Marvin Amerson’s family remains baffled as to why the 51-year-old ex-con help up a bank then killed himself in East Memphis, Tenn., last week, but according to a 911 tape of a victim’s call, Amerson himself blamed George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman’s acquittal on charges of murdering unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., has sparked widespread outrage.
In 1991, Amerson was part of a bank robbery crew that committed a series of holdups in the Memphis area. Amerson at the time earned the nickname “The Counter Squatter,” which apparently described what he did during the robberies: squatting on counters. Amerson was convicted and sent to federal prison in 1993, where he remained until March of this year.
But on July 23, Amerson was at it again. He entered a Wells Fargo bank branch carrying a gun, forced employees and customers to the floor and made off with a bag of cash. Taking no evident precautions to elude police, Amerson got into a white minivan, which he crashed into two parked SUVs, then shot himself in the head as police closed in.
A Memphis police officer speculated that despondency overhis inability to fit into society outside of prison led to Amerson’s tragic end.
“I guess through frustration with not being able to get a job or start over....you know, forget his past, that's what he gets back into doing,” said MPD Colonel Billy Garrett.
But Amerson’s family says they have no idea why he committed the crime and took his own life, using words like “dumbfounded” and “floored” to describe their reactions. They also offer no hint as to what he might have intended by mentioning Zimmerman.
Amerson’s son posted a heartbreaking message on the social media site Instagram.
"Daddy I've been without you for 21 years and when you finally get home it's only for four months. Now you are gone forever. RIP Pops."