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credit: abcnews

credit: abcnews

As regular readers know, I have been concerned that someone would try to gain what such lunatics would surely see as eternal notoriety by killing George Zimmerman. Many have threatened, but one has now made an attempt: 

George Zimmerman was involved in a shooting Monday [05-11-15] in Lake Mary, Florida.

Notice the choice of words: “Zimmerman was involved.” JFK, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were also “involved” in shootings. No, I am not comparing George Zimmerman to those three historic figures, merely making the point that media sources–in this case Fox News–reflexively treat Zimmerman as a criminal, even failing to identify him as a victim when he clearly is a victim of a crime. It is as ridiculous to use “involved” in this case as it would have been with JFK, Lincoln or Reagan. It’s difficult for the media to give up a good, if utterly false, narrative, and even a generally reliable network like Fox is not immune from the social justice virus.

credit: legal insurrection

credit: legal insurrection

According to WESH, the shooting involved two men and Zimmerman suffered a minor gunshot wound and was taken to a local hospital. ‘The injuries are not serious,’ Lake Mary Deputy Police Chief Colin Morgan said.

Zimmerman was not hit by the bullet, but by glass fragments. He was not seriously injured.

Attorney Don West

Attorney Don West

I don’t know exactly what precipitated it, but another motorist pulled up alongside him and fired a shot at him,’ Zimmerman’s attorney Don West said. ‘I believe that the window of the vehicle was broken.  As I understand it he was shot through the passenger window and the bullet narrowly missed his head and lodged in the roof.

Front passenger door window of Zimmerman's vehicle.

Front passenger door window of Zimmerman’s vehicle.

As this photo of Zimmerman’s vehicle indicates, that is precisely what happened. The round was a .357 magnum. Again, notice that even Fox can’t resist depicting Zimmerman as a bad guy, even as a reasonable reading of their text proves otherwise. Other media sources have done far, far worse.

Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law. Those include two incidents involving allegations of assault by girlfriends, and his wife claiming he smashed her iPad. Charges were either dropped or not pursued because of a lack of evidence in those cases.

We’ve all been accused of a wide variety of things, but people don’t normally bring up accusations that amounted to nothing. Not so with George Zimmerman, because George Zimmerman!   The case developed rapidly. Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection summarized an Orlando Sentinel story. Readers will remember that the Sentinel was one of the primary media outlets maintaining the preferred narrative against Zimmerman, and deeply disappointed upon his acquittal.

Additional facts now being reported by the Orlando Sentinel include: Police recovered two handguns from Apperson’s car, including a Glock 22 (in .40S&W, of course) and a .357 Magnum revolver with one spent case in the cylinder. The police spokeswoman indicated that Apperson had licenses for both guns, a fact which seems odd given Apperson’s prior arrests and sometimes convictions on charges ranging from drug possession to reckless driving to DUI to violation of probation. Police also recovered a handgun from Zimmerman (also a Glock model unspecified), which Zimmerman’s lawyer Don West indicates is habitually carried because of the great number of death threats made against Zimmerman.  Zimmerman is licensed to concealed carry a pistol in the State of Florida. Attorney West states that Zimmerman did not wave or shoot his gun during any portion of Monday’s encounter with Apperson. West also states that Apperson’s bullet went through Zimmerman’s closed passenger-side window, barely missed Zimmerman’s head, and was lodged in the driver’s side door frame above the window. West also claims that it was Apperson who was the aggressor: He initiated the event by following George. George was on Lake Mary Boulevard and on his way to a doctor’s appointment. Police have confirmed that Zimmerman did not fire his gun.

Some media stories have suggested that Apperson fired in self-defense in response to Zimmerman brandishing a gun, however, a cursory examination of Zimmerman’s vehicle windows makes that very unlikely indeed. They are darkly tinted, obviously to help Zimmerman maintain a low profile. It would be virtually impossible for anyone to see Zimmerman holding a gun, and even less likely they could clearly identify whatever he might be holding as a gun. Any suggestion that Zimmerman threatened Apperson also must require the ability for Apperson to hear the threat. If Zimmerman’s window was rolled up–and it obviously was–that’s quite an auditory stretch. It was probably the recoil and long, heavy trigger of the .357 that saved Zimmerman’s life, jerking the round off target upward, which is common with heavily recoiling handguns. 2892815F00000578-3077175-image-a-1_1431445830593

Apperson’s attorney, Mark NeJame, said yesterday that his client shot at Zimmerman in self-defense, but declined to elaborate. The Orlando Sentinel reports today that NeJame was unavailable to them for comment. Last September Apperson called Lake Mary police to claim that Zimmerman threatened to shoot him while both were driving on the same Lake Mary Boulevard that was the venue for yesterday’s conflict between the two men.  Two days later Apperson again called the police to report that Zimmerman appeared to be following him. Despite these calls to police, in neither case did Apperson elect to press charges. Huh. No one has been arrested or charged with a crime in Monday’s shooting.

As the case developed, there was considerable evidence that Apperson was, to put it kindly, unhinged. As is so often the case, the British media did the kind of investigative work the American media is unable, or more likely, unwilling, to do:

The Florida man who shot at George Zimmerman once threatened to kill a trespasser with his .357 Magnum, Mail Online can reveal. Matthew Apperson, who is under investigation for the apparent road rage shooting, was also the subject of a police call just 24 hours before he fired a single shot into the former neighborhood watch volunteer’s car. Police were called by his next-door neighbor who told officers he was acting ‘strange’ and she was concerned for her safety. She had found a squirrel apparently shot by a BB gun and thought it was ‘a sign’, the police report showed. Other neighbors said Apperson had appeared ‘irrational and unstable’ in the days before the incident in Lake Mary, Florida. One said: ‘He was very odd and in the days before all this happened, not stable. When I saw what happened I was not surprised. ‘He always told us that he carried guns around with him. Where we live is a very safe area, so it did seem so strange.

But George Zimmerman?! George Zimmerman! What about George Zimmerman?! Ignore the man behind the curtain–George Zimmerman!

A 911 call made immediately after the shooting and released by police revealed that Apperson told a bystander he knew he had shot at Zimmerman. [skip] Daily Mail Online has discovered Apperson is no stranger to the police, having been arrested at least six times. His threat to kill was detailed in a 2013 police report by his local police department. During a telephone call with a telephone canvasser from the University of Florida, Apperson suddenly said: ‘I have a .357 Magnum and I am going to kill a trespasser.’ The caller was so concerned he called police in Winter Springs who attended the home where Apperson lives with his wife Liza. Apperson explained that during the call he had spotted a person he ‘had problems with in the past’ in his backyard. The 36-year-old apologized for the wrong choice of words and no further action was taken. During one of his arrests for driving under the influence he admitted he had been smoking marijuana and had taken three Xanax tablets and a painkiller due to pain in his knee. Apperson, who has claimed he shot Zimmerman in self-defense, has gone into hiding since the incident on Monday afternoon.

Pot and psychoactive drugs!? But, but, but…George Zimmerman!

Lawyer Mark Nejame, who is representing Apperson said he fired the shot in self defense. Apperson claimed he shot at Zimmerman’s car because he saw him wave a gun behind the tinted black windows of his Honda Ridgeline SUV. Zimmerman’s lawyer Don West maintains he did not wave his gun and he was the victim of an unprovoked attack with the bullet shattering a passenger window and narrowly missing his head. The shooting follows two previous incidents involving the pair. Last September Apperson claimed he was threatened by Zimmerman after he pulled alongside him in his car and days later he called police fearing he was being stalked by him. No charges were brought in either incident.

See? George Zimmerman!

While Zimmerman’s brushes with the law are documented Daily Mail Online can reveal Apperson is also well known to police in several Florida police districts. He has been arrested six times and police called to his condo in Winter Springs on more than half a dozen occasions. The most recent took place on Sunday afternoon when his neighbor Sharee Rivera felt so threatened she felt compelled to call the police. The official report written by officer Brad Dula details the neighbor dispute. It says: ‘Upon my arrival, I met with Sharee Rivera who told me the following. ‘Sharee has always had trouble with her neighbor Matt Apperson. She advised that he says and does strange things and has yelled at her in the past. ‘On this date she observed a dead squirrel in backyard that had an apparent BB gun wound to its neck. She advised that Matt hates the fact that she often feeds the squirrels and birds in the rear of the building and she believes that this is a sign. ‘Matt has sold his house and is moving out in two weeks. I advised Sharee that I would document the incident in case anything happens during the next two weeks.’ Less than 24 hours after the report was filed Apperson was involved in the shooting.


Zimmerman’s lawyer Don West has said he will not be making any further comment until a decision is taken by the State Attorney’s office to see if either man will be charged.

Don West is a highly competent and honorable lawyer. Notice his restraint. Apperson, however, was not nearly so restrained. 289281DA00000578-3077175-image-a-46_1431397024200

Apperson was accompanied by his wife of 11 years Liza and mother Janet White for a press conference outside Lake Mary Police station on Monday. He did not speak, but earlier had blown smoke into a TV news reporter’s face when he attempted to ask him questions.

While most rational Americans have little use for reporters, that’s a bit over the top for someone potentially facing decades in prison. One might even imagine it to be evidence of loss of contact with reality. Who, in Apperson’s position, would not want to appear the aggrieved, humble innocent? Of course, rational people wouldn’t find themselves in Apperson’s position…

Apperson’s run-ins with the police date back to 1998 and mostly involve driving offences. In 2012 he was involved in an altercation at a Walgreens Pharmacy in Winter Springs when he was told his medication was not available. According to the store manager Apperson was told his narcotic medication was out of stock and reacted angrily and confronting him. A police report of the January 2012 incident said: ‘Matthew came down the aisle he was on and began to harass him. ‘Matthew was extremely close to Jason and very angry. Jason stated he thought Matthew was going to continue to cause a disturbance but he just made a few statements such as ‘You’re going to be having a very bad new year.’ ‘Jason stated the threat were not on any direct action he was going to take against him.’ No action was taken against Apperson with the store manager being told by police he should call if he ever returned. Other neighbors in Winter Spring have complained about Apperson and the lack of control over his pit bull mix dog. Several told police that he allowed the dog off its leash and it had chased people. His wife once called police after an argument with her husband telling police he became angry because he was watching a film. Nothing came of the call out as Liza told police she did not want to cooperate further.

Do you get the sense, gentle readers, that Apperson is the prototypical neighborhood nutcase, the guy everyone keeps an eye on because they just know that one of these days, he’s going to do something really dangerous and stupid? Here’s dangerous and stupid, as told by a friend of Zimmerman’s:

George rarely comes back to where he used to live, he knows it is too dangerous. He was only in town to see his mother who still lives in the area.’ The friend also said Zimmerman has given a different version of events concerning the first confrontation with Apperson last September. ‘George was driving along when Apperson began making gestures with his hand. Apperson said to him ‘Why did you kill him?’, in a reference to Martin ‘When he next called police and said George was stalking him he was visiting his doctor who is in the same place where Apperson lives. George said Apperson blocked his car in and called police.’ Social media was filled with comments about the shooting, most of it negative towards Zimmerman. Many Twitter uses lamented that Apperson had not been a better aim with his shot. One user declared there would have been a national holiday if Zimmerman had died.

Yes, because George Zimmerman! The first phase of the investigation soon ran its course and resulted in an arrest. No, not George Zimmerman! From local station Bay News 9: 

Matthew Apperson, the man accused of shooting at George Zimmerman Monday, has been arrested. Lake Mary police arrested Apperson Friday on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and one count of firing a deadly missile into a vehicle. In the arrest report, officers said Apperson appeared to be fixated with Zimmerman. The arrest report stated that Apperson told the cops that Zimmerman pulled a gun at him while he was driving and said ‘I’m going to kill you.’ But Zimmerman told Lake Mary police he never threatened Apperson, and police believed him.

Yes, no doubt because the physical evidence, including the angle of the bullet, and the darkly tinted windows of Zimmerman’s vehicle fully support Zimmerman.

In fact, Zimmerman told police Apperson threatened him, yelling, ‘You owe me your life. The only reason I didn’t press charges on you is because I wanted to kill you myself.

Which Apperson proved by trying to kill Zimmerman.   Apperson surrended to police, was booked and released on bond. His attorney, following Don West’s example, is declining to comment on the case further. Considering his client is probably as guilty as they come, this is probably a wise tactic, particularly if he is hoping to work out a favorable plea bargain. Expect just that outcome, unless Apperson demands his day in court against his attorney’s advice. Andrew Branca provides additional information. From the Lake Mary Police Press Release: Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.30.01 PM

After conducting numerous interviews throughout the week, detectives determined that Mr. Apperson did intentionally fire his weapon into the vehicle occupied by George Zimmerman without provocation. Consequently: Mr. Apperson was charged with one count of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, one count of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, and one count of Firing a Deadly Missile into an Occupied Conveyance.

Branca continues:

Under Florida’s “10-20-Life” statute, each of those counts carries not only its own sentence, but an additional consecutive sentence of 20 years—so even absent the underlying sentences, Apperson could be facing 60 years prison time on the ‘10-20-Life’ aspects alone.  Given his age, this would essentially amount to a life sentence. So, once again, some loon attempts to accuse Zimmerman of an act of unwarranted violence, and once again the accusation fall so far short of credibility that the alleged offense is not even pursued by the authorities. This time—perhaps because Apperson is a male? Or maybe just because he tried to put a bullet into Zimmerman’s noggin’?—the accuser faces existential levels of imprisonment.

Final Thoughts:   All of this is, of course, most distressing for the media. As I’ve often noted, George Zimmerman, like the rest of us, is no saint. However, he is certainly no devil either. But for a few bad choices in love and other activities, he has maintained a remarkably low profile, and in this case, had the bad luck to cross paths with the kind of unbalanced menace any rational person fears. Zimmerman is fortunate Apperson was as poor a marksman as he is a rational human being.

The police believed Zimmerman? Imagine that. They probably believed him, and charged Apperson with three significant felonies, because Apperson is a known bad actor, Zimmerman’s statements, as in the Trayvon Martin case, were supported by all other available evidence, and everything Zimmerman said, probably including having a doctor appointment in the area, panned out. Apperson’s version of events didn’t. Helpful, no doubt, was the evidence that Zimmerman didn’t fire a shot, including no holes in Apperson’s vehicle or Apperson.

As Andrew Branca noted, the charges against Apperson, and the potential sentences, are severe indeed. This is why I suggest it is highly likely his attorney will do everything he can to get a plea bargain. That is the most likely outcome in this kind of case, however, people like Apperson might demand a trial to go out in a blaze of warped glory, as Apperson no doubt sees himself as the righteous victim.

I’ll continue to report on this case as developments warrant.