The parents of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was fatally shot last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer, traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to urge Congress to push for answers and justice in their son’s death.
Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and father, Tracy Martin, who spoke briefly at a congressional forum organized by House Democrats, thanked supporters who have “allowed us to stand tall.”
“Thank you to everyone who’ve supported our family, everyone who has helped us stand tall in this matter, everyone who is holding the legacy of Trayvon and making sure that he did not indeed die in vain,” said Mr. Martin.
After the 2½-hour forum, the parents, surrounded by attorneys and Democrats, called for “peace” for their son’s accused shooter, George Zimmerman, who told police he acted in self-defense and hasn’t been arrested or charged.
“We have not gotten justice yet because this man has not been arrested for shooting my son,” Ms. Fulton said.
But the forum, billed as a briefing on racial profiling and hate crimes, was dominated by lawmakers, mostly black House Democrats, who strongly condemned Mr. Zimmerman and Sanford, Fla., law enforcement officials handling the case.
Trayvon, 17, was fatally shot Feb. 26 in the central Florida city where his father’s girlfriend lives.
A neighborhood watch volunteer called the police to say he saw someone in a hooded sweatshirt who looked high on drugs and was suspicious because he walked too slowly in a gated community.
The unarmed teenager, who was serving out a suspension from his Miami-area high school, was coming from a store where he bought Skittles and iced tea, and was talking to his girlfriend on the phone, records show.
The teen’s violent death has inspired rallies and marches from coast to coast and sparked a national conversation about racial profiling and justice.
As civil rights activists and Democrats rallied for Trayvon’s parents in Washington, more information about witness accounts and the teen-ager’s background in school leaked out of the investigation into the shooting.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Mr. Zimmerman told police that he and Trayvon exchanged words before the teen punched him in the nose and began banging his head on the ground. He said he cried out for help, and at least one witness corroborated at least part of that account.