US & Canada

Trayvon Martin: George Zimmerman launches website

George Zimmerman
Image caption George Zimmerman's website includes a PayPal account inviting donations

The Florida neighbourhood watchman who shot dead an unarmed black teenager and claimed self-defence has launched a website asking for donations.

George Zimmerman says on his homepage that the incident has forced him to abandon his home, job and family.

He shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in a gated community in Sanford.

Shots were fired into an empty police car on Tuesday in same neighbourhood where the teenager was shot.

Two bullets were found in the car and witnesses described hearing six shots, according to Sanford police.

'Kindling box'

Mr Zimmerman, 28, provides no details on his website about the night of the killing, saying only that "on Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage".

"As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life.

Image caption Trayvon Martin (seen here in 2009) lived in Miami and was visiting Sanford when he was killed

"This website's sole purpose is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries," adds the text, which appears against the backdrop of the US national flag.

The website includes a PayPal account where supporters are invited to donate to support Mr Zimmerman's "living expenses and legal defense".

At the bottom of the homepage is a quote from the 18th Century Irish statesman Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing."

Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett said on Tuesday that the community was tense.

"Are we a kindling box? Sure," Mr Triplett told ABC News . "But we're working down a path and so far it's been absolutely peaceful."

On Monday, Sanford police closed down their building as protesters gathered outside the department.

A prosecutor said on Monday there would be no grand jury hearing to determine if Mr Zimmerman should face trial.

But authorities said that decision would have no bearing on whether he could face charges over the shooting.

Trayvon Martin's family and supporters have said Mr Zimmerman killed him in cold blood after suspecting the teenager was a criminal based on his race and the fact he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

The neighbourhood watchman's supporters have said he only opened fire after the teenager attacked him, broke his nose and banged his head against the pavement.

Mr Zimmerman has not been charged because under Florida's controversial "stand your ground" self-defence law individuals are granted scope to use deadly force if they feel seriously in danger.

The case has attracted national attention, leading to protests around the US and a debate about race.

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