Trayvon Martin case gaining momentum; Baltimore ties to case

Amid mounting pressure, a Florida prosecutor says a grand jury will investigate the fatal shooting last month of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain, a move that comes after the U.S. Justice Department said it was also launching an investigation. 

The case, which is sparking cries of racism, has been garnering increasing attention in recent days - here's a primer on the case from Mother Jones, as well as continuing coverage from the Orlando Sentinel. Martin, a black teenager, was unarmed; George Zimmerman had called 911 to report alleged suspicious behavior and said he fired in self-defense, a thorny legal issue in Florida.

There are two local ties to the case. Baltimore megachurch pastor Jamal Bryant, of the Empowerment Temple, was among the activists pushing the case before it was making national headlines. At an event last week, he vowed to "shut down Florida" and urged protesters to bring bags of Skittles candy, which Martin was carrying when he was gunned down by Zimmerman.

Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, now the dean of the Howard University law school, also yesterday offered legal help to Martin's family. "We simply wanted to offer our condolences, and then out offer of assistance to the lawyers," Schmoke told NBC-4 in Washington. "We could help with not only the investigation, but more importantly looking at the law."

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