LAKE MARY, Fla. – In the moments before Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, the teen slammed Zimmerman's head into the ground and threatened his life, Zimmerman's father claims.
In an exclusive interview with myFOXorlando, Robert Zimmerman detailed his son's account of the night, claiming Martin beat his son for over a minute and told him something along the lines of, "You're going to die tonight."
George Zimmerman has been the subject of a media firestorm since the shooting, with many calling for his arrest in the case.
George Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, and so far has not been charged with any crime due to Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law. The law allows the use of deadly force in self-defense if an individual reasonably feels threatened.
Martin's supporters, including a host of outspoken celebrities and civil rights leaders, don't believe George Zimmerman's story. They believe race played a role in the shooting, and are calling for George Zimmerman to be arrested and prosecuted.
In his first interview, Robert Zimmerman told myFOXorlando he decided to speak out for his son against the advice of police.
Robert Zimmerman claims his son was going to the store when he spotted Martin walking through his neighborhood. George Zimmerman, he said, found it odd the teen was walking in between the town homes on a rainy night, rather than on the street or on the sidewalk.
Since there had been multiple break-ins in the area, George Zimmerman decided to call police on the non-emergency number.
Police told George Zimmerman not to follow Martin, and asked him where he was. However, because he was behind the town homes he could not see the nearest address.
This is why, Robert Zimmerman claims, his son decided to keep following Martin, so he could obtain an address to give to police.
"(George Zimmerman) went to the next street, realized where he was and was walking to his vehicle," Robert Zimmerman said. "It's my understanding, at that point, Trayvon Martin walked up to him and asked him, 'Do you have a [expletive] problem?' "