Four days after he was acquitted of murder, George Zimmerman stepped out of seclusion to help a family get out of an overturned vehicle in Florida, authorities said Monday.
Zimmerman and another man helped four people get out of an SUV that had overturned Wednesday evening in Sanford, the same community where the former neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Heather Smith said.
Callers to 911 described a dramatic scene: An SUV lost control in the area of Interstate 4 and State Road 46, flipping on its side and sliding into a median.
Several callers said they saw people helping a family trapped inside the overturned SUV, according to audio recordings released by the sheriff’s office.
“There was tons of smoke … people were starting to rush towards the vehicle,” one caller said.
“They got everyone out of the car,” another caller reported. About a minute later, the caller said, it looked like the vehicle was catching fire.
By the time a deputy arrived, Zimmerman and another man already had helped the two adults and two children out of the vehicle, Smith said.
Zimmerman did not witness the crash, and he left after making contact with the deputy, Smith said. No injuries were reported in the crash.
Zimmerman has been out of the public eye since a jury found him not guilty of second degree murder on July 13. His parents told ABC News last week that their family has received an “enormous amount of death threats.”
He fatally shot Martin in the Sanford neighborhood where Zimmerman and Martin’s father lived in February 2012. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, had a confrontation with the unarmed African-American teen after calling police to report a suspicious person, and he said he shot Martin in self-defense.
The case became a flash point in debates over racial profiling, and thousands attended vigils across the country over the weekend, decrying the verdict.
Shawn Vincent, a spokesman for George Zimmerman’s legal defense team, said when Zimmerman spoke with his attorneys on Friday, the car wreck didn’t come up.
The defense team, Vincent said, first heard of Zimmerman’s involvement when media reports surfaced Monday.