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Zimmerman charged with assault, battery

Former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is seen after he was arrested Monday in Apopka, Fla. Authorities said they responded to a disturbance call at a house earlier in the day. AP photo

Former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is seen after he was arrested Monday in Apopka, Fla. Authorities said they responded to a disturbance call at a house earlier in the day. AP photo

APOPKA, Fla. — George Zimmerman was charged Monday with assault after deputies were called to the home where he lived with his girlfriend, who claimed he pointed a shotgun at her during an argument, authorities said.

Zimmerman pushed the woman out of the house and barricaded the door with furniture, Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma said at a news conference hours after the arrest. The girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, provided deputies with a key to the home and they were able to push the door that had been barricaded.

“She was very concerned for her own safety especially having the weapon pointed at her and then being pushed out,” Lemma said.

Lemma says Zimmerman was compliant and unarmed when deputies came to the house.

“The easiest way to describe it is rather passive. He’s had the opportunity to encounter this in the past,” he said.

Zimmerman was charged with domestic aggravated assault with a weapon, domestic battery and criminal mischief. His first appearance was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. He will be housed in a single-person cell and guards will check on him hourly, Lemma added.

“Just when you thought you heard the last of George Zimmerman,” said neighbor Catherine Cantrell. She said she had twice seen a man who looked like Zimmerman get out of a truck that’s been in the driveway for nearly a month. The truck parked there Monday appeared to be the same one that reporters have seen Zimmerman drive previously.

“I’m in absolute shock. He was never outside. It’s not like he was out flaunting around,” she said.

Cantrell said Scheibe was very sweet and quiet.

Sarah Tyler, 26, also lives across the street from the tan stucco house on a cul-de-sac street of single family homes in Apopka, about 15 miles northwest of Orlando.

“It’s kind of frightening,” she said.

Zimmerman, 30, was acquitted in July of all charges in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The death of the black teenager, who was unarmed, touched off a nationwide debate about race and self-defense. Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, has said he shot the 17-year-old to defend himself during a fight in February 2012 inside a gated community in Sanford, just outside Orlando.

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