During a break in an NBA basketball game on TV, Martin left his father's fiance's home in the gated community of Twin Lakes to walk to a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store to buy some candy. While returning to the house, Trayvon was seen by George Zimmerman, who called the Sanford Police Department non-emergency number.
According to phone records provided by T-Mobile, Trayvon was speaking on a cell phone at the time of the incident. Martin's girlfriend came forward, identifying herself as the other person in that conversation; she was interviewed by an attorney, who has made a statement, and her parents have requested her anonymity. The girl said that Martin expressed concern about a "strange man" following him, and she advised him to run. She claims to have heard Martin say "What are you following me for?" followed by a man's voice responding "What are you doing here?" She said that she heard the sound of pushing and that Martin's headset suddenly went silent, leading her to believe that he had been knocked down. She attempted to call him back immediately, but was unable to reach him.
Zimmerman police call
Zimmerman phoned the Sanford Police Department police at the non-emergency number at approximately 7:00 p.m., February 26, 2012. to report Martin’s “suspicious” behavior, which he described as “just walking around looking about.”  The police dispatcher tape recorded him saying, "This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something." He further stated that the person he was observing had his hand in his waistband, was holding something in his other hand, and was walking around slowly in the rain looking at houses.
The dispatcher recommended that he not take any action, and informed him that police were on the way. Zimmerman reported that Martin had taken off. The dispatcher asked him if he was in pursuit and he affirmed that he was. The dispatcher informed him that pursuit was not necessary, saying "We don't need you to do that."
A part of what Zimmerman said on the tape is unclear. Some have heard the disputed words as "???? coons", an ethnic slur used against black people, while others suggest it was "clueless", "course", or "punks". Police have now said that they may have missed a potential racial slur on the call.
When the police arrived, they reported finding Martin face-down and unresponsive, with a gunshot wound in the chest. The police report states that they attempted CPR, paramedics arrived and continued CPR, finally declaring Trayvon Martin dead at 7:30 p.m. Statements by the police say Zimmerman had grass on his back and his back was wet. Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and the back of the head; subsequently his lawyer stated that Zimmerman's nose was broken and that wound of the back of his head normally required stitches. Zimmerman claimed self-defense, telling police he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on, when Martin attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck. He said he fired the semiautomatic handgun because he feared for his life. Martin was unarmed, and was carrying a bag of Skittles candy and a can of Arizona brand iced tea.
A witness to the physical altercation just prior to the shooting stated that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and beating him up, while the older man yelled for help. Another witness, Mary Cutcher, has said in a TV interview that "there was no punching, no hitting going on at the time, no wrestling", but police say that she gave an official account to them that agreed with Zimmerman's story. Cutcher and her roommate told CNN journalist Anderson Cooper that their own account of the incident to the police did not agree with Zimmerman's, and that they had demanded that the police retract that incorrect statement. They also said, about the police's attitude at the scene, that "they were siding with him [Zimmerman] from the start" and that they heard the pair in their backyard and a "very young voice" whining, with no sounds of a fight. They heard a gunshot; the crying stopped immediately, and they saw Zimmerman on his knees pinning Martin down on the ground.
The police took Trayvon Martin's body and stored it in a morgue, calling him "John Doe". Martin's family accuses the police of not asking any of the neighbors if they recognized Martin. According to David Horsey, they also did not check his cell phone to find someone he knew.