George Zimmerman spent the weekend greeting fans and signing photos during a Florida gun show. Although the New Orlando Gun Show was originally planned to take place at the Majestic, the venue was changed due to “community pressure.” The special event was eventually rescheduled and moved to the Arms Room gun shop.
Mike Piwowarski, who organized the event, said Zimmerman was not paid for his appearance. He was simply returning a favor. Piwowarski said he stood behind the accused killer throughout his trial and following his acquittal.
During the show, Zimmerman greeted fans, shook hands, and autographed family photos starring George and his dog. Although the original event was expected to draw a large crowd, few people showed up at the gun shop.
Piwowarski blames the Majestic for cancelling the original show. The organizer said he plans to file a civil lawsuit as he lost an estimated $300,000 in sales. Representatives with the venue argued that they were forced to cancel because Zimmerman’s planned appearance sparked outrage within the community.
Although George Zimmerman was the guest of honor, New York Daily News reports that “fewer than 20 people… asked for a free autograph or photo.”
A couple, who introduced themselves as Matt and Melissa, said they did not have to wait in line for an autograph. Melissa describes the meeting:
“He seemed nervous and actually a little scared to be there. He also appeared emotional, like he was really thankful and touched that people would come out to see him… It was pretty weird to meet him in person — and wow, he has gained a lot of weight!”
The guest of honor seemed to enjoy the event, which he attended with his girlfriend Samantha Schiebe. Although Scheibe previously accused Zimmerman of domestic violence, she eventually dropped the charges and remains by his side.
George Zimmerman originally made headlines in February 2012, when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. As a self-appointed “neighborhood watch coordinator,” Zimmerman was patrolling The Retreat, which is an affluent gated community.
Although the details are unclear, Zimmerman eventually shot and killed the teen. George argued that he was acting in self-defense. However, it was later revealed that Martin was unarmed. He was eventually arrested and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.
The subsequent criminal trial sparked debate about racial profiling and “stand your ground laws.” Zimmerman was eventually acquitted of all charges.
Although George Zimmerman was not convicted in a court of law, many believe he is a cold-blooded killer. Despite the continued controversy, he apparently has enough fans to justify a special gun show event.
[Images via YouTube]