Is George Zimmerman missing playing pretend cop and shooting people?
A TPM Reader reader in The Hive (sub req) flagged this bizarre little story. It seems Zimmerman has been volunteering as a night security guard at a Motorcycle and gun shop in DeLand, Florida called Pompano Pat’s.
To add to the weirdness, the owner of Pompano Pat’s is Pat Johnson, who’s running for Mayor of Deland.
The whole drama started last night when a police officer spotted Zimmerman in his pickup parked at Pompano Pat’s. Sgt. Chris Estes questioned Zimmerman. According to Estes, “[Zimmerman] said he had permission from Pat Johnson to do night security but our officers could not make contact with Pat Johnson to verify that so we did an information report.” But Sam Porter, the shop’s gun sales manager, said that Zimmerman is not an employee of Pompano Pat’s: “George Zimmerman is not an employee of the business and he is not getting paid in any way, shape or form by Pompano Pat’s.”
Reading over this story in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, it seems like Pat Johnson probably knew Zimmerman was doing this volunteer guard duty. But they’re being pretty vague about whether Pat asked him to guard the store, knew he was guarding the store, etc. They’re actually claiming the whole thing is somehow a political dirty trick to connect Johnson, albeit very tangentially, to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
An official statement from Pompano Pat’s said: “ANY and ALL reports made to the media or other agencies that Pompano Pats or its Corporate President-Pat Johnson hired George Zimmerman as a ‘Security Guard or Night Watchman’ are 100% false. Our company and its founders learned of his recent sighting from mass media reports.” But the two men clearly know each other. Johnson did stage a bit of a publicity stunt last year offering to replace the gun Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin with a new Kel-Tec PF-9. And the DeLand’s Deputy Police Chief, Randel Henderson released a statement saying that “Every indication illustrates that Mr. Zimmerman was at the store with the knowledge of the owner.”
What does not seem clear from the press accounts I’ve found is whether Zimmerman had a firearm on him while ‘guarding’ Pat’s. As far as I know, since he was acquitted in the Martin case he can still own firearms, notwithstanding subsequent sundry domestic violence arrests. So Zimmerman’s hunger to be a fake cop or find himself in a position where he might need to take down a bad guy seemed to go on unabated.