A last-minute venue change didn’t stop George Zimmerman from greeting supporters over the weekend at a Florida gun show.
The 30-year-old shook hands and signed his autograph on photos of himself posing with his dog at the New Orlando Gun Show.
Organizers of the event invited “George Z” as a featured guest, a move that sparked outrage among area residents.
“We all know that our decision to support Mr. Zimmerman has generated some controversy and we expected that,” the Arms Room said Monday in a statement posted to its Facebook page.
The original venue space for the event pulled out of participating Thursday after learning about Zimmerman’s appearance, according to NBC’s Orlando affiliate WESH TV.
“They told us they canceled for community pressure,” said show organizer Mike Piwowarski. He said the venue received phone calls and backlash from residents who said they did not want Zimmerman there.
Piwowarski, who supported Zimmerman throughout his trial, told the NBC station he plans to sue the venue for an estimated $300,000 in lost gun sales because he had to use a smaller space.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in July in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. A civil rights investigation is being pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Meanwhile Zimmerman has been keeping busy trying to sell own paintings. He was also scheduled to appear in a “celebrity” boxing match for charity, but the event was cancelled over Zimmerman’s controversial participation.