George Zimmerman has been taken into custody and will be charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, authorities announced Wednesday.
“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Angela Corey, the special prosecutor appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to re-examine the case, said at a news conference in Jacksonville, Fla. Corey had previously announced that she wouldn’t take the case to a grand jury, which took first-degree murder off the table.
Under Florida law, Zimmerman, 28, must be taken before a judge within 24 hours of his return to Seminole County, where he has acknowledged he shot and killed Martin, 17, in the town of Sanford on Feb. 26.
Zimmerman is being represented by Mark O’Mara, an Orlando lawyer and former prosecutor, after his previous attorneys said Tuesday that they had lost touch with their client and were withdrawing from the case.
Authorities in Sanford — began preparing early in the day for public reaction to the announcement. Several counties in the region activated their emergency operations centers and were on heightened alert, NBC News’ Kerry Sanders reported from Sanford, while Seminole County sheriff’s deputies spent Wednesday morning setting up barricades along the booking area for new inmates at the county jail, NBC station WESH of Orlando reported.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Martin’s parents, urged people to “remain peaceful” after the expected announcement.
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M. Alex Johnson