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Bids for Zimmerman's gun skyrocket past $65M on auction site, but offers likely fake

Bidders calling themselves "Racist McShootFace," "Donald Trump" and "Tamir Rice" had pushed the auction to astronomical levels by Friday.

By Amy R. Connolly and Doug G. Ware
Bids for Zimmerman's gun skyrocket past $65M on auction site, but offers likely fake
Sanford Police officer Timothy Smith holds up the gun that was used to kill Trayvon Martin, while testifying on day 15 of George Zimmerman's trial in Sanford, Floa., in 2013. Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder. Now Zimmerman is trying to auction off the gun. File Photo by Joe Burbank/Pool

LAKE MARY, Fla., May 13 (UPI) -- Bidding for the handgun George Zimmerman used to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin in 2012 topped $65 million Friday after the firearm was moved to a new auction site -- but it's likely that no one seriously intends to pay that much for the weapon.

Zimmerman moved the auction to United Gun Group, an online firearms marketplace, on Thursday after the listing was rejected by Gunbroker.com.

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The starting bid of $5,000 for the 9 mm Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol quickly escalated to $65 million by Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, bidding was at $65,039,000.

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However, it appears likely that Zimmerman's sale has attracted phony bidders who have no intention of paying a dime -- let alone millions -- for the weapon used to shoot the 17-year-old Martin in February 2012. The screen name of the user who first submitted the $65 million bid is "Racist McShootFace" -- whose account was subsequently deleted.

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Other high bidders for the gun were users named "Donald Trump" and "Tamir Rice," the 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was shot to death by police in November 2014 while carrying a toy pistol.

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It was reported earlier Friday that United Gun Group was considering pulling the auction, but apparently decided against it. Thursday, United Gun Group owner Todd Underwood emphatically supported the auction.

George Zimmerman (right) sits with his defense team in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida, on July 13, 2013, moments before he was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Photo by Joe Burbank/UPI/Pool

Zimmerman, 32, a former community watch leader, shot Martin in his gated community after becoming suspicious of the teen's actions there. He was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges a year later, which sparked a national debate over Florida's so-called "stand your ground" laws and race relations.

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In the online listing, Zimmerman called the weapon an "American Firearm Icon" and said, "The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin on 2/26/2012."

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"Many have expressed interest in owning and displaying the firearm including The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. This is a piece of American History," the description continues. "Offers to purchase the Firearm have been received; however, the offers were to use the gun in a fashion I did not feel comfortable with."

Zimmerman said a portion of the proceeds would be used to "fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against law enforcement officers, ensure the demise of Angela [Corey's] persecution career and Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric."

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Corey was appointed special prosecutor by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to investigate Martin's death.

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The listing is signed, "Your friend, George M. Zimmerman -- Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum," which is Latin for "if you want peace, prepare for war."

Gunbroker.com said Thursday it delisted the auction because it decided it wanted "no part" of the sale or "any of the publicity it is receiving."

"Listings on the GunBroker.com web site are user-generated, exactly like social media posts," the company said. "Mr. Zimmerman never contacted anyone at GunBroker.com prior to or after the listing was created and no one at GunBroker.com has any relationship with Zimmerman. Our site rules state that we reserve the right to reject listings at our sole discretion, and have done so with the Zimmerman listing."

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Zimmerman said the auction was removed from Gunbroker because it was not "prepared for the traffic and publicity surrounding the auction of my firearm."

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