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Rescued Florida Couple Scared of Zimmerman Connection

By    |   Wednesday, 24 July 2013 03:04 PM

A Florida couple, who was rescued with their children from a rollover crash by George Zimmerman, is terrified of becoming targets of people who have threatened to kill him following the court's Trayvon Martin innocent verdict.

"They are very grateful to Zimmerman for what he did, but they do not want to get involved," a friend of Mark and Dana Michelle Gerstle told The Daily Mail in London.

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The Gerstles are afraid they'll be targeted if they make Zimmerman look like a hero, their friend said, speaking anonymously.

The couple had scheduled a news conference on Wednesday to talk about the incident, but have since cancelled it, reports ABC News.

Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, said the family had asked to speak, but then became worried about the anger still surrounding the verdict.

"The family called because they wanted to address the media," O'Mara told ABC. "I knew that if we did it in an organized way, it would help them get back to a normal life. But they called today and said they were more worried about blow back from saying anything that would be favorable to George, and decided they did not want to do any media."

The Seminole City Sheriff's Office, where the press conference was to have taken place, said the family "expressed to us that they are not comfortable doing media interviews at this time and they continue to ask for privacy."

Last Wednesday, Zimmerman pulled the couple and their two young children from the wreck after their SUV rolled over in Sanford, Fla. The one-time neighborhood watch member was driving past with another man, and joined in the rescue. Until the accident, Zimmerman, 29, hadn't been seen since a court in Sanford cleared him of second-degree murder charges.

Zimmerman's name isn't in the accident report from the July 17 incident, which took place less than a mile from where Martin was shot. Police said he did not see the accident occur, and that he left after speaking with officers.

But Gerstle recognized Zimmerman as he pulled him from the driver's seat of his SUV, and officers noted Zimmerman made sure the man and his family were safe before leaving the scene.

The Gerstles, who live in Port Orange, Fla., have refused all interviews about their encounter, and a neighbor said while Mark Gerstle is probably very grateful to Zimmerman, he's also a "very quiet man and will not like having his name mentioned all over the press. He is not the type you will see on a chat show talking about what happened."

Friends of the couple said they're concerned about the threat of violence against the family. The Black Panthers have put out a bounty for Zimmerman and the Gerstles' friends are concerned other violent threats will spread to the family as well.

"Let's face it, George Zimmerman is pretty toxic right now," said a friend. "Mark has two young children and has got to live his life round here. Whatever he says could be taken out of context. If he praises Zimmerman then people will say he is making him into a hero. It is easier if he says nothing."

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A Florida couple, who was rescued with their children from a rollover crash by George Zimmerman, is terrified of becoming targets of people who have threatened to kill him.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 03:04 PM
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