An unidentified entrepreneur admits he is trying to profit off Trayvon Martin’s death by selling gun range targets featuring the teen who’s death has sparked a nationwide controversy.
Although Martin’s face does not appear on the paper targets, they feature a hoodie with crosshairs aimed at the chest. A bag of Skittles is tucked in the pocket and a hand is holding a can resembling iced tea.
Martin purchased both items minutes before he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February, according to police.
Zimmerman, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges, originally told investigators he shot Martin in self-defense.
According to an advertisement for the targets that had been posted on a popular firearms auction website, the sellers stated they “support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug.”
That online ad has since been removed.
“This is the highest level of disgust and the lowest level of civility,” said Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara.
O’Mara said he is worried about how Martin’s parents will react to the image of their son on a target intended to be used for shooting practice.
The attorney is also concerned the targets will further inflame the community.
“It’s this type of hatred — that’s what this is, it’s hate-mongering — that’s going to make it more difficult to try this case,” said O’Mara.
Local 6 has been unable to determine the identity of the seller, who had also set up a website to sell the gun range targets.
In an email exchange with reporter Mike DeForest, the seller wrote, “My main motivation was to make money off the controversy.”
The seller would not disclose how many paper targets had been made, but said in an email, “The response is overwhelming. I sold out in 2 days.”
Some of those targets were sold to two Florida gun dealers, according to the seller.
Before DeForest identified himself as a reporter, the seller claimed that targets were still available for purchase. After being informed Local 6 was investigating his online business, the seller claimed the targets would no longer be sold.
Firearm owners are buzzing about the Trayvon Martin targets on several gun enthusiast websites.
Very few have shown interest in purchasing the targets. Most have expressed disgust.
“Even though I fully believe Zimmerman was justified in shooting, Trayvon was still a human being and does not deserve that kind of disrespect in death,” wrote one firearm owners association website member.
Attorney for the Martin family Natale Jackson said the family also believes the target is “disgusting.”
“It’s a sad certain segment of our society that would think you could make a profit off the killing of a teenage boy,” Jackson said.
The online advertisements for the targets have been taken down as of Friday.