A grand jury will hear evidence next month in the case involving an unarmed teenager fatally shot by a White resident in a Sanford, Fla., gated community.
The decision comes after new evidence surrounding the shooting was brought to light this week.
An attorney for the family of the 17-year-old victim, Trayvon Martin, said Martin was talking on the phone to his 16-year-old girlfriend, when the conflict between Martin and 28-year-old George Zimmerman began.
According to the young girl, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, she was speaking with Martin in the moments before his death, and heard the beginning of the confrontation and what sounded like a scuffle. The phone call was cut off and the girl did not hear the gunshots.
The phone call was discussed at a news conference that followed announcements that the U.S. Justice Department would probe the death of Martin and that a local grand jury will also consider evidence in the case on April 10.
Although many media outlets and much community and national outcry seem to paint unarmed Martin as the victim, Zimmerman, 28, claims he shot the boy in self-defense during the confrontation. Zimmerman says he spotted Martin as he was patrolling his neighborhood (he is the self-appointed captain of his community’s Neighborhood Watch) and called 911 to report a suspicious person.
Against the orders of the 911 dispatcher, Zimmerman then followed Martin, who was walking home from a convenience store on Feb. 26 with a bag of Skittles in his pocket. The night ended with Martin dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
When authorities arrived on the scene, Zimmerman was not arrested, because of his self-defense claim and the police said they didn’t have enough evidence to counter the claim despite the fact that Zimmerman ignored the 911 dispatcher who told him to stand down and wait for the police to arrive.
Police have described Zimmerman as White, although his family claims he is Hispanic and not racist.