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Website stops George Zimmerman selling the gun he killed Trayvon Martin with

The website has not said why.

Sanford police officer Timothy Smith holds up the gun that was used to kill Trayvon Martin.
Sanford police officer Timothy Smith holds up the gun that was used to kill Trayvon Martin.
Image: AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool, File

AN ONLINE AUCTION was halted without explanation today for the pistol that former Florida neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman used to kill unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

The weapon was removed from the GunBroker.com website, minutes after the auction was to begin. It was not immediately clear why the website took down the listing. Critics called the planned auction an insensitive move to profit from the slaying.

Zimmerman had told Orlando, Florida, TV station WOFL that the pistol was returned to him by the US Justice Department, which took it after he was acquitted in Martin’s 2012 shooting death.

The auction for the 9mm Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol was to begin at 11am local time (4pm here) and tomorrow. The website operators did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.

The auction listing had said a portion of the proceeds would go toward fighting what Zimmerman calls violence by the Black Lives Matter movement against law enforcement officers, combatting anti-gun rhetoric of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and ending the career of state attorney Angela Corey, who led Zimmerman’s prosecution.

The listing ended with a Latin phrase that translates as “if you want peace, prepare for war.”

Zimmerman, now 32, has said he was defending himself when he killed Martin, 17, in a gated community near Orlando. Martin, who lived in Miami with his mother, was visiting his father at the time.

Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, was acquitted in Martin’s February 2012 shooting death. The case sparked protests and a national debate about race relations. The Justice Department later decided not to bring a civil rights case against Zimmerman.

Lucy McBath, the mother of another black teenager shot by a white man during an argument at a Jacksonville convenience store in 2012, said the auction reflected a “deplorable lack of value for human life.”

Since Zimmerman was acquitted, he has been charged with assault based on complaints from two girlfriends. Both women later refused to press charges and Zimmerman wasn’t prosecuted.

His estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman, also accused him of smashing her iPad during an argument days after she filed divorce papers. No charges were filed because of lack of evidence. They were divorced in January.

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