The Retreat at Twin Lakes is a 260-unit gated community in Sanford, Florida. The population in the development at the time of the shooting, was about 49% white, 23% Hispanic, 20% black, and 5% Asian, according to Census figures. Both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s dads fiancee were renting homes in the development when the shooting occurred. At the time of the shooting, Martin had been staying with his father’s fiancee at The Retreat.
In September 2011, the Twin Lakes residents held an organizational meeting to create a neighborhood watch program. As the only volunteer,Zimmerman was selected by neighbors as the program’s coordinator.
On the evening of February 26, 2012, Zimmerman observed Trayvon Martin as he returned to the Twin Lakes housing community after having walked to a nearby convenience store and bought skittles and ice tea. At the time, Zimmerman was allegedly driving through the neighborhood on a personal errand.
At approximately 7:09 PM, Zimmerman called the Sanford police non-emergency number to report what he considered a suspicious person in the Twin Lakes community. Zimmerman stated, “We’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy.” He described an unknown male “just walking around looking about” in the rain and said, “This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something.” Zimmerman reported that the person had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes. On the recording, Zimmerman is heard saying, “these assholes, they always get away.”
About two minutes into the call, Zimmerman said, “he’s running.” The dispatcher asked, “He’s running? Which way is he running?” The sound of a car door chime is heard, indicating Zimmerman opened his car door. Zimmerman followed Martin, eventually losing sight of him. The dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following him. When Zimmerman answered, “yeah,” the dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman responded, “Okay.” Zimmerman asked that police call him upon their arrival so he could provide his location. Zimmerman ended the call at 7:15 p.m.
Shortly after Zimmerman ended his call with police, the violent encounter took place between Martin and Zimmerman, which ended when Zimmerman fatally shot Martin 70 yards from the rear door of the townhouse where Martin was staying.