After trying and failing earlier this month to auction off the weapon that he used to kill unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, it seems George Zimmerman has finally succeeded in selling the weapon to the highest bidder.
Zimmerman, who infamously shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin in the gated Florida community where they both lived in 2012, apparently sold the handgun, a Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm, for $138,900 in an online auction hosted by the United Gun Group. The site tweeted on Wednesday that the former neighborhood watch volunteer was in the process of "vetting several offers and verifying funds" to confirm the sale.
Bidding for the weapon, described in the auction listing as "an American Firearm Icon," ended at noon on Wednesday. Trolls attempted to derail the auction in the final hour, including one with the username "Racist McShootface," whose account was promptly deleted after entering a bid of $137,600. Fake bidders thwarted Zimmerman's previous efforts to auction off the gun on a different website by driving the highest offer up to $66 million.
An individual with the username "JOhn Smith" submitted the highest offer in the final minutes of the auction on Wednesday, according to the Guardian. The only information in the user's profile indicated that he or she is based in Alabama, but VICE News could not independently verify that detail and the user did not respond to a request for comment.
In an earlier auction post on GunBroker.com, Zimmerman claimed that he had turned down several previous offers to buy the gun. "Offers to purchase the Firearm have been received; however, the offers were to use the gun in a fashion I did not feel comfortable with," he said.
On the night that he killed Martin, Zimmerman did not heed the instructions of a 911 dispatcher, who told him not to pursue or apprehend the person he had reported as being suspicious. Instead, he approached Martin and the two got into an altercation.
"It was what was used to save my life from a near-death brutal attack by Trayvon Martin," Zimmerman told the Daily Beast in a recent interview, explaining why the gun was important to him. "If it was a stick or mace, it's the one tool I had that prevented Trayvon from killing me."
In the same interview, Zimmerman said he felt no remorse for killing Martin, and blamed the teen's parents for the encounter. "They didn't raise their son right," Zimmerman said. "He attacked a complete stranger and attempted to kill him."
Police took Zimmerman into custody after the incident and treated him for minor head injuries. He was charged with second-degree murder, but he claimed self-defense and was ultimately acquitted under Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law.
The shooting and acquittal sparked protests across the country, and prompted discussions about racial profiling and the use of deadly force that served as a precursor to the Black Lives Matter movement, which caught fire two years later after a series of incidents where unarmed black men were killed by white police officers.
When he first attempted to auction the gun, Zimmerman pledged that he would devote a portion of the proceeds to fighting Black Lives Matter, "violence against Law Enforcement officers," and "Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric."
In a statement posted on his website on Wednesday afternoon, Zimmerman wrote: "Fellow Patriots, First and foremost, I would like to thank and give the glory to God for a successful auction that has raised funds for several worthy causes."
Zimmerman also thanked the United Gun Group and its owner, Todd Underwood "for their moral fortitude" and "support and words of encouragement."
Taking a swipe, perhaps, at some of the obstacles he encountered during earlier attempts to auction off the firearm, Zimmerman expressed his appreciation for the "many former members of GunBroker AKA GunJoker.com" who terminated their relationship with "the Nazi loving...liberal, liars at GunBroker.com."
He added: "At this time, the auction with United Gun Group is closed. The process of notifying the winning bidder will begin immediately."
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