Attorney: Man shot at George Zimmerman in 'self defense'

LAKE NARY, FL (KTRK) -- The man who is accused of shooting at George Zimmerman during a road-rage incident on Monday claims he opened fire in self defense, ABC affiliate WFTV reports.

Matthew Apperson called 911 to report the shooting Monday in the Orlando suburb of Lake Mary, Officer Bianca Gillett told a news conference. Zimmerman, meanwhile, flagged down an officer to report someone had shot at him.

Gillett said both Zimmerman and Apperson have yet to be interviewed formally by investigators, and it was unclear whether any charges would be filed.

"He simply maintained that he acted in self-defense," Apperson's attorney Mark NeJame said. "We see everything to suggest that that is correct."

A bullet missed Zimmerman's head and he was sprayed with glass from his vehicle's windshield and other debris, but he wasn't seriously hurt, said his attorney, Don West.

"His injuries would be considered minor," West said.

Zimmerman was treated at a hospital and released.

Last September, both men were involved in another road rage incident. In that case, Apperson said Zimmerman threatened to kill him, asking "Do you know who I am?" during a confrontation in their vehicles. Apperson decided not to pursue charges and police officers were unable to move forward without a license plate number or witnesses.

"I explained to Matthew that without the tag, witnesses, and/or clear video identifying the driver as George Zimmerman, it might be difficult to prove the alleged suspect was in fact Zimmerman," the Lake Mary police officer wrote in a report last September.

Zimmerman was acquitted in the February 2012 shooting death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in a case that sparked protests and a national debate about race relations. The Justice Department later announced it was not bringing a civil rights case against Zimmerman.

Since then, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law, including:
  • He was charged with aggravated assault after being accused of throwing a wine bottle at an ex-girlfriend, Brittany Brunelle. The case was dropped in January after Brunelle recanted her story and refused to cooperate.
  • He was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after his then-girlfriend Samantha Scheibe said he pointed a gun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of the house they shared. Scheibe decided not to cooperate with detectives, and prosecutors didn't pursue the case.
  • Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared. Shellie Zimmerman initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was unarmed. No charges were filed because of a lack of evidence. The dispute occurred days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.