July 18, 2012— -- George Zimmerman, accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, told a television interviewer Wednesday that he would not have changed the circumstances leading up to the shooting and that he viewed the entire incident as "God's plan."
At the very end of the interview, however, after commercial breaks and with his lawyer by his side, Zimmerman asked "to readdress on whether I'd do anything differently."
"I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that would have put me in the position that I wouldn't have to take his life," Zimmerman told Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel. "I'm sorry that this happened. I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions, that it's polarized and divided America."
Earlier in the interview, when Hannity asked Zimmerman if he regretted the specific actions of carrying a gun or getting out of his car to follow Martin that February night, the neighborhood watchman said that he didn't.
"I feel that it was all God's plan, and for me to second guess it or judge it," he said, trailing off.
Asked, "Is there anything you might do differently?" Zimmerman said, "No, sir."
Zimmerman, 28, is out of jail on $1 million bond awaiting trial. He was charged in April with second-degree murder for killing Martin, an unarmed black teenager, on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.
After the interview, Martin's family lashed out.
"Zimmerman said that he does not regret getting out of his vehicle, he does not regret following Trayvon, in fact he does not regret anything that he did that night," the family said in a statement released through an attorney, Ben Crump. "He wouldn't do anything different and he concluded it was God's plan."
"We must worship a different God," added Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father, "because there is no way that my God would have wanted George Zimmerman to kill my teenage son."
Zimmerman has said that he shot Martin after Martin knocked him down, banged his head on the pavement and threatened his life, and he believed Martin was going for his handgun. He repeated his claim to Hannity.
Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, said he was particularly upset by the racial aspects of the case and media coverage.
"I'm not a racist and I'm not a murderer," he said.
Zimmerman said he grew suspicious of Martin after spotting the black teen in a hoodie while on an evening errand for groceries. He said Martin was moving between houses in the rain and didn't look like a resident or a fitness enthusiast out for a run.
He believed Martin spotted him and made movements toward his waistband, as if to suggest that he had a weapon, he told Hannity.
"I was on the phone [with a police dispatcher] but I was certain I could see him saying something to me and his demeanor was confrontational," Zimmerman said.
He said Martin then moved away and, soon, so did Zimmerman.
"He was skipping, going away quickly, but he wasn't running away out of fear," Zimmerman said, in a comment that conflicts with his recorded description to police after the incident, in which he said he didn't remember the manner in which Martin ran away.
Asked by the police dispatcher at the time if he was following Martin, Zimmerman said he was.
"I meant that I was going in the same direction as him to keep an eye on him so I could tell the police where he was going," Zimmerman told Hannity. "I didn't mean that I was pursuing him."
Zimmerman told Hannity that he never intended to pursue or confront the unarmed teen in defiance of the law enforcement dispatcher's insistence that, "We don't need you to do that."
Instead, he said, he backed off observing Martin and moved away on foot toward his own home to wait for police, only to have Martin surprise him.
"He asked me what my problem was," Zimmerman said, adding that when he reached for his cell phone, Martin punched him and broke his nose.
Zimmerman said he soon hit the ground.
"He started bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk," Zimmerman told Hannity. "As soon as he broke my nose, I started yelling for help because I was disoriented and he started slamming my head into the concrete."
Ambulance workers who treated Zimmerman on the night of the shooting told a court that Zimmerman's head was covered in blood after the shooting, and that the lacerations on his head "would probably need stitches."
Zimmerman's lawyers have tried to establish that their client might have thought he had suffered a "life-threatening injury."
Zimmerman's father has identified his son's voice as the male voice yelling for help in the background of a 911 call recording that was played in court.
Zimmerman said he shimmied to get onto the grass to avoid having his head hit the concrete. With Martin punching him, "cursing, telling me to shut up and, finally, he told me he was going to kill me," Zimmerman told Hannity, his movements exposed his gun under his jacket.
"He said, 'You're going to die tonight,'" Zimmerman told Hannity.
Zimmerman said he soon believed he felt Martin's hand moving for the gun, but Zimmerman reached it first.
Zimmerman told Hannity he'd like to have the opportunity to apologize to Martin's family.
"I would tell them that, again, I'm sorry," he said.
"My wife and I don't have any children," he said. "I have nephews that I love more than life. I love them more than myself. And I know when they were born, it was a different unique bond and love that I have with them. And I love my children even though that they aren't born yet.
"I am sorry that they buried their child," he added. "I can't imagine what it must feel like. And I pray for them daily."