Bidding in an online auction for the gun George Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin was up to $65 million Friday morning as Internet trolls appeared to drive the offers to astronomic levels.
Bidding on the 9 mm Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol began at $5,000 and reached more than $65 million early Friday. The top bidder at one point used the screen name “Racist McShootface.” That account was later deleted. Another bidder used the name Tamir Rice, which is the name of a 12-year-old boy shot by police in Cleveland while carrying a toy gun.
The most recent bid topping $65 million is by someone identified as Craig Bryant.
The United Gun Group website began hosting the auction after another website, GunBroker.com, halted bidding. But United Gun Group briefly pulled the listing Thursday night, saying the auction was not in the organization’s best interest.
“Our mission is to esteem the 2nd amendment and provide a safe and secure platform for firearms enthusiasts and law-abiding citizens; our association with Mr. Zimmerman does not help us achieve that objective,” the organization wrote.
However, the auction was back up and running on the company’s website early Friday and the bid clock says it will be open for four more days.
GunBroker.com stopped the auction on its site Thursday and said Zimmerman never contacted anyone at the firm about the listing.
“We want no part in the listing on our web site or in any of the publicity it is receiving,” it said in a statement.
Zimmerman told the Orlando Sentinel that GunBroker.com was not “prepared for the traffic and publicity surrounding the auction of my firearm. It has now been placed with another auction house.”
Zimmerman told Orlando TV station WOFL that the gun was returned to him by theU.S. Justice Department after he was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in 17-year-old Martin’s death in 2012.
Zimmerman, 32, said he planned to use the proceeds from the sale of the gun, which he described as “an American Firearm Icon,” to fight “Black Lives Matter” violence against law enforcement officers and to counter “Hillary Clinton’s anti-firearm rhetoric.” He also said money would be used to “ensure the demise of Angela Correy’s (sic) persecution career.” Corey was the special prosecutor appointed to investigate Martin’s death.
The listing ended with “if you want peace, prepare for war” in Latin.
Zimmerman, then a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed Martin in February 2012, in a confrontation as the unarmed teenager was heading back to a relative’s house in Sanford, Fla., after buying snacks at a convenience store.
Tracy Martin, the boy’s father, issued a statement Thursday through his lawyer,Benjamin Crump, saying a foundation in his son’s name is focusing on ending senseless gun violence and “has no comment on the actions of that person that murdered Trayvon.”
Zimmerman has had several run-ins with the law since Martin’s shooting, including domestic abuse charges and an alleged road rage incident. In a conversation with Fox35 in Orlando, he said if he doesn’t sell the firearm, it will go in a safe and “never be used or seen again.”