Trayvon Martin, 17, cried for help before his attacker, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, shot him in the chest. Zimmerman said he acted out of self-defense on that February night. He has not been arrested or charged.
Trayvon, who loved playing sports, had dreams of working in aviation.
Trayvon’s older brother, Jahvaris Fulton, 21, could not believe what had happened.
After leaving his first class of the day at Florida International University, Fulton received a call from his mom with the devastating news.
“It was shocking,” said Fulton, a former Florida A&M student. “I was in disbelief.”
Fulton’s voice weighed with grief as he recalled the moment he heard his brother had been killed.
Martin’s relatives described him as “happy go lucky,” a free spirit and a happy kid who was always on the go.
Rachel Greene, one of his older cousins from Ft. Lauderdale, reflected on the last time she and Trayvon had spoken. It was Feb. 5 and he had just turned 17, when Greene texted happy birthday.
“I never imagined something like this happening to my family,” Greene said. “It really upsets me and it hurts.”
Greene remembered Trayvon and her younger brother– only a year younger than Martin — spraying a bedroom wall with deodorant.
“The stain is still there,” Greene said, laughing.
Angela Hall, Trayvon’s cousin, also reflected on the boy’s life.
“He left too soon,” Hall said. “I didn’t get to see him graduate high school. I’m going to miss seeing him go through life, from the teenage years, to an adult, to having a family of his own. The normal things of life.”
Hall also said, “I’m going to miss his smile. I don’t ever remember him being mad. He always had that smile.”
Ronald Fulton, Trayvon’s uncle and inspiration for aviation, remembers his nephew as an outgoing person and admired the teen for his willingness to listen to advice from adults.
“Some kids get of age and you can’t talk to them because they think they know everything, but Trayvon wasn’t like that,” said Ronald Fulton.
Martin was always there to lend a helping hand, and although Trayvon’s parents divorced, his father has always been there for guidance and leadership, the family said.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, Trayvon helped the Miami Heat basketball team prepare and serve dinners to the less fortunate.
“We loved sports,” said Ronald Fulton.
His charm, wit and smile are some of the things his family said they will miss.
The family’s campaign to have Zimmerman arrested spread from the town of Sanford to as far away as New York with last week’s “Million Hoodie March.” Attention in the case has gone national — thanks, in part, to a vibrant social media campaign that, among other things, is seeking 1,000,000 signatures for the arrest of George Zimmerman.
The teen’s killing has raised questions about Florida’s contentious “Stand Your Ground” law, which grants residents authority to “defend themselves” in any way necessary should they feel threatened.
Even President Obama weighed in on the discussion over the weekend.
“I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative to investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together – federal, state and local – to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened,” Obama said.
Trayvon’s family hopes his killer will be punished for the shooting.
“I just want justice for my little brother,” said Fulton. “Zimmerman needs to be held accountable for what he did.”
“We miss him, we love him and he is my son,” Hall said. “We will not stop until justice is served.”