The driver who fired a single bullet into George Zimmerman’s vehicle Monday says that the shooting was an act of self-defense.
That contradicts claims from Zimmerman’s lawyer, who said the shooting by Matthew Apperson in central Florida was unprovoked.
The lawyer for Apperson spoke briefly to reporters on Tuesday, though he offered few details about what sparked the apparent act of road rage.
“He simply maintained that he acted in self-defense,” attorney Mark NeJame said on WFTV. “We see everything to suggest that that is correct.”
It’s an explanation that should sound familiar to George Zimmerman, who notoriously claimed that he fatally shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in self-defense in 2012.
Zimmerman was not hit by the gunfire in Lake Mary, Florida, but suffered minor injuries from broken glass. He was treated and released from a hospital.
A bystander who apparently spoke to Apperson called 911. Police on Tuesday released a portion of the bizarre exchange.
“A guy said he had to pull a gun on a guy,” the caller tells the operator. “The guy right here just said he had to shoot at someone through his window so he wants the police to come.”
Lake Mary police said they found a .40-caliber Glock 22 and .357 handgun in Apperson’s car. There was a “single expended shell casing in the cylinder” of the .357 handgun, the police said in a statement.
Police “recovered” a Glock handgun from Zimmerman too, the statement said, but they have not yet used their search warrant to comb through his vehicle.
No one has been arrested, but authorities said charges against either man are possible.
A jury acquitted Zimmerman in 2013 of killing Martin, but since then he’s been involved in numerous alleged crimes, including accusations of domestic violence.
The bad blood between Zimmerman and Apperson flows back September, when the two confronted each other in another road rage incident. In that dispute, Apperson, whose name was withheld at the time, alleged that Zimmerman threatened to kill him.
The trouble Monday started because Apperson was driving closely behind Zimmerman as he went to a doctor’s appointment, according to Zimmerman’s lawyer Don West. Zimmerman recognized Apperson from their past run-in, West told The Huffington Post, and he made a U-turn in an attempt to avoid him. As Zimmerman changed direction, Apperson shot through the passenger side window of Zimmerman’s truck, West said.
Following the incident, Apperson’s family stood by his side.
“Matt is a good man,” his mother, Janet White, told WESH TV.