Shoot First, Ask Later? Unarmed Boy Shot By Neighborhood Watch

Jackie Summers decries the death of an unarmed teenager at the hands of a neighborhood watch captain who still walks free.

For as long as i can remember, this story has repeated itself:

“Unarmed black man shot and killed by cops.”

Or in this case: kid with Skittles shot by man in neighborhood patrol.

From The Huffington Post:

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed in a gated community in Florida late last month by a white neighborhood watch captain, according to police. But the watch captain, George Zimmerman — a 26-year-old college student who has admitted to police that he shot the young man — still walks free. And Martin’s family is pleading for answers and demanding justice.

“He had a gun, and Trayvon had Skittles,” Benjamin Crump, a family attorney, told The Huffington Post this afternoon.

All I can say is this: What if this was your kid?

About Jackie Summers

Jackie Summers is an author and entrepreneur. His blog F*cking in Brooklyn chronicles his quest to become a person worthy of love. His company, Jack From Brooklyn, Inc. houses his creative and entrepreneurial enterprises. Follow him on Twitter @jackfrombkln and friend him on Facebook


  1. Ok so playing the devils advocate. How do you go about proving he followed Trayvon Martin to the gas station with an intent to kill him?

    • You need to prove intent for conviction, not arrest. However, criminal intent may be presumed from the commission of the act. That is, the prosecution may rely on the presumption that a person intends the NATURAL AND PROBABLE CONSEQUENCES of his or her voluntary acts. For example, the intent to commit murder may be demonstrated by the particular voluntary movement that caused the death, such as the pointing and shooting of a firearm.

  2. I’m not saying it’s right or should be legal. I’m just saying that it he will most likely avoid arrest because they did get into a fight. Unless new evidence comes about that he specifically sought out to kill him then he will not be arrested.

    • Zimmerman clearly violated Chapter 776.041, Sections 2(a)(b). When he decided to pursue Mr. Martin, he became the aggressor, thus he voided justification. According to this law only police officers have the right to use deadly force in such situation. Because Mr. Zimmerman followed and tracked Travon, Travon had a right to use physical force to protect himself. Again, Zimmerman is not a police office or any other officer of the Court. Secondly, Zimmerman violated Chapter 776.013(2)(a). As the child of a confirmed resident, Travon HAD A RIGHT TO BE THERE. Therefore Zimmerman had no right to use deadly force.

  3. He has not been arrested because it was not illegal. Neighborhood watch includes the entire community if it is a gated community. The people agree to that when they choose to live there. I’m not saying he was right. He should not have shot the kid, but the reason he hasn’t been charged is because there is nothing to charge him with. The kid came into the neighboorhood and he was followed. There was a fight then the kid was shot. In the south, it is legal to carry weapons and self defense does not cover only your body. Anything you are responsible for, such a a neighboorhood.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      I’m sorry, when did “neighborhood watch association” rules come to trump state and federal laws? I must have missed that memo.

      For the record, here are the statutes governing this case:
      776.012 Use of force and deadly force to protect one’s person.
      776.013 Use of force and deadly force to protect one’s property.
      776.032 Immunity from prosecution for justifiable use of force.

      This third section, as written, requires the police to make a determination as to whether 776.012 or 776.013 applies. Clearly 776.013 doesn’t apply, as Martin was not attempting to forcibly enter Zimmerman’s home or vehicle. The question then is whether 776.012 applies. From the witness statements, 911 calls, and various descriptions of the circumstances under which Martin was killed, it seems the police made the wrong determination. Having made that determination, it’s now going to be difficult to walk it back without facing a lawsuit from Zimmerman.

      If Zimmerman is allowed to avoid arrest, it appears that Sanford, Florida is putting everyone on notice that it’s okay to confront someone and then kill them when that confrontation doesn’t go your way.

  4. Patrick McDonald says:

    Burn in hell Zimmerman you gutless murdering coward. i hope the police force never accepts you into their brotherhood. Homeland Security will be listing you on their own watch list.


    Witnesses told ABC News a fist fight broke out and at one point Zimmerman, who outweighed Martin by more than 100 pounds, was on the ground and that Martin was on top.

    “an officer told the father that Zimmerman’s record was “squeaky clean.” Yet public records showed that Zimmerman was charged with battery against on officer and resisting arrest in 2005. Trayvon Martin had no arrest record or disciplinary action for violence as a student in North Miami’s Krop High School.

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      One of the things you learn, or should, in legal-carry classes is that if you start something you can’t finish and find yourself therefore in fear of your life, and shoot, you lose.
      Various new CCW carriers have said they are considerably more likely to avoid, back down from confrontations.
      Those who move toward trouble as a reflex might be in jeopardy if they eventually end up shooting, or even drawing. Somebody else’s trouble is not yours.

  6. James R. Lanzara says:

    I myself think that Zimmerman is a coward, You don’t have the right to pull your weapon unless your life is in danger! And with the young man being only 17 and alone. What the hell made Zim. scared, the fact that he was a black young man or that he thought that this young man would over power him. Either way Zimmerman is a coward and should face Murder charges,because that is what he did, he murdered that young man and no way should he be considered justified…

  7. Peter Houlihan says:

    Bloody heck… makes me glad I live in a country where you can’t walk around with handguns like that.

  8. PursuitAce says:

    As someone who is a security guard in another state (Nevada) I can’t imagine any scenario where Zimmerman isn’t in serious criminal trouble. The only authority you have beyond an average citizen is to issue verbal trespass warnings to individuals. You’re carrying a weapon for self-defense, not to arrest anyone and you have no more authority to use it than the average citizen. In security your primary missions are safety, reporting, and criminal deterrence. If this guy instigated an incident that resulted in this young man’s death he’s completely responsible. Why he’s walking around without having raised some serious bail money is beyond me. And if this guy is some kind of cowboy, that shows premeditation, which is supposed to be important from what I understand. (sarcasm here)

    • Antoinette says:

      I totally feel that this was instigated, and now Zimmerman wants to use self defense for his actions. How can you sleep at night knowing you killed an innocent teenager, somebody’s child, just because he looked suspicious? Smdh

  9. Zimmerman’s CRIMINAL RECORD:

    Offense: Battery on law enforcement officer
    Offense Code: 784.07(2)(B)
    Court Record ID: 2005CF009525AOZIMGEO
    Source Name: Fl. Orange County Circuit and County Court

    Offense: Cr-resisting officer with violence
    Offense Code: 843.01
    Court Record ID: 2005CF009525AOZIMGEO
    Source: Fl. Orange County Circuit and County Court

  10. Jack
    FWIW, I did point out that actually using force to prevent property crimes is, on several levels, a bad idea. Most of the time, anyway. But all these folks are getting mad at local law-enforcement for not having already arrested Zimmerman. I am merely pointing out that there are several possible circumstances here that would remove any criminal liability from what he did. So, under Florida law, what are you gonna charge him with? If someone is on anothers property un-invited and appears to be doing wrong the law is strongly on the side of the property owner/manager. Wanting to call this murder/etc. is perfectly natural for the family but it is probably a waste of time actually try to prosecute it as such if the kid can be shown to have been doing something wrong. That is just a fact.
    There was a case recently where a guy had been asked by a neighbor to watch his property while he was on vacation. One afternoon, two bad-guys went onto that property to steal something. The first guy called the cops and they told him to not do anything. Instead, he walked over and killed both the robbers without warning. In daylight. The bad guys were un-armed. The shooter was not even charged. That is the law in many places.
    The cops and DA know all about this and that is why Zimmerman is not being charged. If the racial things were reversed he still would not be charged. I cannot prove that, but the law is what it is.

    • Rum, the child was not trespassing nor was he uninvited. He was visiting his father who is a resident in the neighbourhood the captain was ostensibly watching out for.

  11. Rum, FWIW, I reject your commentary completely. This isn’t a website about the law, it’s a website about good. Let’s just assume for a second that you are right, and under Florida law Zimmerman’s act is found not to be murder, it’s still the act of a coward shooting an unarmed child.

    Even if we were to disagree about Zimmerman being a fucking complete coward in this hypothetical situation where his actions are ultimately found to be legal, then there’s the question of whether or not the law is just, which we all know is not always the case.

  12. Jack
    Public opinion and the media reaction is what it is. I never really expect it to be fair or balanced. If I could change that I would.
    Here, I am just explaining why Zimmerman has not been arrested and probably will not be. Assuming he has evidence that the kid was stealing.
    FWIW, the cops cannot order you to not shoot trespassers/theives.

  13. In other words, the whole thing about needing to be “in fear of my life” bullshit before acting only applies in a few states. In places like Florida, you can shoot someone in daylight as they are leaving your property with your TV on their shoulder. Doing so is a very bad idea. for several reasons, but it is not a criminal offense.

  14. Rum, here’s what I’m sure of: a child is dead. Now let’s turn some of this around. A black man spots a white child in his neighborhood. The black man calls the police to report this, and the police tell him to leave him alone. The black man follows the white child who is armed with a bag of skittles, confronts him, and shoots him, killing him. The black man is not arrested or charged with a crime.

    Would the media coverage be the same? Would the public reaction be the same? If it was your kid, would you feel the same?

    • Antoinette says:

      If it was a black man, he would have been arrested and charged simply because he did not leave the child alone like the police asked him to. In my opinion, I feel that Zimmerman stopped and harassed this innocent child, and Trayvon acted in self defense. Now he is dead because of someone else’s stupidity. He should have left him alone, and let the police do their jobs. I also feel that the police reaction would have been different too. If the shooter was black, do you think they would care if he studied criminal justice for four years, or that his record was so-called squeaky clean? Do you think they would lie about the squeaky clean record? Hell no!!! They would lock him up just like the rest. I sympathize with Trayvon’s family because this could have been my son.

  15. I have gotten involved, emotionally at least, with a long series of cases like this, except that it is usually the cops who are the shooters. I would start off with a lot of righteous anger and want to dig into every detail. Here is what I have learned over the years. Take a deep breath and wait for the fuller picture to come out before being too sure. The kid might have been completely innocent and Zimmerman a complete scumbag but that is hardly ever the final story in these cases.
    Besides, keep in mind that Florida law is like most of the western states in that if you are “in the right” and the other guy is trying to steal your stuff (or stuff you are responsible for) you can use un-limited force to stop them from doing so. If the kid can be shown to have actually been trying to steal something, Zimmerman cannot be charged with anything.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Rum, I’m horrified that in your version of how the world should be, a child who was unarmed was shot dead… Instead of presuming him innocent until proven guilty, you’re saying that we should wait until he is proven innocent.

      You do, however, want us to wait until the shooter is proven guilty… Until then, we are to presume he is innocent, right?

      No, you’re not basing this on race at all, are you, Rum?

      A child is dead. An unarmed child. Eating candy.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “You do, however, want us to wait until the shooter is proven guilty… Until then, we are to presume he is innocent, right?”

        Er, innocent until proven guilty, remember. He’s asking us to suspend judgment until the facts are in.

    • Rum, This incident happend weeks ago and has received journalistic coverage. According to easily accessible media, the 5W’s have not uncovered anything to support your opinion. In short, the kid was visiting his dad in the gated community his dad lived in. The teen simply went to the store to buy his little brother some skittles. Upon his return, he was shot and killed without any provocation. There was no robbery, no intent to steal, no property damage no single thing to alarm the neighborhood watch captain outside of being a black youth the captain didn’t recognize. Black, white or other… Do children of resident’s of gated communities need to fear being shot because they’re unknown to the neighbours? Does that seem reasonable to you?

  16. I sent the Sanford Chief of Police a note…recommend everyone else does the same:

  17. Nick, mostly says:

    What was that kid doing walking while black? And carrying a bag of Skittles!? Tray should have known better. And Zimmerman was very lucky; everyone knows a 9mm is no match for the rainbow of flavor in a bag of Skittles.


  1. […] For more on the death of Trayvon Martin, read Cornelius’ Walker’s Walking While Black and Jackie Summers’ Shoot First, Ask Later? […]

  2. […] Shoot First, Ask Later? Unarmed Boy Shot By Neighborhood Watch […]

  3. […] Shoot First, Ask Later? Unarmed Boy Shot By Neighborhood Watch […]

  4. […] Editor’s note: This post was written in response to a comment made by “Rum” on Jackie Summers’ Good Feed Blog Post about the killing of an unarmed teenager by a neighborhood watch member. Rum’s comments can be read here. […]

  5. […] Editor’s note: This post was written in response to a comment made by “Rum” on Jackie Summers’ Good Feed Blog Post about the killing of an unarmed teenager by a neighborhood watch member. Rum’s comments can be read here. […]

  6. […] Just this week we’ve had another instance of CRT in action. And it’s killed a child. […]

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