Earlier tonight, George Zimmerman gave his first televised interview to Sean Hannity on Fox News. Zimmerman offered an apology of sorts to Martin's parents, but refused to express regret for what happened. He also gave his account of Martin's killing.
The apology came at the end of the interview, with Zimmerman telling Hannity what he'd say to Martin's family.
"I would tell them again that I'm sorry. I am sorry they buried their child. I can't imagine what it must feel like, and I pray for them daily."
Despite the apology, Zimmerman made it clear that he didn't regret any of his actions, because it was all divinely pre-ordained. "It was all God's plan, and for me to second guess it or judge it...," he said before trailing off. When Hannity asked if there was anything he'd do differently in retrospect, Zimmerman answered, "No, sir." Later he added, "I do wish there was something, anything, I could have done that wouldn't have put me in the position where I had to take his life." Earlier in the interview, Zimmerman defended having a gun on him, noting that he always carried one unless he was at work.
Zimmerman emphasized that he is neither a racist nor a murderer (he literally said,"I am not a racist, and I am not a murderer.") He described the media's coverage as, "surreal," and expressed concern that the media had "rushed to judgment." He also asked for apologies from Al Sharpton and Spike Lee - "If I did something wrong, I would apologize," Zimmerman told Hannity after the Spike Lee question. And here's Zimmerman's account of the shooting, as reported by the New York Times:
Looking calm and speaking in a measured tone, Mr. Zimmerman, 28, described the final moments before he pulled out his gun and shot Mr. Martin. Mr. Zimmerman said he felt he had no choice but to pull the trigger because Mr. Martin had spotted his gun while Mr. Zimmerman tried to shimmy away on his back from Mr. Martin.
"At that point, um, I realized that it wasn't my gun, it wasn't his gun, it was the gun," Mr. Zimmerman said. "He said, ‘You are going to die tonight' " - using an expletive - "and took one hand off my mouth, and I felt it going down my chest toward my belt and my holster and I didn't have any more time."
"It just happened so quickly," he added.
Initially, Mr. Zimmerman said, he thought the bullet had missed Mr. Martin. He soon realized Mr. Martin was wounded. It was not until an hour later, when he was at the police station, that he realized Mr. Martin was dead, he said.
He also said that Martin was not running away from him in fear, but was "skipping."
UPDATE: In an interview with the Associated Press later Wednesday night, Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, responded to Zimmerman's comments: "We must worship a different God. There is no way that my God wanted George Zimmerman to murder my teenage son."
[photo via AP]