In an exclusive interview with FOX News, George Zimmerman said he was sorry for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman, 28, a volunteer neighborhood watch leader, shared in detail the events that led up to Martin's death. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla.
Zimmerman said Martin appeared suspicious walking between houses in the rain and that it was Martin who initiated contact that quickly turned violent.
Zimmerman said after calling the non-emergency police line he lost sight of Martin. Zimmerman said his attention then turned to looking for a precise street address to give authorities. That's when Zimmerman said he turned around and saw Martin directly in front of him.
"He asked me what my problem was," Zimmerman said. Zimmerman reached for his phone to call 911 and that's when Zimmerman said Martin punched him, breaking his nose. The two ended up on the ground with Martin straddling Zimmerman, punching him and hitting his head against the concrete. A witness told police they saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, beating him.
Zimmerman told FOX News he was afraid he would lose consciousness and shimmied his way to the grass to better protect his head. Zimmerman said that's when Martin tried to "suffocate" him by placing his hands over his nose and mouth. Zimmerman said in the fight his jacket rose up and revealed his gun. Zimmerman said he felt Martin reach for it.
"He said, 'You are going to die tonight [expletive],' and took one hand off of my mouth and I felt it going down my chest towards my belt and holster, and that's when I -- I didn't have anymore time," Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman told FOX's Sean Hannity that he did not shoot Martin because he was black, but because he feared for his life.
"I'm not a racist and I'm not a murderer," Zimmerman said.
When asked if prior to the shooting he knew of Florida's stand-your-ground law, which allows people to use deadly force if they believe their lives are in danger, Zimmerman said no. Zimmerman added that after he fired his weapon, he didn't realize he actually shot Martin. And he didn't learn that Martin had died until an hour later when he was at the police station.
The interview concluded with Zimmerman looking into the camera and apologizing to his family, Martin's parents and the nation.
"I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America that I'm sorry that this happened," he said. "I hate to think that because of this incident, because my actions, it's polarized and divided American. And I'm truly sorry."