The slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a Florida high school student who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, has captured national attention.
Petitions and protests calling for justice for Martin have exploded amid allegations of racism and scrutiny into how local police handled the investigation. George Zimmerman has yet to be charged in the case.
Below is a timeline of events:
Feb. 26: Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Florida high school student, is found shot and killed in Sanford, Fla., a community north of Orlando.
Several eyewitnesses report to police that they heard a scuffle, then a cry for help, and then a gunshot.
According to the Sanford police report, George Zimmerman, 28, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, is found armed with a handgun, standing over Martin. He has a bloody nose and a wound in the back of his head.
Martin is unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene. He has no weapons on him, only a pack of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea.
Zimmerman tells police he killed Martin in self defense. Taking him at his word, police do not arrest him, nor administer a drug or alcohol test.
March 9: Trayvon Martin’s family demands that police release the 911 tapes or make an arrest nearly one month after Martin was killed. Police declined to comment at the time, but told ABC News the tapes would be released the following week.
Sanford Police Chief Billy Lee said there is no evidence to dispute George Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot Martin out of self defense.
March 16: Police recordings made the night George Zimmerman allegedly shot and killed Trayvon Martin sent the boy’s mother screaming from the room and prompted his father to declare, “He killed my son,” a family representative tells ABC News.
ABC News affiliate WFTV publishes excerpts from the 911 calls.
One of several petitions for Zimmerman’s arrest has garnered more than 250,000 signatures on a change.org site. At one point signatures were pouring in at the rate of 10,000 an hour, according to the website.
March 18: Trayvon Martin’s family asks U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the FBI to get involved in the investigation of their son’s death.
March 19: A 16-year-old girl tells Benjamin Crump, the Martin family’s attorney, about the last moments of Trayvon Martin’s life. Martin was on thephone with her when George Zimmerman began following him. She recounted that she told Martin to run, then she heard some pushing, then the line went dead.
The U.S. Justice Department announces it has launched an investigation into Martin’s slaying.
ABC News also learns that Zimmerman violated major principles of the Neighborhood Watch manual, which states, “it should be emphasized to members that they do not possess police powers, and they shall not carry weapons or pursue vehicles.”
The State Attorney’s office in Seminole County, Fla., announces that a grand jury will review the evidence of the case on April 10.
March 20: Sanford police department admits to ABC News that investigators missed a possible racist remark by the shooter as he spoke to police dispatchers moments before Trayvon Martin’s killing.
March 21: Sanford city commissioners conduct a vote of “no confidence” against embattled Police Chief Billy Lee at a heated city council meeting. Three of five commissioners vote against the chief.
The city manager now decides whether or not to let Lee go.
Martin’s parents join hundreds of protesters in New York City for the “Million Hoodie March,” demanding justice for the slain 17-year-old.
A single online petition calling for George Zimmerman’s arrest has nearly 900,000 signatures and is now the fastest growing petition in internet history, according to change.org. Tweets from celebrities, such as Justin Bieber and Spike Lee, helped fuel wide interest in the case.
A public relations person for Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing the Martin family, tells ABC News they received 418 media calls in one day.
March 22: Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee announces he will “temporarily” stepping down amid accusations that his department bungled the investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott also announces State Attorney Norman Wolfinger, another key investigator tied to the case, has agreed to withdraw.
Martin’s family meets officials from the U.S. Justice Department.
Thousands rallied in Sanford, Fla., organized by the Reverend Al Sharpton, to demand George Zimmerman’s arrest. Sanford police continue to accept Zimmerman’s claim that the shooting was in self defense.
March 23: Roughly 50 schools in Florida stage walkouts to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin and show support for the change.org petition, demanding George Zimmerman’s arrest.
The online petition surpasses 1.5 million signatures, making it all time fastest growing petition in change.org’s history, according to the website.
Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera ignites a firestorm of criticism when he seemed to indicate that Martin’s hoodie, which he was wearing the night of the shooting, was to blame for his death.
A second “Million Hoodie March” takes place in Philadelphia. Thousands attend.
Members of the Miami Heat basketball team dispatch Twitter pictures, showing team members wearing hoodies in support of Martin.
March 24: A friend of George Zimmerman’s family tells ABC News that thevoice heard howling on the 911 tapes was Zimmerman’s, not 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The friend also said Zimmerman ”couldn’t stop crying” in the days following the shooting.
Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner tells ABC News that Zimmerman is not a racist, and that his client has received numerous calls and threats.
March 25: Joe Oliver, who describes himself as a close friend of George Zimmerman’s family, appears on “Good Morning America” and reiterates that Zimmerman has gone into hiding, fears for his life and is “just now becoming aware of how big this has gotten.”
Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner tells ABC News it will be clear in court that Zimmerman acted in self defense, and that he suffered a broken nose and an injury to the back of his head the night Trayvon Martin was killed.
March 26: George Zimmerman originally told police in a written statement that Trayvon Martin knocked him down with a punch to the nose, repeatedly slammed his head on the ground and tried to take his gun, a police source tells ABC News.
“The stand-your-ground law is one portion of justifiable use of deadly force,” Corey said. “And what that means is that the state must go forward and be able to prove it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt… So it makes the case in general more difficult than a normal criminal case.”
ABC News confirms that Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for 10 days for possession of marijuana in mid-February. No comment from the family.
March 27: ABC News confirms that the night Trayvon Martin was shot, Chris Serino, the lead homicide detective on the case, said he “disbelieved” George Zimmerman’s testimony and recommended in an affidavit that Zimmerman be arrested for manslaughter. But the State Attorney’s office, headed by Norman Wolfinger, instructed him not to press charges because it was deemed there wasn’t enough evidence to lead to a conviction.