George Zimmerman shooting involves man from previous incident, police say


LAKE MARY, Fla. – George Zimmerman, acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin in 2013, was involved in a shooting Monday in Lake Mary with a man with whom he previously had a road-rage incident, police said.

Lake Mary police spokeswoman Bianca Gillete said Zimmerman and Matthew Apperson were involved in the shooting, which took place about 12:45 p.m. on Lake Mary Boulevard near Rinehart Road, east of Interstate 4. Zimmerman is not accused of firing a gun in the incident, police said.

Zimmerman and Apperson were involved in a road-rage incident in September, when Apperson claimed Zimmerman threatened to shoot and kill him, according to authorities. Apperson said that the threat was verbalized and no gun was ever displayed.

Zimmerman's attorney, Don West, said in Monday's incident, a bullet missed Zimmerman's head, but Zimmerman was sprayed with glass from his vehicle's windshield and other debris. West said Zimmerman was not seriously injured and was treated and released from a hospital.

Zimmerman flagged down a Lake Mary police officer to report the shooting, Gillete said.

Apperson was seen leaving the Lake Mary Police Department Monday night, where he was not charged with any crime. He was with his mother and wife of 11 years.

While Apperson would not speak with the media, his attorney, Mark NeJame, spoke, saying the shooting was self-defense, but he did not elaborate further. He said Apperson has a concealed weapons permit and was legally justified to shoot.

WKMG-TV went to Apperson's home in Winter Springs to find out more about the man. According to NeJame, Apperson has worked in a family business since he was 8 years old. He has had a concealed weapons permit for at least a decade.

His wife, Lisa Apperson, said Monday, "I know the truth will prevail, that's all."

Meanwhile, his mother, Janet White, said, "Matt is a good man and I'm sorry that this is happening to him."

"Sometimes he is really nice and sometimes he is really an off-the-wall person," said neighbor Sharee Rivera.

Rivera said she has called police on Matthew Apperson at least three times in the past month.

"He has threatened me, he has called me names, etc., etc., blown smoke in my face the same way he did the reporter's face," said Rivera.

George Zimmerman is seen smiling after being acquitted.
George Zimmerman is seen smiling after being acquitted.

Last September, Matthew Apperson chose not to press charges after a road-rage incident with Zimmerman where he claimed Zimmerman threatened him.

Now, Matthew Apperson could be the one to face charges after shooting at Zimmerman, police said.

"I could tell that (Zimmerman) was definitely in some type of pain," Jarrett Daniels said. "He sustained some type of injury at the position that he was holding his arm."

Daniels drove by the scene and said Zimmerman appeared to be holding onto his arm after being hit by glass. Daniels said Zimmerman was taking photos of the damaged car.

Video showed a sport utility truck, believed to be a Honda Ridgeline belonging to Zimmerman, being towed. There was an apparent bullet hole in the passenger-side window of the truck.

A few weeks after being acquitted in Martin's death, Zimmerman was pulled over for speeding in northern Texas in July 2013. He apparently had a firearm in the glove compartment of a vehicle, prompting an officer to tell him, "Don't play with your firearm, OK?"

He was sent on his way with a warning.

In November 2013, police took Zimmerman into custody at his then-girlfriend's home in Apopka after an apparent fight. Zimmerman was arrested on aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of domestic violence battery and criminal mischief. The woman later asked that the charges be dropped and Zimmerman was not prosecuted.

In January of this year, Zimmerman was arrested on another domestic violence complaint after he allegedly threw a wine bottle at a girlfriend, his lawyer Don West told reporters at the time. She later recanted and charges were never filed.