EXCLUSIVE: George Zimmerman is taken into custody after ‘threatening wife with gun and punching her father in the nose after she confronted him over claims he was having an AFFAIR’
- Shellie Zimmerman called police to her parents’ house in Lake Mary, Florida on Monday afternoon, claiming he had hit her dad in the nose
- Friends said the altercation began over claims he cheated with his ex-fiancee and that Shellie filed for divorce after seeing them together
- Shellie’s 911 call: ‘I’m really, really afraid. I don’t know what he’s capable of’
- But both she and her father refused to press charges and Zimmerman has claimed that THEY started the argument
- Altercation comes just days after Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce claiming that their marriage was ‘irretrievably broken
George Zimmerman was today questioned by police after allegedly threatening his estranged wife with a handgun in an altercation sparked by claims he has been having an affair, MailOnline can reveal.
Friend and key defense witness John Donnelly told MailOnline: ‘George has been having an affair with his ex-fiancee. Shellie believes it flared back up after the acquittal.’
Zimmerman’s only publicly known former fiancee was beautician Veronica Zuazo, who herself filed a domestic violence complaint against him in a messy series of counter complaints that led to their split.
Police were called to the Lake Mary, Florida residence owned by Shellie Zimmerman’s parents, David and Machelle Dean, after she made a panicked 911 call at around 2.15pm Monday.
‘I’m really really afraid,’ Shellie says in the call, claiming Zimmerman punched her father in the nose and threatened to shoot them both. ‘I don’t know what he’s capable of. I’m really, really scared…
Questions: George Zimmerman, right, is escorted by police to his wife’s family’s home in Lake Mary after she called 911 claiming he had hit her father and was threatening to shoot them both
Relaxed: Police said Zimmerman was cooperating with authorities but blamed his wife for the altercation
He’s in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun. He keeps staying “Step closer”. He’s just threatening all of us with his firearm. He’s going to shoot us.
‘He punched my dad in the nose. My dad has a mark on the face. I saw his glasses on the floor.’
Lake Mary police officers disarmed Zimmerman who was outside the house when they made contact and they have not yet returned the firearm
Officers added that there were no significant injuries; in the 911 call Shellie requested medical help as she said her father was shaking and could have a heart attack.
Zimmerman was briefly in police custody but was not arrested, and Shellie and her father have declined to press charges. Zimmerman has now returned to the home with his attorney, Mark O’Mara.
He told police that his estranged wife and her father were actually the aggressors, a spokesman said. Police said there are video cameras inside the house and they will review the incident.
According to Mr Donnelly, Shellie confronted her husband who has been ‘AWOL’ since his acquittal and whose only contact with his wife has been via a number of texts stating simply: ‘I’m fine’.
‘During the trial they were sequestered, moved from house to house there just wasn’t any opportunity for anything like that [an affair] to go on,’ he said. ‘To the best of my knowledge and hers this started up after the trial.’
Shellie had harbored suspicions that her husband had reconnected with his former fiancee following the trial.
According to a close source she had issued him with the ultimatum: ‘Don’t you ever bring that woman into my house.’
But two or three weeks ago, Shellie and her father arrived at the Lake Mary house to find Zimmerman and his ex-fiancee pulling into the driveway.
‘That is what prompted her to file for divorce,’ Mr Donnelly said.
According to an earlier report in the Miami Herald, Zimmerman also has a troubled legal past with his ex-fiancee Veronica Zuazo.
In January 2002, she claimed he threw her on a bed and smacked her after she came home late, and later that year, he repeatedly slapped her across the face for popping her gum in his face as they drove to a counseling session.
Then in 2005, Zimmerman was involved in another domestic violence incident with Zuazo; she filed for a restraining order after he allegedly snatched her cell phone from her hand and pushed her.
She has yet to respond to today’s claims.
Last week, Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce from her husband of nearly seven years, claiming that their marriage was ‘irretrievably broken’ following his murder trial in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Friends told MailOnline that she had been collecting belongings from the home – where she stayed with Zimmerman during his trial – when her estranged husband turned up.
It is not thought that Zimmerman knew his estranged wife would be at the property. They have not lived there for six months.
Speaking to MailOnline, Donnelly’s wife Leanne Benjamin, a key defense witness at the trial and friend of George and Shellie for more than a decade, reacted to news of Zimmerman’s arrest.
Speaking from her Lake Mary home, she said: ‘I’m relieved. He was a powder keg waiting to blow… I feel relieved now that he… might get some quiet time and some psychological help.
‘If he had run into a stranger and got into an altercation he might have hurt someone or ended up hurt or dead himself.’
Her husband Donnelly, a Vietnam vet and army medic, added: ‘As far as we understand Shellie had gone back to the house – a property owned by her father – to collect some belongings.
‘Her father was with her. It was one of the places they stayed for about six months during the trial.
‘George showed up with his gun. It was a domestic altercation. Shellie was getting stuff, her father wants to clear the house out to sell it.’
He added: ‘I would have taken that gun from him and thrown it into the nearest lake.’
Shellie’s brother DJ Dean was home when the incident started today and told reported that his brother-in-law changed after the shooting.
‘Before the incident, he was probably the nicest person I ever met,’ he told reporters. ‘I think the guilt and self-hatred got to him.’
MailOnline has learned that Shellie and George had been in marriage counselling sessions prior to the night of 26 February when Trayvon Martin was shot, as Zimmerman was seeking help with ‘anger management issues’.
Shellie fled the marital home to stay with her grandmother after one particular altercation.
It also emerged on Monday that the couple had lived at the house throughout the trial, despite Shellie saying in an earlier interview that they had been hiding out in ‘a trailer in the woods’.
In reality, they were staying at the $240,000 home, which has a pool and spa in the backyard and two security cameras on its front door.
Last week, Shellie Zimmerman gave a television interview explaining why she had filed for divorce. The couple separated August 13 – a month after he was found not guilty of murder.
‘I have a selfish husband,’ she told Good Morning America. ‘I think George is all about George.’
She said that he developed a temper and ‘beat her down’ – while she remained by his side during the lengthy trial that sent them both into hiding when George became a symbol of racial tension.
‘I stood by my husband through everything and I feel like he left me with a bunch of pieces of broken glass that I’m supposed to now assemble and make a life,’ she said.
‘I have supported him for so long and neglected myself for too long and I feel like I’m finally starting to feel empowered again.’
She added: ‘In my opinion, he feels more invincible’ since the court case. ‘I think he’s just making some reckless decisions.’
George Zimmerman, 29, made headlines last week after he was caught speeding – the second time since he was acquitted of second-degree murder in July.
His wife is now wanting custody of their dogs – a Rottweiller named Oso and a mixed breed named Leroy – and a share of the money he gets from a lawsuit against NBC.
Shellie, 26, also spoke to Good Morning America and told how the death threats that he husband received following Trayvon’s slaying forced them to live ‘pretty much Gypsies for the past year’.
‘We lived in a 20-foot trailer in the woods, scared every night that someone would find us and it would be horrific,’ she said in the interview which aired on August 28.
She appeared at every court hearing for him before he was acquitted of second degree murder.
Even now, she stands by his actions that night, when the neighborhood watch volunteer confronted a teenager he thought looked suspicious who was walking through his neighborhood.
When asked if she thought George had targeted Trayvon and murdered him in cold blood, she he’s ‘not capable’ that kind of behavior.
Shellie appeared in court in late August to enter a guilty plea to lying under oath.
She admitted that she lied when asked about she and George’s financial situation when he was trying to meet bail after being arrested for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
‘By lying under oath, I let my God down, I let your Honor and the court down, I let my family and friends down, and, most of all, I let myself down,’ she wrote in an apology letter.
She received 100 hours of community service and a year of probation, which she plans to fulfill with community service at a Christian ministry.