Gun used to kill black teen sold for $345k

NEW YORK • A Florida neighbourhood watchman has sold for US$250,000 (S$345,388) the gun he used to kill unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, auctioneers said.

United Gun Group, which hosted the auction on its website, confirmed on Saturday the amount of the sale of the Kel-Tec PF-9, a 9mm pistol.

The price far exceeded the market value of a second-hand weapon.

The fact that the weapon was even being auctioned off had triggered a major backlash due to the nature of 17-year-old Martin's 2012 shooting.

Watchman George Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defence but the teen's family and friends claim it was a murder driven by racism.

Mr Zimmerman's trial and subsequent acquittal exposed deep racial divides in US society, and nationwide protests erupted over the shooting.

In announcing the sale, Mr Zimmerman had said that a portion of the proceeds would serve to "fight BLM (Black Lives Matter) violence against law enforcement officers". BLM campaigns against racist police violence in the US.

While serving as a neighbourhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Florida, Mr Zimmerman fatally shot high school student Martin as he was walking home with iced tea and candy in February 2012.

Mr Zimmerman insisted he had been following the teenager on suspicion he was involved in robbery, and that he shot him in an act of self-defence.

He was acquitted of second-degree murder the following year, setting off protests nationwide over Florida's "stand your ground" gun laws.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2016, with the headline 'Gun used to kill black teen sold for $345k'. Print Edition | Subscribe