"STFU until all the facts are in!"
The man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, setting off a nationwide outpouring of anger, told police that Martin knocked him down with a single punch and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times — an account that police said witnesses have corroborated, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, was walking back to his SUV when Martin approached him from behind. The two exchanged words, and Martin decked him with a punch to the nose and began beating him. He told police he shot Martin in self-defense.
Witnesses said they heard someone cry out in distress, some of them telling NBC News and other news organizations that it was Martin. But police told the Sentinel their evidence indicated it was Zimmerman.
One witness told police he saw Martin pounding Zimmerman on the ground. This witness was certain it was Zimmerman who was crying for help, the Sentinel reported.
When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, and he had a swollen lip and bloody lacerations to the back of his head, the newspaper reported.
Jackie Barnard, a spokeswoman for the 4th Circuit state's attorney's office, told NBC News that investigators and prosecutors returned to Sanford to continue their casework Monday and will soon meet with federal officials later.
Barnard said she hadn't seen the Sentinel story but would share it with Corey and that she might have a comment later in the day.
Toxicology tests on Martin's body were still pending, but a spokesman for his family confirmed to NBC News that Martin was suspended for 10 days from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in Miami for possession of an empty marijuana baggie.
Zimmerman's attorney, Craig Sonner, has suggested that he will invoke Florida's "stand-your-ground" law, which provides significant leeway for people to use deadly force if they feel their lives are in danger. Angela Corey, the special prosecutor reviewing the case, said that would make getting a conviction "more difficult than a normal criminal case."
"The stand-your-ground law is one portion of justifiable use of deadly force," prosecutor Angela Corey told ABC News. "And what that means is that the state must go forward and be able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. ... So it makes the case in general more difficult than a normal criminal case."
Corey added that it's also not clear whether prosecuting the death as a hate crime would lead to a conviction. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
"It would depend on which charge, if any, we're able to file," said Corey, whom Gov. Rick Scott appointed to review the case. "Before we would be able to determine, one, if this is a hate crime, and two, whether or not that would enhance the crime."