News

Family rescued by Zimmerman fears link to ‘Good Samaritan’

Family rescued by Zimmerman fears link to ‘Good Samaritan’

The family rescued from a car accident by George Zimmerman canceled plans to thank him publicly. Photo: Associated Press

MIAMI (Reuters) – The family rescued from a car accident by George Zimmerman, days after he was cleared of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, canceled plans to thank him publicly because they fear being linked to someone reviled by many Americans, Zimmerman’s lawyer said on Wednesday.

“The family, who really wanted to thank George for doing what he did publicly … realized that in any way connecting yourself with George Zimmerman is right now very toxic,” Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lead attorney, told CNN.

O’Mara, underscoring the amount of hate directed toward Zimmerman, spoke after canceling a planned news conference with the family, where he said Zimmerman was due to be recognized as a “Good Samaritan.”

Zimmerman helped pluck two children and their parents to safety from a Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle on Wednesday last week, after it overturned in an accident on a central Florida highway, authorities said.

The incident occurred barely four days after Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted by a Florida jury of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Martin, who he claims to have shot in self-defense.

Mark and Dana Michelle Gerstle, who were rescued with their children from the overturned SUV, have refused to talk to the media and have posted a “no trespassing” sign outside their central Florida home.

The verdict in the racially charged case has sparked protests in cities across the country, as well as calls to review Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, which allows people who fear their lives are in danger to use deadly force rather than retreat.

O’Mara told CNN there had been a surge in the number of death threats against Zimmerman since his acquittal, which has left many people across the country angry.

He added, in an answer to a question from CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, that Zimmerman, who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, is armed and taking all due precautions to protect his personal safety.

“I think it’s more important now than before February 26, 2012, that he have an ability to protect himself because of the extraordinary amount of anger that is out there. Yes, he’s protecting himself,” O’Mara said.

The date he cited was when Zimmerman shot the 17-year-old Martin through the heart at point-blank range with his 9mm semiautomatic Kel-Tec handgun.

That weapon, now in the custody of the U.S. Justice Department as it considers bringing civil charges against Zimmerman, will never be used again, O’Mara said.

“That gun will never be used by anyone again. That needs to be destroyed and just be done with,” he said.

Latest Headlines

yesterday in Viral Videos

When a brother loses a bet

Dance Bet

A guy loses a bet to his younger brother and must dance on a busy street corner for 30 minutes. What happens next is amazing.

yesterday in Entertainment

REVIEW: Johnny Depp and crew fail at ‘Transcendence’

This image released by Warner Brothers Pictures shows Johnny Depp in a scene from the sci-fi thriller "Transcendence."

Johnny Depp falls short of greatness in his latest film, but at least it's not "Lone Ranger."

yesterday in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: 50 most frustrating video game moments

Video Games Sonic

Playing video games can be fun, into you run into one of these situations!

yesterday in Lifestyle

Mazda recalls 190K SUVs for rust problem

The company logo is seen on the bonnet of a Mazda car during the media day ahead of the 84th Geneva Motor Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 5, 2014.

Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts.

yesterday in Viral Videos

Fence FAIL

fence

A man who appears intoxicated tries his hardest to climb a fence, but it's not happening.

Latest Headlines

The company logo is seen on the bonnet of a Mazda car during the media day ahead of the 84th Geneva Motor Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 5, 2014.

In Lifestyle

Mazda recalls 190K SUVs for rust problem

Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts.

recordstoreday

In Music

Record Store Day full of reunited bands, special editions

Record Store Day celebrates thousands of independent music shops around the world.

soundgarden

In Music

Listen to Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' demo

Ahead of the 20th anniversary reissue of "Superunknown," Soundgarden releases the demo version of "Black Hole Sun."

davegrohl

In Music

Nirvana stars relieved by Hall of Fame finale failure

Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic were just fine with the way the Rock Hall inductions ended.

arcticmonkeys

In Music

Arctic Monkey slammed for 'synchronized' live shows

British rockers Arctic Monkeys have been slammed for their "synchronized" live performances by their tour mates The Orwells.