George Zimmerman: 7 fascinating facts

George Zimmerman seen here after his arrest on April 11, 2012. Zimmerman's arrest follows weeks of anger and debate throughout the country in response to the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's attorney said his client would plead not guilty and invoke Florida's "stand your ground" law, which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight.
Sanford Police Department

Reuters published an in-depth look at the life of George Zimmerman yesterday. Based on extensive interviews with relatives, friends, neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers of Zimmerman's in two states, as well as court documents and police reports, the story reveals some fascinating facts about the life of the man in the middle of one of America's most controversial homicide cases, the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

1. Zimmerman, a 28-year-old insurance-fraud investigator, comes from a deeply Catholic background. He was raised in a racially integrated household and has black roots through his Afro-Peruvian maternal great-grandfather, who was the father of the grandmother, Cristina, who helped raise him. She worked as a babysitter and cared for two African-American girls. They went back and forth to school with Zimmerman daily and ate all their meals at the Zimmerman home.

2. Zimmerman is bilingual and, by age 10, acted as a translator between Haydon Elementary School administrators and immigrant parents.

See GlobalPost's complete coverage of the Trayvon Martin case.

3. At 14, Zimmerman became obsessed with the idea of being a Marine, according to a relative. After joining the after-school ROTC program at Grace E. Metz Middle School, he polished his boots nightly. He then started working three part-time jobs when he turned 15 — in a Mexican restaurant, for the All Saints rectory where he also served as an altar boy, and washing cars. In 2004, Zimmerman opened an Allstate insurance satellite office with an African-American friend.

4. In July 2005, Zimmerman was charged with resisting arrest, violence and battery after he pushed an undercover alcohol-control agent arresting an under-age friend at a bar. Zimmerman agreed to take part in a pre-trial diversion program, including anger-management classes, and avoided conviction.

5. One month later, Zimmerman's then-fiancée, Veronica Zuazo, filed for a restraining order, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman did the same, and both orders were granted.

6. Zimmerman enrolled in Seminole State College in 2009 and attended a graduation ceremony in December 2011, despite being short one credit for his associate's degree in criminal justice. He was completing that credit when the shooting occurred, and the school has since withdrawn Zimmerman's enrollment for "the safety of our students on campus as well as for Mr. Zimmerman."

7. After police left neighbor Olivia Bertalan's home following a home invasion, she said Zimmerman arrived at her door in a shirt and tie, giving her his contact information on an index card and inviting her to his home to visit with his wife if she ever felt unsafe. He also returned later to give Bertalan a stronger lock for her sliding door that had been forced open.

Read more about Zimmerman at the Reuters article here.

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