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Robert Zimmerman Jr., speaks out in defense of brother, George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman's family and friends have begun to go public and give his side of the events surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin. CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports.

Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, and Trayvon Martin, 17, who died while walking home in a Feb. 26 shooting.
CBS/AP
(CBS) SANFORD, Fla. - The brother of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, spoke out for the first time, defending his brother and calling him "the neighbor everyone would want to have."

Photos: Trayvon Martin

Robert Zimmerman Jr., spoke to CNN's Piers Morgan Thursday night, insisting his brother defended himself after being attacked by Martin.

"He prevented his firearm from being taken away from him," Robert Zimmerman Jr., told Morgan. He said medical records will prove that his brother was attacked and his nose was broken by Martin before he fatally shot the teen.

Zimmerman said he wanted to correct some of the "mythology" and untruths that have been spread about the night of the shooting.

He said his brother didn't chase anyone and had been on his way to Target, The Miami Herald reports. He thought Trayvon Martin looked suspicious as he walked around the gated community, not because of race, but because of what had been happening in the community. There had recently been several break-ins.

During the exchange with Trayvon, he said his brother reached to get his cell phone. He wanted to call 911 again, but "he never got to make that phone call because he was attacked by Mr. Martin."

"You return force with force when somebody assaults you. George was out of breath, he was barely conscious," Zimmerman said. "There would have been George dead if he had not acted decisively and instantaneously in that moment when he was being disarmed."

Martin's family and legal experts have questioned the Zimmerman's family version after the recent release of surveillance videos from the Sanford police headquarters the night of the incident.

Robert Zimmerman Jr., said his brother was treated at the scene before he was taken to police headquarters and it appears to him that the surveillance tape shows that his brother had injuries. He said he had confidence that the medical records would explain everything, adding that he thought his brother's nose did look swollen to him in the video.

Zimmerman called the shooting a tragedy, but said he felt that some of the responses have not been healthy.

"This is a tragedy. Her son was lost," he said trying to send a message to Martin's mother. "I feel very badly about that and I want, in the end, not for her son's memory to be seen as how we degraded our system and turned it into mob rule and went into a hate speech. Ultimately, we all wish that this was a different situation."

Complete coverage of the Trayvon Martin case on Crimesider

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