumping over the curb. I didn't hear anybody yelling or screaming."

Zimmerman was taken by ambulance with minor injuries to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford. He was released a short time later, according to West, who represented Zimmerman during his 2013 trial in which he was acquitted of murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.


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